Tuesday, July 7, 2015

I {Just} Want to be my Teens' Best Mom

A few years ago, I had a very fun and unique job; assistant to author Brenda Garrison! And, while that sounds all fancy and official, it truly came down to me getting the chance to help a very down-to-earth and sweet lady stay organized and help her with social media. We had many mutual friends and had known each other for several years--but working alongside one another allowed us to build a neat friendship. One benefit was watching her parent her girls and navigate the transition of her youngest finishing high school and entering college, her middle daughter student teaching and then landing a job, and her oldest applying to and finally choosing a graduate school.

With Brenda at the 2012 National Hearts@Home Convention

I had three kids in elementary school during that time. And while Brenda was always very honest with me in how navigating older kids isn't always the smoothest road, the time for that mattering in my life seemed very far away.

Until now. Now, when I am getting ready to send my oldest to high school. And I'm struggling a little. It's not so much that Kaitlin is getting older, but that life is no longer falling easily into "black and white". The phrase, Will this matter in five years? is great when it relates to your kid wearing stripes with plaids or having a strong desire to play in the street. Truth is, it's getting harder and harder for me to look at the various opportunities, desires, activities and friendships and decide how it will (or won't) affect Kaitlin's life in five years.

Fear is creeping into my parenting. Many people enter this phase with their newborns, or toddlers, or sending their kids to kindergarten...but not me. I took those years in stride, with a calm attitude and a peaceful heart. And this new feeling--this fear--is not a pleasant experience. The biggest thing I  realize I need to overcome is my desire for Kaitlin to get everything right the first time. The right boy. The right friends. The right classes. The right choices. It's not so easy to let go of my selfishness--my disappointment that the "right" boy liked her, she liked him, and then she changed her mind. So then I go back to the 'rule' that she's too young to like a boy anyway. This parenting gig is tricky!

I want to be the best mom for all of my kids, and am feeling the new weight of being a high schooler's mom. When I began working for Brenda, her plan was to have a quiet year; I was helping her so she could focus on her Master's Degree. But immediately after I began working for her, a BIG thing happened...publishing company Thomas Nelson picked up her book idea! It was a collaboration between Brenda and her daughter Katie, and I watched as the book developed, was poured over, into, prayed for and published. And I found it a wonderful privilege to get one of the Advance Reader's Copies. I read it, double checked the uncorrected proof, and was very excited for Brenda.

Today, I'm sitting down to read Love No Matter What in a whole new way. I'm not merely a mom of young kids thinking, "Oh, this is a nice read!", but I'm reading it with a huge desire to both guide my daughter along a godly path while realizing I have to observe as she navigates bumps along the journey. The most unique part of the book (and some painful parts that hit close to home) is the fact that Brenda's daughter Katie also shares her emotions and what she was experiencing during the difficult years--and it's the part I'm really taking to heart as I strive to validate my own daughter's personality and desires. Interviews with other young adults & their parents also give a more rounded perspective of my proper role and obligations as a mom and helps reveal Kaitlin's responsibilities and ownership of her actions as a daughter.

Love No Matter What: When Your Kids Make Decisions You Don't Agree With isn't a "fix it" book or a "how-to"manual, because that's not realistic parenting. But my biggest prayer--my biggest desire--is to step away from my fears and pour into Kaitlin in a way that allows us to have a solid relationship as she moves from high school, to college, and finally to adulthood. Through prayers, God's grace, and a book written by a friend, I am making it a daily choice to step away from fear and allow God to work in my life as I surrender my daughter to Him.
Rocky Mountain National Park July 2015 

You can find more insight and wisdom regarding all stages of parenting on Brenda's website , through her Facebook Page, & her Twitter Account. Her books, including Queen Mom, Princess Unaware, He's Not A Mind Reader and Love No Matter What: When Your Kids Make decisions You Don't Agree With are available on Amazon.

copyright 2015 LeAnne Klopfenstein

No comments:

Post a Comment