At the time I am writing this, you are a still a teen yourself. When you finally read it, you may be a mother with a teen of your own. It will be like a picture from your past that will bring perspective for that time.
Have you felt the joy and the fear of nurturing a new life? Your new life awed me. Still, your innocence scared me; I was afraid I would mess you up.
Despite my fears, you learned to stand, supported by my nurturing. Eventually you began to walk, and so did I. We both grew confident—me in teaching, you in learning. I feared again when you started to run, until I saw that you were following my lead. Each new experience has taught us together in this way.
Now, you are a teen. Everyone says it will all be different. It is, and it should be, but not in a negative way, as they imply.
The difference I sensed is that you’re in the midst of growing up to be responsible. It is just a short time—probably before you or I are even ready—until you leave our home. When Dad and I talked to you about this, I hoped it sounded like we were expressing our trust in you.
I was really relinquishing my control.
You see, handing you responsibility was the stressor point that caused me to falter as a mother. When it didn’t feel like you had received the assignment or knowledge that I was giving, I would become frustrated, anxious, and impatient. I may have been delegating responsibility to you, but I was not trusting that you had received it. Many times I would ask myself, “Have I fully communicated so that she will succeed in this task?”
Then I finally understood that the vital communication tool I use myself is one that I have also taught you to use. If God can communicate your needs to me, can He not communicate them to you?
After that conversation together, it was time to rearrange the spaces in our home, literally and figuratively. My desk has always been at the center of wherever you and your siblings spent the most time. At first that was your playroom. Then it became your learning center with projects and stories. It moved on to be your homework zone. Now, my desk is in a separate room. You will still need me close, but further away so you may practice on your own without my constant supervision.
Remember when I taught you to make pancakes? We did it together a few times. Then I left the kitchen so you could work without my little corrections. You still came to me when you had questions about how hot to heat the griddle or how much batter to use. Being a teenager will be like that. As you use your own initiative to grow, I know you will still come to me, and we will connect through conversation.
I love how you have rearranged, cleaned and organized your room, too. You made it your own because the desire to do so was yours. You also shared your feelings that you have found a way to be more aware of God’s help and encouragement. You seem enlivened by the endeavor to create your present and your future on what you are learning in your heart. I know you are feeling your own sense of responsibility, and you are listening. The conversion of your room is only the symbolic evidence of a greater change in you.
Recognizing this in you brings a greater change in me. Now, I am learning to trust God, that He will guide you, too, as He has guided me to see what changes were necessary. Thank you for being patient with me while I learned the trust part of parenting.
Teresa Hirst lives in Minnesota with her husband and three children. In addition to loving her family with good food and conversation, she likes reading, writing, and Finding What Inspires at http://www.tjhirst.com, where you can connect with her.