I just had the fight of my life. It knocked me down, bruised me, and left me breathless. I was scraped and I scraped in return. It was exhausting. And not a finger was lifted.
I was in an argument with my daughter. My 11-year-old daughter.
I remember in vivid detail how she felt and smelled and sounded as I brought her home from the hospital, just 2 days after she was born. I remember when she smiled for the first time. I remember her walking, and riding a bike and …. you get the picture. I DO NOT REMEMBER THE FIRST TIME SHE SNEERED AT ME.
It has come on so gradual. What the heck? Most times she is loving and caring. She comes home from school bubbly and warm, barely containing the good news that comes with … whatever school has to bring her that day. It is just those few times that I feel I have been through the wringer with her.
This time, I woke her up too soon to go to church. Granted, it was at 9:00 A.M., and that was even early for me. But nevertheless, it was time
to go, and I started waking her up gently. “Hi hon. It’s time to get up for church. Can you get up for me? Should I start the shower for you? (usually this gets a good response. no such luck this time.)”
What I heard in return was a groan, a comment that she was sick, and a grunt as she pulled the covers over her head. From there, it got a bit ugly. Not all at once, you see. It just gradually turned into a battle of wills. She pushed my buttons, and in turn, I pushed hers. I didn’t even know I was acting like her! Like a child. Like a tween. And, I lost the battle.
It ended with a slap.
It ended with crying, and stony silence. It ended up in catastrophe.. Needless to say, church was a mess. Nothing was taken in, and nothing spiritual was to be let in our hard hearts. Even prayer was fruitless. What did work was saying I Am Sorry.
Yes, it was me that uttered the apology. Yes, it was me that was supposed to. Yes, I had no idea whether she would accept it or not.
She broke down crying, and so did I. Right there in the chapel. People thought we were caught up in the spirit of the Lord. 🙂 We weren’t. But we were caught up in the spirit of loving each other. Our bonds of love overcame the battle of wills, and I was so thankful. Sniffling, with tears running down my face, and my nose and eyes red, I came to know that my sweet girl was being just fine. She was doing exactly what she was supposed to do. She was being 11.
So now here I am, listening to her laugh as she runs up the stairs, the morning forgotten, and I wonder at the sweet child she is, and at the hormones that run through her body. I wait for the next trigger and realize that it is me that needs to grow up. It is me that needs to have patience with her. It is me that needs more tenderness.
The battle that we had, was such a good lesson for me because I will remember the slap. I will remember the harsh words, and I will remember that she is my daughter. She is my labor of love. She is worth it.