Monday, August 12, 2013

Loose Connections

Last year, at this time, I was kind of waiting for my nervous breakdown to begin. Chloe was leaving for college, Lily was going to kindergarten, my mom was moving in with us, and I was turning 40.

I cried. A lot. I missed Chloe. A LOT. But life went on, as life has a way of doing, and my girls shoved off to college and kindergarten, my mom moved in, and I turned 40, but the nervous breakdown didn't come. My precious baby boy became a teenager, and the nervous breakdown threatened again, but it didn't come.

Recently, we spent a week in Florida celebrating my best friend's 40th birthday, and spending time with her, I gained some perspective on 40 and life. See, my girl is a FIRECRACKER. Once, upon thinking I might have been in danger, she pulled a big knife on an even bigger guy. We were 14, and it was a kitchen knife. But the point is: She don't play.

She is the most fun, exciting, ALIVE person I know, and if she is what 40 looks like, people will line up for that birthday. But she's different now. Our friendship is different. She's calm and confident. We don't fight with people. We don't gossip about people we don't like. In fact, we mostly like everyone. We no longer need to go out and party to have a good time. In fact, the best times I have with her are just sitting and talking.

Similarly, my relationship with Chloe has evolved. While she still needs me to mother her in some ways, in other ways, we connect as women. Last weekend for the first time, I went shopping with both my girls, we had a great time, and no one had a meltdown.

Having such big gaps between my kids has forced me to adapt and change my mothering style to meet their unique needs. It's hard to switch gears among parenting an adult, a teenager, and a kindergartner, and I have to try harder to listen, understand, and connect to each child at his and her level. The very few times I get it right are extremely gratifying.

Before I turned 40, I made a list of goals. While I've accomplished some and strive to reach more, some just don't seem so important any more. Instead, of reaching feats, I feel guided to make deeper connections. To renew connections that have been severed for one reason or another. To replace some connections and tighten a few loose ones.

Every morning, I pray that God will lead me where He wants me to be. I pray for God to guide me, but I usually have a direction in mind. He rarely leads me in that direction. And this morning I realized that wherever I am as long as I'm loving God and loving His people, I'm right where I should be.