We are planning a two weeks trip without the kids this summer. A trekking across the Austrian alps, from hut to hut. With other adults. The girls will go to piatra with my parents, and they are mostly excited about this adventure. We are too. But the other night Jackie cried herself to sleep, that she doesn’t want to be without us. It was ivy’s turn to encourage her. Quite a role reversal.
In the morning Jackie said she feels bouts of anger. Seemingly for no reason. She is annoyed with her sister. She is annoyed with her chores.
In the evening I sat her down to talk. She loves this type of connection. I closed the door to her room and the individual attention made her even happier.
We talked about our trip this summer. I asked her what she was most worried about. It’s less and less a guarantee that she will open up, or that she can and wants to articulate what bothers her. But in the privacy of her room, she said:
“You know how I’m a little lazy. And I have less control. And I worry that while you are gone I won’t keep up with my stretches and I’ll eat too many sweets and you’ll come back to find me with crooked back and fat.”
She said this with a straight face. And I loved her even more. Her vulnerability and self awareness. It gave me hope for her and her future after all.
When she is stubborn and défient, disobedient and forgetful, I worry for her adolescence. But I push back. And set and reset boundaries. I can’t give up so early. She pushes back but in her moments of clarity she said she loves our rules. That she knows we love her.
I pray for her self motivation, clear values, determination and courage. May she grow up to be strong and purposeful and happy to know her Heavenly Father.
As parents we will carry this responsibility and worry and burden of love. Forever. May we be strong too.