My little girl barged into the bathroom while I was soaking in the tub.
My head snapped up from my book.
She walked over to the edge of the tub and stuck both hands in my warm water.
And wildly splashed.
There went my relaxation. And my privacy (thanks, broken bathroom door lock). And my temper.
“Please don’t touch the water again,” I whispered through gritted teeth.
She stared at me and let her fingers hover over the water, so close to touching, but not quite. So, obeying. But just barely.
This is a strong-willed battleground and I know it well.
In the last 14 years, between my two strong-willed girls, there have been meltdowns and tantrums and wild words and power struggles. There have been moments of anger and tempers and tears and regret from all of us. We have hurled angry words at each other over little things that don’t matter, the color of clothes, the length of shorts, the scary stuff under beds.
We have found our way, only to falter and find it again as we navigate this life together.
Much of parenting is two steps forward, one step back.
My daughters are loyal. They are determined leaders. They stand for justice. They work hard and are fiercely protective of those they love. They can’t be bullied or manipulated. They are rule followers, but also risk-takers. They are respected by their peers. They know what they want and nothing can deter them. They are passionate lovers and fighters. And they never stop talking.
They walk into a room and light it up.
Their iron clad wills have rocked my world. And even in the hardest moments when I fail them or they fail me, I wouldn’t change who they are for a minute.
Because their fierceness will change the world.
And so I pray this over them, under them, before them and after them:
You gave me strong girls. They are a gift. You and I both know, this is a hard calling.
Please help me not to crush their determined spirits with all my rules and regulations.
You created them to color outside the lines, give me the courage to let them.
Channel their determination into purpose. Turn their stubbornness into pliable willingness to say yes to you. Teach them to yield their steadfast spirit and help me to let go of what doesn’t matter.
I need help mothering: Show me how to look past the attitude and see a pure heart. Lead me to look for the good and appreciate the crazy. Instead of controlling them, teach me to empower them. And instead of drawing a line in the sand and demanding my way, remind me that these girls are a whole lot like me.
Oh, and see what you did there.
Most of all, teach all of us how to follow you.