It is easier to write about the baby. She is in the stage where mispronunciations of words are really very funny. (And we video record them!)
It is easier to share about the baby. She is learning to apologize for her actions when they hurt others. (And it turns out that is challenging at all ages.)
It is easier to talk about parenting the baby. She is progressing along the predictable path we’ve seen all our other kids go down. (And while she has discovered a book for the first time… I have, actually, read it 574 times already.)
But I need to write about Lorien. She is about to turn 14, and I have to have her permission to write about her now. (I do. She has read this already.)
I need to share about Lorien. She is preparing to transition into high school in the fall. (And that requires both more independent learning… and the humility to ask for help when she needs it.)
I need to talk about parenting Lorien. Because we are 47 days into quarantine, and it is her parenting that has challenged me the most.
And because parenting a teenager has made me love my mom even more.
Lorien’s desire to be independent is so strong, she sometimes doesn’t think to share what is going on under the surface. As a parent, I have to both encourage her to open up honestly and navigate who in her life it is safe to share with.
Her desire to not be a ‘mini-Kat’ influences her hair and fashion choices. As a parent, I have to choose my battles. (And telling her I did the same things at her age doesn’t actually cool off that fire!)
Her desire be a gourmet chef in the kitchen, and her maddening refusal to receive help from you, know, the gourmet chef in the house, means I sometimes just need to walk away. (Turns out, she does just find without me!)
Every day, I think of my mom.
I realize I never fully grasped how much I must have hurt her, how many times she must have thought I didn’t listen or how many times I let her down with my choices.
But when I call her, exasperated from my own hard day, she laughs. Not a cold, sneering ‘I told you so’ but a warm, wholehearted laugh, that says ‘Oh honey! You still don’t know what you don’t know.’
I certainly don’t.
But I love her even more now that I can more clearly see how the parenting shifts in these years. I may not be able to understand how she navigated parenting not one, but FIVE teenagers. I may still feel overwhelmed that I, too, will be parenting not one but FIVE as well.
But oh my. How much this season has made me need her.
This Mother’s Day, I will not call it a silly Hallmark Holiday. (And I will always maintain we should show our affection year-round!) But now that I’m parenting a teenager? I am more in awe of her than ever before.
For Mother’s Day, she is receiving her new portrait, The Last Chord. It is in the beginning stages of painting, but once complete, it will be enjoyed in our family for generations to come.
And maybe someday, Lorien will notice that the love in the portrait grows with time, just as it did with us.
What gift are you planning for the mother figures in your life this year?