Divide and conquer was a parenting strategy Doug and I used when our kids were young. It worked well in our family of four. One parent focused on one kid, the other parent, the other kid. Individual attention maximized, and necessary compromise minimized. Since we know the clock is ticking for our kids willingness, this past week we took it up a notch. Doug and Ian took on NYC and Becca and I visited Florida. And each of us called it a win.
On day two, however, Doug texted me from Brooklyn in the pouring rain… “Can I come home now? Come all the way to NYC and do we go to Times Square or Staten Island… nope…, Ian wants to wander the streets to chat with the locals and visit goodwill.
To be fair, the priority for our trips was not for the sights.
The Short Straw
I definitely got the short straw, because Becca is a fun and easy travel companion. She pushes even my pace and I like her funky food choices. Because we share similar interests, what she picks, I will like and vice versa.
Being with my daughter on mothers day though was special. It provoked me to reflect and give thanks for both of my maternal relationships— the one with my daughter and the one with my mother. Without question… the DNA runs deep and I’m not just referring to our brown eyes or our love for peanuts.
But we Clash
23 year old Becca is funny, kind and capable. But…much to my dismay, she is strong and independent with opinions that differ from mine. (I know RIGHT, how dare she?) And even though it’s not a new discovery, when we clash, I get rattled.
My inner dialogue goes like this… God do you see this? What can I do? This must be breaking your heart and my influence isn’t helping. In fact it seems to be hurting. I did the best I could, I’m sorry. I give up. She’s yours.
No sooner had I finished my rant when the Holy Spirit convicted my heart.
And then as if He needed reinforcement, my mother chimed in. Over the phone, after a happy mothers day greeting our conversation shifted. Mother was quick to remind me of my own strong worrisome will and our heated battles. “Debbie dear, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” Ouch.
Mothers and Daughters
“By the time you realize your mother was right, you have a daughter who thinks that you’re wrong.” Unknown
Are you a mother of a daughter? Wouldn’t you agree that your relationship with your daughter is different from any other? Who else can, in one encounter, push every button and pull every heart string so effortlessly?
The way I see it, the precious bond between a mother and her daughter is durable and beautiful and maddening all wrapped up in a lovely bow. Perhaps because we see a bit of ourselves, we impose different expectations on our daughters. Perhaps because it’s easier to relate, we imagine bigger hopes and bigger dreams. Maybe our daughter becomes our secret longing for a do-over. I know I felt as if my mom was harder on me than my brothers. And my daughter would concur.
We Are the Crazy Makers
Any daughter who has winced at her mother’s advice eventually discovers that mothers continue to mother. And because of that, daughters continue to feel the pressure of mom’s approval. When does that dynamic end?…I’m still waiting. And the cycle continues. No wonder we mothers are the crazy makers.
That’s it I realized. Even though Becca has been launched and is finding her own way in the world, I still feel responsible for her decisions and her character. Even though she lives in Pittsburgh, in my mind she is still tethered.
So… with a contrite heart, Lord, she’s yours. You know her better than I do and love her more than I can.
She has Always been His
With gentleness, the Holy Spirit has reassured me that Becca has always been His. While He entrusted her to me for a season and equipped me specifically for the task, He’s got her, just as He’s got me.
When it comes to our children in my view, we mothers take too much credit, but also too much responsibility. As I’ve studied His word I have a sense of relief…
Our Children are God’s and Created for His Good Purposes
What freedom there is in this truth.
Psalm 127:3 “children are a gift from the Lord.”
God knows the path of each person before they are created in the womb (Psalm 139: 13-16).
Psalm 139:16 ..all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
Jeremiah 1:5 “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”
A Mother’s Blueprint
With a renewed sense of freedom this verse should be my blueprint, and the reflection of my mothers heart, forever and ever. Amen.
1 Corinthian 13:7,8 Love bears all things, hopes all things, believes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.
Dear Father God, I praise you for the precious gift of motherhood. I’m humbled that you chose me to be the mother of my kids. Forgive me for my failings, I did my best. Thank you for my mother and her example. She did her best too. Thank God you always fill in our gaps. Above all, I’m so grateful Becca loves you Lord. Help her to rely on you and to trust you to finish what you started in her. Even as I pray this Father, I ask you to remove the motherly urge to tighten my grip. Amen.