In two brief months, she’ll turn 16. Wasn’t it just yesterday my eldest daughter was 18 months old, daydreaming out Oma’s window, singing all the time? A joy then, and now!
Sometimes, when we’re struggling to connect, or understand each other, or an emotional fatigue persists, I think about this time in life and I recall all she needed from me. I try to remember those early years and her sweet arms reaching up for me to comfort her. It’s the same now, just different.
As a toddler, she wanted to know she was deeply loved, and trusted I would always be there for her.
She didn’t know what sacrifices I made as a mother, or of my constant prayers for her; she only knew love, commitment, and strength.
In looking at this photo from long ago, I also realize we have two years left of lessons and character building until she flies the nest into adventures of her own. Many challenges are ahead, and ever present, and navigating them is not always easy.
I see her struggling and all I can do at times is keep my mouth closed and pray. It’s a lesson in finding peace in teenaged chaos.
Even while I was writing this post, she asked for my help for a moment (which turned into more than a moment), and then wanted my advice about a friendship, and then my opinion on a school project.
And after I kissed her goodnight, I thought about how fun it is to spend time with her and how our relationship is changing, and how communication and patience and trust all make such a difference.
It’s beyond what I ever dreamed motherhood could be (as a romantic idealist I envisioned picnics and strawberries and siblings who never argue, and speaking 3 languages by age 5, traveling the world all the time, etc.).
This reality of delight and love and promise from her is always surprising and so full of grace. She understands I’m human, forgives my mistakes in raising her (as the gracious eldest daughter she is!), and continues to captivate me with her ideas for the future.
I think I say this with every age: This season of motherhood is far more fulfilling than I ever imagined. It’s humbling, lovely and even on emotionally turbulent days I know the beautiful gift it is to raise this dear girl.