Thursday, April 18, 2013

Giving Hope

Picture a 15-year-old daughter (mind you, this is prime time for hormones, anxiety, and emotional outbursts) telling her mother that she gives people 'hope'.  She proceeds to tell her good ol' mom that she has felt that hope when that crazy old lady reads her essays and gives her feedback.  She says, "Mom, you are also a miracle worker.  People come into your office and when they leave, they are so happy and they have that look on their face that says 'everything is going to be fine and I can DO THIS'."  Perfect scenario for a Hallmark movie after years of trials and struggles between mother and daughter?  Great story line for an ABC Afterschool Special on mother/daughter relationships, always after some turmoil or another?  Nope.  None of the above.  This is a real life, feel good moment that had nothing to do with a wayward daughter who has finally found her way.  No drama.  No pretense.  Just out-and-out honesty.  This is what my daughter said to me a couple of months ago.  And I cried.  Normally, I wouldn't mind when I'm bawling like a baby but we were in her school, waiting to meet with her Language Arts teacher for Parent-Teacher conference.  And no, she wasn't sucking up to me because she's failing.  As a matter of fact, she is a straight 'A' student who never causes any trouble, at home or school.  She was just being completely and brutally honest.

As a mother, we always want to know that we 'done good' raising our children.  There are so many feelings of instant gratification early in life when your child tells you that they love you or write you letters about how your the best mom they ever had (compared to the others they had before you???) or even just the hard squeezing hugs that make you feel like you're the most important person in their life.  As your children grow older, the hugs and kisses diminish, the outward display of love is not cool anymore, and you've come down to 'fist bumping' to show SOME sort of affection.  So to have my teenage daughter, on the brink of adulthood, tell me that I'm awesome (okay, I'm summarizing my own way), is that bright light, angels singing, ah-ha moment that says, "All is right with the world and I have succeeded in raising my children."  Oh, wait, there are three more after her.  Shucks!  Back to work...