My Best Friend

I really should have written this post a month ago when we were in the thick of it, and all I wanted to say was fresh on my mind. But, as life would have it we were busy and I didn’t sit down to write, and now I’ve forgotten half of what I wanted to say. Today, however, I need some writing therapy, so I’m forcing myself to sit with my thoughts and type away.

I’ve always had a couple solid mottos when it comes to raising my children: 1)Teaching them to love Jesus and follow Him as their Lord and savior is my primary role as a parent (check, check) 2)I am raising adults, not grown children (Jury is still out. I think I’ve got a solid chance with one, one is probably going to live in my basement forever.) 3)I am not your friend, I am your mother, and I’m worried about love and respect not whether or not you like me. While I’ve eaten many a “I will never” words over the last 12.75 years of parenting, my ideals generally haven’t changed so much. Until, I had a middle school daughter. And, at this point I am fairly certain I’ve totally fallen off the parenting wagon, I have no goals other than to ensure we are both still alive in 5 years.

We’ve had many tear filled nights. We’ve had many deep conversations. We’ve asked 17 thousand million questions I cannot answer. We’ve prayed, we’ve pleaded, we’ve yelled at God, we’ve yelled at each other. It hasn’t been our most glorious times. But, one night in the midst of working through girl/friend drama my heart really began to change on one of my mottos. Lexi Kate was struggling with wanting a “best friend”. She has several friends, and has actually done a fairly decent job of building a tribe at her new school. But, there is always a little drama here and there, and someone doesn’t like me today. Someone was mean today, someone hurt my feelings today….. Through the sobs, she just pleaded with God to please send her a best friend. Someone that would be there through thick and thin, someone who would tell her she was being “too extra” instead of judging her for it, someone to give life lifting advice instead of tearing her down. This is something I’ve prayed over her for years. And, it hit me. I’ve made a hard stance on not being my kids’ friend. But, what my daughter needs more than anything right now is a true friend. She needs someone to model what friendship in hard and awkward times looks like. She needs someone to be goofy with and talk about embarrassing things with and decide whether a boy is cute, or if an outfit is flattering….. All of those things are especially hard for LK because she is mentally a 30 year old trapped in a 12 year old’s life. She’s just more emotionally mature and thoughtful than most of the girls her age and she struggles to connect because they don’t get her.

And, you know who does get it. You know who had those exact same struggles in the 5-8th grades. Yep, Me. So, that night as we laid in the bathroom floor crying, I decided my daughter needed a best friend more than she needed a mom. I know all you momma’s are about to judge me and get up in my grill about what a terrible choice I’m making. Trust me, I would have judged me too, six months ago. But, maybe God is answering my prayers for a best friend for my daughter in me. Thankfully, I’ve parented pretty hard and steady over the last few years. She knows how to make a budget, she knows how to cook dinner, wash clothes, and make babies. She also knows that practicing making babies is a really bad plan anytime in the forseeable future. She’s got a solid Biblical foundation, she has boundaries in pretty much every area of her life, it’s been well established that we are the strictest parents on planet earth. So, I’m going to hedge my bets on the parenting we’ve done thus far. And, I’m taking a mom break. I’m going to be my daughter’s best friend.

I truly pray I get replaced sooner than later. I pray we can go back into a role of me being her mom and mentor and not her friend. But, until then, I’m going to be what she needs me to be most, a friend that truly gets her. Middle school is weird, we all do real weird things. I’m just going to roll with it. It’s just a phase, don’t miss it…..

Deep Connection

This morning Jeff and I were sitting on the back porch drinking our coffee. It was a particularly slow morning as our power went out multiple times last night, and each time it came back on, our alarm system would go off. I did not get my needed beauty sleep. As I was sitting, sipping, and staring into the woods a sudden sense of anxiety and sadness came over me. I looked at my phone to see what time it was, and I noticed the date was 5/9 and it was 6:05 am. It had been 2 years ago at that moment that GranGran left this earth. I was immediately amazed at the deep physical connection our body has with grief and stress. That even 2 years later, I was connected to that moment.

To this day, I say 2014 and 2017 were the very worst 2 years of my life. In 2014, I lost my mom, both of our sisters were going through divorces, our marriage struggled, my baby started kindergarten and I was pretty much a red hot mess. I grieved losing my mom in ways I never expected to experience. I’ve always been a pretty emotionally level person, and not one to be victim to my circumstances, but I caved. All the moments of stress and hard situations I had internalized came rushing out as I grieved my mom. I just didn’t have the emotional energy to compensate for anything.

January through May 2017 was a train wreck. I had 3 surgeries between January 25 and April 10. The following week Lexi Kate broke her leg. 3 days after that, Gran started hemorrhaging in the middle of my kitchen floor. That led to a week in the hospital, and our eventual decision to move her to hospice care. After 21 days without any food or water, Gran finally passed away peacefully. As grateful as I was that she was no longer held hostage by dementia, as relieved I was of the burden of caring for a dementia and heart failure patient, I was extremely grieved. She was essentially my last connection to my mom. I felt like having Gran with me was having mom with me. Taking care of her was my one last opportunity to serve my mom, to make my mom proud. I’d always dreamed of taking care of my mom, and I never got that chance.

The remainder of 2017 played out with an epic battle with a crazy neighbor. And, ended with us deciding the best thing for our family to do was leave the neighborhood we dearly loved. Those were our people, they were literally our circle. And, we left. Our whole family spent several months grieving home.

Two years later, here we are. Looking back on the deep connections we had to our family and friends, feeling sad, yet so grateful. Our grief is only possible because we loved so deeply. I wouldn’t give up the love and connection in order to avoid the grief even though it hurts down to my toes.