Lately Chad and I have found ourselves using the old tried and true I-can’t-believe-I’m-actually-THAT-parent line: “Life’s not fair.”
Last night Adelade once again complained about something being unfair, and I laid it on her. She sighed and said, “Can’t you say something a little less grown-uppy?” Ugh. I am such a grown up. And there, in that moment, towel drying her hair in the bathroom, I saw clearly the divide between her and me. She is the child. I am the grown up.
Sometimes that really stinks. I wish I could be her best friend. I would love to do nothing but giggle with her and not be unpleasant or make her unhappy in any way.
But, that is not my job.
Someday I hope we are great friends. But, not yet. She has school friends, church friends, long distance friends, and cousin friends. She even has a cat friend. But, she has only one mother. And my role is to love her and laugh with her and make her happy, but it is also to discipline her and teach her hard lessons and set limits. I can’t help mold her into a responsible, likeable, godly person by trying to avoid all unpleasantness between us.
In fact, this job of mothering gives her her earliest understanding of what God is like. She should feel love and forgiveness and mercy and grace and discipline and gentle prodding. Sometimes she should feel not so gentle prodding. Sometimes the process of growing and learning should sting. It should humble and change her. I’m not talking about physical pain here. I’m talking about the pain of recognizing sin and wrong attitudes and turning away from them.
She is such a good girl. Oh my goodness, this child is practically an angel. But, she is not perfect. And I would be doing her such a disservice if I pretended she is just so that she never gets mad at me. Sometimes being a strong parent is tough. Sometimes it hurts my heart. But, even she can see it: I am the grown up. And one day she will look back on her childhood and, I hope, she will appreciate that I did all I could to teach her to be right, noble, generous, kind, loving, and godly. And, if she is often mad at me for the years between now and then, that’s okay.
I really believe we can’t be friends in the future unless I make sure we aren’t friends now. And, truthfully, she doesn’t want me to be a friend. She needs so much more from me right now. Goodness, but I love that little girl. I am so looking forward to having her for a life-long friend. But, I’m in no rush. Just being her mother is pretty incredible, too.