As several of my friends and I have been discussing (read bemoaning) lately, why is it the female 14 year old morphs into a head-spinning boat load of emotions the DAY she turns 14? Yes, I know the child development theories. Yes, I know the brain theory and chemistry. Yes, I have read and studied it all… but none of that prepares you – and I might say all of that prepares you LESS – for that day when your curly-headed, pink sequins with tulle-wearing, love bug comes to the table and begins to cry over the dryness of her gluten free bread.
As a mother without a mother to run to for my life-long favorite brownies (read the jealousy there) or a stiff gin and tonic, I start calling and Facebooking friends. “Help! LB has left the building and Medusa is here!” I write down all of the ideas tossed at me: 1. Call your mother. Umm… 2. Ask the Blessed Mother to guide your words and actions. 3. Pray a novena to the Blessed Mother. 4. Read her the next chapter of “Mother’s Little Helper.”
Now, I will admit that I panic when I can’t find my one (read ten) copies of this book for parenting issues involving developing Catholic girls. I love this book. This book has saved me when prayer alone was not enough. I needed to move beyond that to someone with sage, level-headed words to guide my eldest. Panicking when you can’t find a book is normal, right? Y’all do that, too right? Cold sweat? Shakes?
I pull out the book. I explain the next chapter. Hormones. We all have had the same cross. Every saint has had to deal with the same cross. Kiss your cross, because God loves you enough to give you one. Humility. Yet I wonder as I stare into those green eyes, is that enough?
And when I have almost had enough, the Lord leads me to “Enough!” (with a shout out to Jolanthe at Homeschool Creations)
Kate Cross’ book about the ten things every girl should hear everyday. Now I’m 44. I get that I will never say all of these things everyday. I am okay with my own brokenness. I own my own immense sin, but the fact that Kate reminds me to say these things added a bit of secular to my temporal strategies. Now, Kate is a exceedingly faith-filled woman… she’s battling screaming toddlers… done that, but she seems to move to her frontal lobe to find a logical response to a highly emotional and charged situation — toddler or teen. You can’t scare me with all of that emotion. I love you now. I will love you when your head stops spinning. You are perfect. You are enough. God loves you and so do I. NO MATTER WHAT!
SO! I have decided that no matter how many days I lapse in saying the ten things, I can’t find the darn 12 talks book, I say something I can’t even write out of anxiety and rage, or I just stop and don’t know what to say… I am doing fine. She is grounded in her Faith. She is surrounded by her Faith. She is loved and knows it. She is accepted and knows it. She understands that she is developing and boys are looking, and that means that she must be more careful and modest. And at the end of the day… this, like education, is a journey for us all.
My grandmother always said, “When your 20 you think you know it all. When your thirty and forty you learn that you know nothing. When your 50 you figure it out piece by piece.” Still in the 40’s part, but I see the sun coming up over the hill… and I know that Our Lord gives me just the right tools to handle – although I struggle to know how to use the tools he graces me with – every cross and situation he places in my path.
So, I have a copy of both of these (read ten copies) on their way from Amazon. If we eat dog food and help our kids and parent better… I’m good with that…. and a stiff gin and tonic ;).
PS. And sometimes don’t we ALL feel like letting our head spin or scream in a tantrum or cry?