Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Jenny From the Block, on Parenting

Here I sit having just finished a piping hot bowl of chicken flavored Top Ramen. The steam from the heat of the remaining broth is still spinning in a spirally little dance upwards. I literally burnt my tongue as I choked my noodles down today. Choking not because the noodles are difficult to eat, but choking because I have that thing in my throat that my mom, sister and I refer to as, the "lump." The one that sits there begging you to just give in and cry. 

I am torn today. Broken. Beside myself and desperate. I don't know how I got here. Sometimes life's all, BOOM, and what can a girl do? I'm just going to say it...I'm scared. My answers are running out, and my control is fleeting and I feel nervous and sort of angry. I really need Jesus to step in and do something because parenting is hard. Nothing big, or dangerous has happened, but I can feel the world creeping in to engage my girls in conversations I want so badly to protect them from. 

My third grader wants to hang out with fifth graders, (note: there is a big difference between third graders and fifth graders), and while she still makes believe and loves to play dolls I can see the transformation happening, and I don't like it. And so from that place of insecurity I sometimes parent from a place of fear. I turn into "Jenny from the block," all ghetto-like, and make fun of other kids, secretly hoping that my kids will fall in line, and also hate the behavior I'm talking trash about and rolling my eyes at. I wish 1,000 times over that I could take back words like, "Oh please, so-and-so better watch her mouth or I will call her parents to tell them what a terrible little person they are turning out, and you know what else? If I hear anymore of this you won't be allowed to talk to her. Ever. That behavior is so lame." 

So super mature. I stink at this. Sometimes. (I have to give myself some credit. I don't always mess up.)

So, today more than anything I want my girls to have an eagle's eye view into my heart where my love for them has drown most everything else out. Where they can see how deeply I love them and how I want nothing more than for them to never feel pain or hurt, or the sting of rejection, or the hate of a mean girl, or the pressure of their "friends" that comes on so strong that they are literally on the edge of giving in. Or worse yet, that they give in. And then become acquainted with regret and secrets. 

I want my girls to know that I'm sorry for being an immature, ghetto mama sometimes. That's not me. The real me wants more than anything to give love and to be available for them always. To be the mama that won't revert to pointed words and ridiculous threats when she feels threatened. Dear girls, I'm sorry. And I love you more than life, and I always, always will.

We are at that weird point in time where my girls don't know the first thing about curse words. They wouldn't know what to do with the f-word if they heard it. They'd probably just ask me, "Mama, what does *#+! mean?" And then I'd have to tell Jenny-from-the-block to back away slowly so she didn't use that very same word to articulate the anger that caused her to fall faint on the floor the very second she heard such fifth coming out of such a pretty little mouth. It hasn't happened, but the stories I hear...the stories I can't believe...those are happening and my girls are out there within earshot of the filth. 

Dear babies, don't let it in. Don't let it affect you. Stay the course. Grab a hold of Jesus and never ever look back. You can do this. You can walk through the grime and the gunk of this world and come out stronger on the other side. You can be the exception. You can be the example. And just so you know, you wouldn't bring me shame if you went a different way. There is nothing in this world that could ever separate you from me. I will love you outrageously forever (here on earth and in heaven). I'm your mama here and I'll be your mama in heaven. Nothing will ever diminish my love for you. That's a promise you can bet your life on. 

And so we are making some changes. Are we pulling them out of school? No. Not now anyway. I believe Jen Hatmaker was right when she said something like, when we keep our kids locked away and protected at home, we are keeping them from the very world they were sent to redeem. Tough words to process, but I believe she's right. Will we ever homeschool? Yes, probably. For extended periods of time? No, probably not, but then again, who knows? Is this right for everyone? No, definitely not. This is us. This is our story.

But we will shift our schedules around to allow our big girls the space and time they need to participate in kids church at a Baptist church nearby. And we will work to plant the word of God so deeply in their hearts, souls and spirits that they are better equipped to fight the battles that I cannot fight for them, which are becoming less and less -- they are growing up, and I hate it. (Oh, if I could only be there for them all!) We will continue to have dinner together as a family because this is where we do our best work. We play games, talk about the day's high and low points, and this is where we sort through the trials of the day. This is also where I vacillate from cool, calm, collected mom, to the occasional, so-help-me mom. I'm sorry for those abrupt moments. I know they're necessary sometimes, but I could stand to work on my delivery. And I will.

So, no real answers here, only thoughts, and prayers, and a reminder that Jesus knew what He was doing when He sent us 3 girls and a boy to parent. He believed in our ability to do our very best, and we are trying. 

Is this scary? Am I at a loss? Yes. Am I giving up? Not a chance. This is good news, I suppose. It quite simply means that Jesus must be at the forefront. That the days of just getting by are tired and over. That if we hope to come out stronger and healthier on the other side we will have to hand the reigns completely over to Him. Everything with prayer and supplication. So there you have it. I'm done being afraid. I'm no good when I'm afraid. I'm weak when I'm afraid. My kids need me to be brave now more than ever. Dear girls, I will be brave...so you can be brave. 

1 comment:

  1. The kids church I'm referring to is led by one of our dear friends, for one hour, on a school night. A very small group of really sweet kids, learning the Word and Bible stories.