Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Answer

Raising teens is hard I’ve heard. I thought that was reserved for the terrible two’s. As a ‘raiser’ of teens, it’s not especially heroic what I do each day but my girls are easy. They are kind, obedient, hard-working, just; until, of course, they have something on their list they don’t want to do. But I am like that. Aren’t we all?

The other day was one of those days for my youngest teen. She wanted to draw instead of studying her math. I wouldn’t have a problem with that if she hadn't been drawing for hours neglecting algebra completely. My girls can substitute one subject for another as long as everything is done in a day.

There I was, cracking the verbal whip, insisting she learn math and put drawing on hold. It did not go over well. Regardless, hormones or whatever, I don’t think I have to buy into the expert advice that teen years are difficult. I survived the two’s and three’s and so did they, we are professionals now, right?!

Well, my darling collapsed into tears and ran to the bathroom. After twenty minutes of listening to ever-increasing crashes of woe, I went to her aid, muttering “God give me strength”, or some such thing. Comical, I suppose in his greater scheme; what does he say when I collapse in the bathroom?!

As my foot hit the first step on the stair I heard in my heart, “You are the answer.” What was that? I am the answer? No, I said, snapping that fancy whip again, the answer is do the work, then play. I sensed the parent talk. Ok. I am the answer. The answer stood outside the bathroom door knocking and begging entrance with the enticement of a plan she would like without a clue yet what that would be... The door cracked an inch. Whew, I was IN! She was crumpled in the corner, red-faced, sobbing desperately and I wondered how I was going to fix this and did I want to?  Isn’t it ok to let children cry? After all, she was not doing what she was supposed to be doing and she has to learn responsibility before she goes out into the ‘real’ world in a few short years,… the stealthy lie…

I am the answer, not the schoolwork, not the drawing, not the to-do list; me. So I hugged her. Words couldn’t have broken the sound barrier at that point, communication had to be on a different level. I relied on heart; my heart to hers, parent to child, in the depths of my spirit singing her a love song of acceptance she could feel with every beat of my heart. A hormonal storm for sure but I am the answer. I held onto her through the tempest waves until the rain let up (she stopped crying) and the sun came out once again (she smiled). “Thanks, Mom,” she gushed, “I needed that!”

Math got done, drawing got overdone and there was smooth sailing in my house for the rest of the day. Yeah!

When I am in the midst of my storms, God doesn’t crack the whip and tell me to do my math; he comforts me, chills me out, heart to heart, spirit to spirit, and helps me navigate to quiet seas again. He is the answer, his heart beat, his presence, his reality. He gives me his heart time and time again, it’s the only thing on his to-do list. The real expert is all smart.

Photo credit: Erica McGrath

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