My daughter turns 20 tomorrow. It is sometimes hard to believe that I have been on this incredible roller coaster for 20 years… and longer if we count the in-utero experience (the most swollen, messy months of my life!) Like many of us, I was a parenting expert prior to giving birth… I had all of the answers, I knew exactly how to handle tantrums and owies, poor grades and sleeplessness, bullies and mean girls. Had I thought about it, I probably could have convinced myself that I knew how to handle puberty, sauciness, first jobs, boyfriends, the first car (and the accidents that followed) and friend-fallouts. I knew it all. And then in December 1995, out came this incredible little creature who launched me into Motherhood, and suddenly, in the delivery room, I realized I knew absolutely nothing. Thanks to her and her inadvertent teachings, I have come to accept that every day is a learning curve; that I have never been the Mom of a 20 year old, that being the Mom of a 19 year old was super challenging and I’m still in recovery from puberty! I still don’t know everything I’d like to know. I’m still learning.
But here is what I do know: I know that when she is sick or sad or lonely, she knows I’m right here, ready to comfort and support her. I know that when she has a success or makes a new friend, or has a new experience, I’m right here, celebrating with her, cheering her on and reminding her of her power and strength and value.
What I learned through her most recent Facebook post after a long evening of tears and teenage heartbreak, was that regardless of my sometimes lengthy lectures and misunderstandings, and in spite of my ‘say too much’ approach to parenting, she is safe with me. She knows she is loved unconditionally, that her Mom has her back, and that with me, she has a place to land and take refuge from the pains of growing up.
If your Mothers heart is heavy today, if you feel overwhelmed, frustrated, or at the end of your rope, please hear this: You are exactly what your child needs. You are enough. Keep pressing in and pressing on. You’re never going to be a parenting expert, but your love, your resilience and your courage to continue to show up, is enough.