When Jackie gets more vocal in her defiance, and we’ve had a few instances lately, especially as she is so tired of her daily scolioses stretches, I have no impulse to push back. I sit down on the floor and I make room for thoughts to settle and get clear. Last night, as Jackie was down and defeatist about life, she verbalized her doubts about her worth. She sometimes says she believes she was net meant for us. That she is not a good daughter because she screws up something every day. At first I countered her reflection and it seemed to sooth her. But the more I affirm her when she is defeatist, she tents to go there more often, to probably invite my words of affirmation. I’d prefer to speak words of truth and kindness to her out of the blue, not caused by her moments of distress. So last time I went down the rabbit hole with her, curious about her train of though. Who does she think she was meant for? Nobody, she says. The turning point was my freeing her of her imagined parental expectations. I told her I feel we were meant to be her parents. But God didn’t create her for me. I am only called to care for her during her vulnerable years, as long as she needs me. But she belongs to God, not to me. There will come a time when she will want to fly the nest, but I will always be HOME for her. Meanwhile, I give her everything I have and received as a gift myself. For her to grow up strong and brave. Letting her go, even verbally though our conversations now, is so freeing for me. God called me to be her mother. To serve well. To disciple and to love lavishly. But I myself belong to God as well. And my sacrifices are just between God and me. This week Jackie also asked me if I am happy to be a mother. Wasn’t life easier before kids? Why on Earth did we want to become parents? I told her honestly, that life was plentiful and relaxed before kids. But then, the last few years before kids, we felt so empty. We woke up with a deep desire to not live for ourselves. And it became clear to us that we wanted to become parents. Fully aware of the future challenges. I told her life with kids can be stressful and tiering, but it is also colorful and beautiful and fulfilling. I trust my honesty transpires in our conversations and Jackie can read us like an open book. But that makes our conversations the more sweet, rewarding and connecting.