As a quiet person, I had a lot of time for introspection. It really helped me keep my balance. And my teenage life was not tumultuous. I remember feeling weepy occasionally, but I had learned in my preteen season, to bring my sadness to God, and not let my tears go to waste. Every night I’d feel like crying I would cry away my sadness and in the morning I’d feel refreshed. As my emotions got leveled, I started to miss my evening of crying out to God. I felt Him so close in my loneliness.

I was a late bloomer, and that was just fine looking back. More than fine.

Having a church community, feeling safe at home, having my personal space to process, to write in my journal, to day dream, to read, to travel alone by train or by bus, gave me ample opportunity to grow at my own pace. Ah, the beauty of not being rushed, not being watched, not being judged, measured, weight, evaluated, compared.

My mom’s one and only complaint was that I never tell her anything. “When was I chatty? – nothing really changed”, I told her. I let her read my journal. I helped her be at peace with my aloofness.

The teenage season feels like a misaligned body and soul. A clumsy attempt to overlap one image to match the other. The trusted adults keeping their cool, trusting you, trusting themselves, giving you space, encouraging gently, making you feel loved, accepted, even when they can’t fully understand you.

Hormones wreak havoc. And this past year Conrad has had to rediscover a balance of testosterone after his surgery. And I had a front tow seat to his changes. This discomfort helped us have more empathy for our own daughter upcoming changes. You can not will yourself into health, or a good happy mood sometimes. You can be kind to others, you can have rules of conduit, but that doesn’t fix the issue.

As we approach the bad days with more kindness, with an extra mile of patience, with a warm smile, a hug, I see Jackie’s willingness soar, trying harder, doing her part for a better outcome of the day. I am grateful for these insights, for this preparation for more stormy days. Teenagers, when they don’t understand themselves, having adults who know them and believe and see the best in them, may give them the hand to help them get out of the hole of loneliness, hopelessness or frustration.

May God always keep my heart soft towards my daughters, to not take their moodiness personal, and to love them well, with courage and clarity. God is faithful.