I Got to Choose (but it Sure Wasn’t Easy!)

I chose to be a parent while our kids were little so that I could be a friend when they grew up.

I choose to be a parent while our kids were little so that I could be a friend when they grew up.

I had to choose. If I choose the right thing to say and do, one day she’ll be my friend. I repeated my mantra as my eldest daughter stood in the living room, with pudgy hands on tiny hips and lisped, “Nice mommies don’t make their little girls take naps!” I stifled a laugh and replied, “I’m not worried about being a nice mommy. It’s quiet time. Please go back to your bedroom.”

If I do this right, one day she’ll be my friend. I agonized as I called her school friend and apologized that Laura wouldn’t make it to the birthday party and she’d bring a gift to school tomorrow. Laura glared at me with hate in her eyes and screamed, “I can’t believe you did that! Just because I didn’t clean my room!” I found that the hardest part of parenting is being consistent and not threatening and repeating and giving in. I quietly closed the door and went to my own room for a time out and a good sniffle. I don’t like choices like this.

If I do this right, one day she’ll be my friend. I stifled my urge to scream at my daughter as she sobbed quietly in the seat beside me. “We shoplifted and Jessica got arrested.” Seriously? Three teenage girls with money in their wallets felt the need to shoplift? How could our daughter act so stupidly? I beat back my desire to cover up and hover and help. Laura needed to live with the consequences of her actions: work extra to pay the fine to the store; a one-week suspension from school; getting kicked off the volleyball team (that one seemed particularly harsh).

If I do this right, one day she’ll be my friend. I gulped and took a deep breath. Laura shoved the book I’d purchased on cutting (I knew some of my students struggled with the problem) into my hands and said, “You need to read this chapter really well. That’s why I cut.” My eyes skittered to the deep cut on her leg, the one she’d gotten from the barbed-wire fence (that’s what she said, anyway). I schooled my face to neutral and said, “I’ll do that.” And thus began a journey of recovery.

Laura got married last July, and we spent a wonderful summer planning, sewing and preparing for her big day. In June, she graduates from college. I’m one lucky woman, because I’ve realized that while I’ll always be her mommy, our relationship has evolved into something more:  Laura is one of my best friends. I made the right choice.

If you’d like to join the fun, follow the links to the link up! Five Minute Friday

Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a ‘recovering cancer caregiver’ who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

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  • So very glad I linked up after you tonight! I needed this word of encouragement from a mom who’s “been there” and lived to tell the tale! Thank you for the reminder to be consistent, even when they “hate” us for it. Blessings…
    Charlie recently posted…FMF: ChooseMy Profile

    • Oh, I’m glad I could offer some encouragement, Charlie! Parenting is the hardest work I’ve ever done. Period. It’s a good thing we have a heavenly father to help us and model good parenting, isn’t it?

  • This is beautiful. It’s a love story of a worried and faithful mamma. Those times are so hard, and it would be so easy to give in. Nice job, lady. You’ve raised a girl to be proud of and a woman to share your stories with. Thanks for sharing your heart and your history.
    Marcy Hanson recently posted…Five Minute Friday: ChooseMy Profile

    • Thank you for your kind words, Marcy. I love my babies-who-are-now-my-friends :).And you’re right–leaning on our heavenly Father is the key.

  • Mel

    This is so beautiful…I’ve got a sweet, three year old daughter, and I pray that God will give me the strength and wisdom to be the best mommy I can be so one day we’ll be best friends, too. Thank you for this…it was encouragement that this mama’s heart needed tonight. 🙂

    • Oh, three is such a fun age! We always thought each new epoch was the most fun (well, maybe not the early teenage years so much 😉 ). I’m glad we don’t have to parent alone in a vacuum and have godly wisdom to depend upon and each other to look to for encouragement!

  • Oh I love this… this is where I am too! I am transitioning into it and I love that by the Grace of God we have raised a human that we actually like and want to hang out with! (and bonus – she likes to hang out with us too!)
    ~Karrilee~ recently posted…The Power to Choose – Five Minute FridayMy Profile

    • It’s so exciting, isn’t it? I love my babies and am constantly amazed at the talents God has given them and how they are learning to use those talents in His service. Of course, the down-side of this is having an empty nest…but that just means I have time to develop other ways of serving God.

  • My oldest daughter (now 22 and married) and I were not close as she was growing up. I made some hard decisions as a parent. But today, I am thankful we are closer and great friends. You’ve done a good job! Blessings!
    Barbie recently posted…Five Minute Friday: ChooseMy Profile

    • I’m so glad that you are closer now, Barbie! I almost lost my opportunity back when I was struggling with depression after my husband’s miraculous recovery form cancer. I hope you and your oldest continue to grow closer and enjoy each other’s company friendship.

  • This is so beautiful Anita! Thank you for sharing the depth of this journey. I am so honoured and blessed to see how my mom did much the same as you did over the years, and now I can truly call her a friend!
    Lauren recently posted…Five Minute Friday: ChooseMy Profile

    • Thank you, Lauren. I’m great friends with my mommy, too :). May God continue to bless your relationships!

  • I read this and I am so thankful that I clicked on your link. I have been choosing to repeat and give in more than I intended with my toddler and I know by reading this post that keeping my word with love and grace is key.

    Thank you for sharing your story. I look forward to being friends with my children in their adulthood too.

    Blessings on you.

    • I’m glad you dropped by, Kesha, and that my words were able to encourage you :). I spent a lot of time reading books on parenting, and trying to put the good advice (not every book was filled with good advice, but all of them had at least SOME good advice 😉 ) into practice. One our favorite authors is Dr. Kevin Lehman–I especially like “Have a New Kid by Friday”. Courage to you on your parenting journey–all the hard word WILL pay off!

  • Thanks for the encouragement…I’m three girls deep into motherhood .. little oldest being 6…i enjoyed reading this testimony…my girl pulled the “Mommy you make the day go away ” line on me with nap time…and i made naps go away…haha..hopefully i’ll hold onto bigger battle grounds
    Somer recently posted…Five Minute Fridays # ChooseMy Profile

    • Thanks for stopping by, Somer! When the girls didn’t really need naps any more, we moved to “quiet time on the bed with quiet toys.” I needed the quiet time more than they did ;).

  • I am so glad that you are best friends. My mom is one of mine too.

    • 🙂 And parents make the ultimate best friends, don’t they? They’ve seen us, known us and loved us at our worst.

  • This is beautiful. I am a (step)Mom to a beautiful 29 year old woman. I came in at 19 and have often said things that were not popular, but needed to be said as a Mom. We are here right now. I often get “disconnected” for a while, but later thanked that I cared and spoke up. I’m praying this quiet time we are now in will soon pass and things will be back to normal. Until they have kids, they just don’t understand.
    Kim Adams Morgan recently posted…Hello MarchMy Profile

    • That must be so tough, Kim! It’s a delicate dance when one needs to speak the truth in love with a child that someone else raised (I’ve never been a step mom, but I’m a teacher, and I get the same attitude from students at times ;)).

  • Sarah

    This one should have come with a warning, Anita. If I weren’t sitting at my desk eating lunch, I’m positive I’d be a blubbering mess. I’m adopting your mantra, if I do this right, one day she’ll be my friend. I think about this so much. Thank you for sharing this part of your relationship with your daughter!

    • 🙂 It’s a mantra that has served me well (along with reading lots of good books on parenting 😉 and having an amazing husband who seems to naturally do everything right. Raising girls (especially if their personality is a lot like yours).

  • You are so right. As a mom of a 17 and 16 year old, all of those hard choices created the amazing your people that I get to call mine 🙂 thank you for your words.

    • Thank you for stopping by, Kimberly! It’s so hard when they’re little, but it DOES pay off. Congratulations on having two wonderful young people in your life!

  • Oh, this is beautiful and so encouraging. I remember a show-down in the hallway with my firstborn that mirrors your moment with your little girl. And now that he’s fifteen, I love the glimpses of friendship that I see every now and then. Glad I stopped by from FMF!

    • Thank you for your kind words, Alicia :). Those ‘glimpses of friendship’ will soon turn into the real thing as he approaches adulthood. Being a mommy isn’t easy, but it sure pays off!

  • How heart-wrenching, and beautiful, and sad, and wonderful. Thank you for sharing such an intimate story. A real blessing.

  • Not only are we amazing friends now–I feel like I will someday be a mother who can do the things you did with results like the ones you earned! 🙂 I love you! I always have and always will. You made the right choices. I would have grown into a less-than-fun person (ok, I’ll say it… a brat) had you and Dad not. <3
    Laura Melchor recently posted…The Guilt-Riddled ReaderMy Profile

    • :). I love you! I know you’ll be a wonderful mother one of these days–I guess I’d better start reading up on how to be a good grandma ;).

  • I can so totally relate to this as my daughter and I went through some of the same things! Now we are best friends and even better, she tells everyone that I am her best friend. Daughters are so special!! I just read parts of your post to my daughter and she thought it was so sweet and also reminded her of our relationship.

    And I saw your comment to your daughter above, and let me just say that grandchildren only make it better!! 🙂
    Holly Barrett recently posted…ChooseMy Profile

    • Hi, Holly! I have a hard time imagining grandchildren–but I’m sure they’ll be lots of fun :). Daughters are the best, aren’t they?! I love my babies…er, young ladies and I’m glad God has always been with us and helped us and will continue to help us in each new adventure.

  • Wow. These were sobering and beautiful words. I appreciate your honesty and the hope you give through your experiences. I’m raising a feisty, self-willed three year old girl and somedays I wonder. Will I really make it? Will she really turn out ok? Am I really making the right choices? And you gave me the push I need to make sure I DO make the right choices. I know what they are. But I get lazy. And tired of the crying and the fits. So I give in. I cannot give in. I want her to BE MORE one day. For herself and her family and her GOD. So I cannot give in. Thank you, Anita! Somehow I missed this post last week. I’m glad God pointed me to it on twitter just now. 😉
    Meredith Bernard recently posted…In the gap.My Profile

    • Hang in there, Meredith! You can be the parent she needs now so that you can be the friend she needs later on :). Parenting is NOT easy (well, only for those who have never been a parent 😉 ). But the long-term rewards can be amazing!