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Me and Cauri

My daughter recently went with me to a speaking engagement where I shared the journey of my pregnancy with her (you can read about it here). It was one of the most distraught times of my life. Although Cauri had heard the story many times, she had never heard the feelings I experienced during that time. It moved her to tears to know I loved her so much.

And that broke my heart.

I realized although I sometimes share reasons for my teaching or discipline with her, many times I don’t share what I’m feeling.

So my dear, darling, challenging daughter, I want to share with you what I feel almost on a daily basis raising you.

I wake in the mornings and feel worried.

Worried that your heart will be hurt by unkind peers or impatient teachers.

Unfortunately, as the morning continues, I feel angry.

After fighting to get you out of bed, we argue about running late, lost homework, complaints about nothing to take for lunch, and leaving a huge mess in the kitchen for mom to clean since you “don’t have time.”

When you leave for school, I feel relieved.

Relieved we have time to get over ourselves and come back together in the evening for a fresh start.

Relief quickly turns to sadness.

Sadness that I am the one who caused you hurt before the day even had a chance to begin.

The day is then spent feeling helpless.

Helpless as I wonder about your day. How the test is going for which you spent so much time studying, if your friend is still upset with you and turning mutual friends against you, if the bully who sits behind you in two classes is calling you “stupid,” again, about your decisions and if they are wise or made out of emotion. And knowing you’re dealing with all of it away from me and beyond my help or rescue.

By the time you waltz in from school and you look content and happy, I feel reassured.

Reassured all went well during the day.

Reassurance quickly turns to feeling irritable.

Irritable from the complaints over what I’m making for supper, from all the arguing between you and your siblings, from all the things I’m trying to remember: which kids have activities, who is driving what carpool, everything on my to-do list that did not get finished earlier in the day, how much homework each of you has for the evening, calls or emails I need to return before the evening is over. I’m irritable and don’t listen well. I’m short with my words and yell.

As the evening progresses, I feel tired.

Tired from not knowing how to help with homework, from not knowing how to give you direction with your life question, from the sibling arguments, from disrespectful talk toward your dad and me, from feeling unappreciated after having worked at my job and on the house and taking care of all your needs throughout the day, tired from my brain working in overdrive, and tired from all those feelings I’ve been experiencing.

When the evening is over and we all go to bed, I feel guilt.

Guilt over not handling your questions well, not listening when you were trying to tell me something important, saying things to you I shouldn’t have, not having all the answers to your needs.

And guilt for feeling worried, angry, relieved, helpless, irritable, and tired. All of which reminds me of my shortcomings as a mom.

I leave my bed to check on you sleeping kids and I feel thankful.

Thankful God gave me such wonderful kids, thankful all of you are tucked safely in your beds in our warm house, thankful you made a decision to accept Christ’s sacrifice and are guaranteed eternal life, thankful you are mine.

I feel thankful and I kiss you on the forehead as you sleep.

And then I pray! I give all of my feelings and all those things out of my control to God.

Through it all, I feel indescribable love for you.

But know love is MORE than a feeling. While feelings change, my love for you never does! And that love, dear child, will never be compromised!

Pearl Buck quote

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© 2015 Connie Davis Johnson

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Calan and I

After coming through the gate for our local High School’s football game on a clear and cool Friday evening, people from our small town began asking my husband and me if we had seen our daughter, Calan, yet.

Being 15 years old, Calan had asked to go to a friend’s house after school.  From there, she went straight to the game.  Therefore, I had not seen her since that morning.  So the repeated question made me wonder what she had done.

As we made our way to our seats, many friends smiled and simply shook their heads.  Whatever Calan had done was obviously entertaining.  My interest and curiosity mounted.

Suddenly our attention turned toward the field as our team scored a touchdown.  The cheerleaders began to cheer loudly and the band struck up a triumphant tune.  It was then I spotted her.

Running down the sideline carrying a gigantic school flag was Calan.  Her entire face was painted red and white and she wore red pants with vertical black stripes.  I couldn’t believe my eyes.

CAlan facepaint

My kid!

MY kid?!

A face-painting, wacky-dressing, super fan?!

This was not what I expected.  I wasn’t sure how to feel.  What would her peers think?  What would my friends think?  What would the teachers and administrators think?

A friend sitting nearby read the emotions on my face and said, “She’s a great girl who is very well liked.  She hangs out with a great group of girls and she is her own person unafraid of what others think.  Other parents would love to be in your shoes.”

Wisdom just when I needed it most.

I thought of my daily prayers for her.  Each day of her life I’ve asked God to give her confidence and boldness.  I’ve prayed for her to be well liked and not to lose her self-assurance when someone dislikes her.

However, my expectations in those prayers included her standing up for her convictions when challenged, wearing modest clothes rather than racy styles, liking what she sees in the mirror, and being thankful for the person God made her to be.  Not this display of super fan craziness in front of me.

As I sat there contemplating, I realized she is confident and not only stands up for her convictions but does it respectfully.  Sweatpants and t-shirts are her preferable clothing rather than anything revealing.  She doesn’t feel the need to wear makeup to increase her likability and embraces the personality qualities God gave her.

My eyes wandered back to the girl running up and down the field looking like a lunatic.  My heart swelled with the love I felt for her.

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I couldn’t deny the fun Calan was having while being confident and bold.  Cheerleaders and football players were giving her high fives as she ran past.  Students were cheering her on as well as the parents.  Teachers and parents alike were laughing and complimenting her courage.  Everyone was having fun!

When my daughter does not live up to my expectations I have to stop and reflect.  Many times, I come to the realization it isn’t my daughter who needs to change but my own desires.

When I truly consider the person God created, Calan far exceeds any of my own expectations.

This post is part of Jill Savage’s Third Thursday Blog Hop.  To read more about today’s topic, “No More Perfect Kids,” click here

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UPDATE: This post is featured in Jill Savage’s book, No More Perfect Moms. Order your copy here

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©2013 Connie Davis Johnson