My 13 year old has a thing for shoes.
She loves funky and sleek. Modern and cool. Athletic and colorful. She got shoes in her Easter basket, under the Christmas tree, for her birthday and at the start of school. And boots during the rodeo this year. She saves her babysitting money for shoes and if you ask her what she wants or needs at any particular time, she might just say shoes.
Too bad she only has two feet. And they are still growing.
She wanted a pair of sandals for summer since she’d outgrown the last pair and so I brought home cute ones from Target. She liked them and I sighed in relief (because y’all know that’s a big point for mama).
The next week, her brother, who owns a pair of tennis shoes and a pair of cowboy boots (period), needed a new pair of shoes to replace his one battered pair. And that’s like pulling teeth, taking a nearly 11 year old boy shopping, but that’s another story.
We went tennis shoe shopping and without getting into all the details that are nobody’s beeswax, I ended up having an ugly argument with my daughter about shoes.
I huffed and puffed. She lamented and apologized. I realize it was just regular mom/daughter stuff but I felt very defeated about the whole thing that night.
A few days later, I tucked my kids into bed the night before my trip to Kenya. I didn’t cry when I covered up my 6 year old and ran my hands thru her hair. My lip didn’t quiver as I prayed with my son and answered his “what if” questions. By the time I made it to my teenager’s room, I was proud of my stiff upper lip, knowing her age would make her the easiest one to say goodbye to.
She put her book down and scooted over so I could sit on the edge of her bed. That’s when I noticed the bright orange and green posters tacked to her bulletin board. I stood up so I could get a closer look and when I read the titles “Prayer Requests” and “50 Blessings” my resolve broke.
Her lists were precious. I mean absolutely humbling and one of the most beautiful things I have ever read.
How can you not cry when your daughter puts bobby pins, sweet tea and your name on her blessings list?
But it was # 2 on her “Prayer Requests” list that made me do the ugly cry.
We are amateurs in this teen mother-daugther world, she and I. We are learning how to dance through hormonal highs and lows, clothing battles, friendship heartaches and messy rooms. It’s not easy. There have been big fights and bigger apologies. We have cried and prayed and loved each other to understanding.
We both have regrets and pledges to do better and love more.
But we are making progress in the journey and learning a lot about each other in the process. We love each other deeply and are finding new ways to let each other know every day.
When I read #2, “Help me be thankful for my sandals” I knew all the hard work and teaching and crying and praying, all the pouring into, the mistakes and challenges of motherhood were finding their mark.
We cannot give up on our kids because they don’t give up on us. No matter how hard the day or long the road, our consistent love will pay off.
I felt like I met God in my daughter’s room that day and instead of filling her up, He used her bright orange list to encourage me.
#21 on that “50 Blessings” list: sandals.
I think we have some shoe shopping to do.
Happy Mother’s Day, Moms! Don’t give up!
p.s. I always get approval from my kids when I write about them and I might have cried reading it to my daughter.