Friday, April 17, 2015

Because She's REAL

You know what? Sometimes my daughter screws up. And because she tends to lead a dramatic life, she screws up in epic proportions. But I guess I missed the memo that says all of our interpersonal interactions have to be perfect.

You're not going to get that from me, either.

Each of us only sees a fraction of what our friends and loved ones go through. Think about it. Even when you spend hours a week with someone, there are still hours and hours that you're not there, and these may be the hours that they are most themselves.

My daughter is working on her filter--that thing that tells us there are some things we can't say or do in public, or to other people. She hasn't fully developed it yet. And yes, I have wondered how she can be part loving human and part sociopath.

What I've figured out? SHE'S A TEENAGE GIRL.

I'm not blind. I know that's not the end of it. I've had more calls about this child than all of my others combined. I know she's got issues. And you know what? She knows it too. SHE STRUGGLES. EVERY DAY. And we do, too. Constantly being there for her is exhausting. But I'm not going to quit because it's hard. She's my daughter. I don't get to quit. I don't even want to. No matter what, I'm going to have her back.

Fitting in is hard for her. She longs for acceptance and adoration, she longs to shine. But other people are better at shining than she is, so she gets hurt. And then she messes up--by lashing out, by being cruel, by doing all those things she should have learned by now NOT TO DO. And yes, I wonder how I can have 4 incredibly impressive, well behaved kids and then this one that struggles with maintaining friendships, getting along in school, church, and elsewhere, and constantly says and does the wrong thing.

Her mistakes don't make her less than. And yes, she's very tender and gets hurt easily. I'm sorry that it's inconvenient for you. I'm sorry that her mistakes interrupt your plans, your schedule, or make more work for you. I truly am. I don't want my child to make things harder for others.

It's not like we don't talk to her. Heavens, we have heart to hearts with her more than any of our other kids. We pray over her. She gets blessings. We work with her, actively, ALL THE TIME. And when she falls short we feel it. Deeply. Keenly. Because it feels like we're failing at teaching her what she needs to know.

I've considered the equivalent of shutting her up in the tower until she's mature enough to handle life, but guess what? That's not going to teach her anything. Experience has taught that we learn more from our mistakes than from our successes. So think of it this way: she's REALLY learning a lot.

But here's where I'm going to stick up for her, because when she looks me in the eyes and promises me that she never said that thing others are saying she said, I HAVE to believe her. It's my job. My child is being open and direct with me. I have to believe that she's telling me the truth. 

So while she screwed up, and I'm not going to deny that she did, she's not the only one blowing things out of proportion. Please cut her some slack. I have to believe that someday she's going to figure all of this out. None of us are perfect. Please don't penalize her because her mistakes are more public than yours.