“I said, lights out!”
I could feel my stress level rising as I see the bathroom light flip on again for the tenth time this evening. I had already put three children in out of bed to many times to count.
As I begin to walk down stairs to my bed, which is practically screaming my name, I hear the sound of tears coming from upstairs.
I drag my tired body back up the stairs and make my way closer to the bathroom. I swing the door open and my mouth spills with words I wish I could take back, “Why are you sitting here crying? It is way too late and I said to go to bed.” My eleven year old daughter and I had already gotten into a disagreement only moments before, and I was quick to assume the tears were a reflection of her anger towards me.
My heart sunk as her swollen little face looked up at me with a fear I had never seen in her. “I don’t want to go back to school, please don’t make me. I have no friends and the kids will make fun of me. I’m scared mom.”
Here sat a little girl who for months was growing up faster than I could blink. She is getting taller by the day and longing for independence. She has a style and personality that beacons others to love her, and yet the cruelty of others has given her an insecurity my heart can’t take.
She loves to be loved, and wants the world to like her.
“Mom, you don’t understand, you have never felt like this.” Oh how these words crippled my heart. I longed to make her see that I did understand and I had been in her shoes way too many times.
I too wanted to be liked and loved, but never quite felt like I fit in. I was quickly plagued as the church girl throughout so much of school. I dressed the part and tried to act cool, while my insides were screaming to follow Christ. I walked the daily battle of fitting in or standing out. I wanted to stand out that Christ was Lord of my life, and yet my immaturity often blinded my vision.
Why is growing up so hard?
Why is my innocent and sweet little girl rapidly turning into a young lady with the same insecurities that once crippled me?
For weeks, I have selfishly been dreading the fact that my first born is about to start middle school. I want to go back in time when she was little and had no fears….I never once stopped to remember how scary this transition really was and is. I remember feeling lost and alone, and wondered if I would see anyone I knew on the first day of school.
Elementary school seems so easy and predictable to her….Middle school is a whole new world. A world she is terrified to enter. A world where she may or may not have friends. A world where I can no longer hold her hand, and make it all better.
I long for my sweet little girl….I long to take away her pain. I want to protect her, and yet I am a bystander, waiting, watching, and praying…
I tuck her back into bed as I walk downstairs. I no longer feel a need to sleep, as my heart feels empty and lost. I felt as though I had no words of comfort for her. My eyes begin to feel with tears as I try and process feeling like a helpless mother. Just as I felt like she was a thousand miles away, I see my door crack open. She throws her arms around me and says, “I love you mom.” I hug her tightly and pray for God to give me the strength to guide her through this new journey.
I feel so inadequate to be the mother she needs. She is searching for answers, and I have none to give.
I am reminded that through my weakness, Christ is manifested. I have no clue how to be the mother she wants or needs throughout these undoubtedly trying pre-teen years, but I do know that Christ is my guide.
(UPDATE: I wrote this a few weeks ago….as each day school gets closer to starting, she seems to be doing better. We are starting to get her a few things for the new year and I think she is starting to get ready for this new transition. Please keep her and me in your prayers as we start this new journey!)