Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Mom, You just don't get it

We are sitting at the kitchen table going over the same conversation it seems that we have every day now. Olivia's attitude. She is glaring those big brown eyes at me as I am giving her the new lecture that I think might work. She is sitting down on the outside but I know my girl and she is definitely and defiantly standing up on the inside. With every look, every emotion I see across her face, I am just getting madder. I am trying to stay calm on the outside but inside I am a boiling mess. I have so many questions rolling through my head. Why is this so hard? What does she not understand? Why does she think I have no idea? And most of all, is there any possibility that reason will take over her brain instead of emotion.

I know that every parent of a teenager goes through this but I was secretly hoping I would miss it. It has been Olivia and I against the world, so to speak, for the last ten years. We cry together, we laugh together, we are close confidants and really best friends. Yes, I do draw the Mommy line but we are still very close. Of course necessity has created some of that for us. The hospital stays, the health issues, have not allowed Olivia much time with her peers and the "real" world. She walks through so much of her life afraid she does not fit in because she is always starting over with friends. A month seeing a friend at her age may as well be a year. So venting to a friend tends to be out when your friend is the Mom lecturing you.

Coming back to today a realization has fallen on me. Olivia is getting sicker. I had missed it. Not because she is in bed, not because she tells me, but because while I am giving her this lecture I get a deep look into her eyes. She is using every bit of energy she has to participate in life. While she is participating though, she has nothing left to give. I had missed it. She has been less than pleasant lately. Hard to understand her emotions and deal with her. But those things had been everyday life things so it didn't occur to me that life was leaving her eyes. They say that eyes are the window to your soul and I can see why. They say so much without saying a word. At this moment, sitting at the table, finally listening to my daughter. Not in what she is saying but hearing her eyes talk I see for the first time. In that moment I catch Olivia off guard. I say to her "You are thinking that "Mom, it is taking all I have to even sit in here and listen to you. That I am doing the best I can and doing it all for you. I don't want to be in trouble but I have nothing left to give and you are just not getting it!"…" She looks at me with those big brown eyes, stops for a minute as the realization that I had heard her settles in and tears start welling up in her eyes. As I hold, we cry together, we have an understanding that does not need words. That just for a moment the world stops for a minute so we can get off this carousel of life and just hurt together.

Has it fixed everything. No. But, even yesterday when we had a friend over and Olivia was being so edgy and so unlike herself I was able to stop and listen. As a Mom I still have to correct her behavior but I think I can do it more gently. I realize this is not Olivia, this is not being a teenager (yes I know some of it is and I like my denial at times), this is what real pain….real sickness looks like…and what a young girl with a lot of attitude , a lot of fight, and a lot of personality has to go through to make it through this one day. And that day, that realization makes me cry, hurt, scream, beg and ask God to let me have it and not her. I would give anything to take it away from her. But this is her walk. This is her struggle. This is the place that only she and God can go. There are three people walking through this, well four if you count our new family member Miranda, but we all have different walks. We all have different views and perspectives and it takes a mighty God to help us grow together through this.

Thank you for listening...today just seemed like this is what the Lord wanted me to talk about.

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