I would like to think that I know something about girls. And I would like to think that I know a thing or two about parenting them. But I tell you what, it is one curveball after another, especially with Audrey, who turns 14 next month. Just when I feel like I can call the next pitch, something comes across the plate that I can't even begin to understand. Like how I stayed consistent with the baseball analogy? And I can't stand baseball! So let's talk about Audrey first.
Audrey is energetic, creative, outspoken, opinionated, fun, intense...I could go on and on. She is amazing to me! And she reminds me a lot of what I was like as a kid. She has a mohawk (with pink highlights), dresses crazy, has a few piercings, rides a skateboard, and likes all kinds of crazy music. That would have been a description of me at that age (minus the pink highlights). One of the main differences between us is that I don't think I was hit as hard by the hormones and I don't think I was aware/involved in much drama. Audrey is deep into both.
I think I mentioned this in another post, but last year I was really feeling a word from God to create safety for Audrey. With all that has happened with Joanne's stroke, it would be very easy for Audrey to feel un-safe. In fact I know that she has battled this--this feeling of un-safety. So I work incredibly hard to be safe for her. Maybe that makes me look like a less-than-strict parent, but I could care less about that. Safety first! Everything else that comes out of our relationships stems from that. I think Maslow would back me up on that one--safety is next on the list after physiological needs.
In taking that posture, I try to help her to rebel in safe ways. Yes, I could take exception to the pink mohawk instead of taking her to Toni&Guy to get it done right. I could have said no to the last piercing instead of taking her to our piercing guy Brian to get it done right--yes, we have a piercing guy. Joanne has had to have her nose redone three times becasue the ring has to come out for every MRI and surgery. I could tell Audrey that she looks weird when she thinks she is at the height of self-expressive fashion, but I hold my tongue.
And you know what? Audrey loves me and listens to me and she knows that beyond a shadow of a doubt that I love her and would lay down my very life for her. We go for rides together, just to run errands or something and we listen to music and talk...actually she mostly talks and I mostly listen, but I am always blessed by her talking to me at a mile-a-minute. Because at least she's talking! As long as I can keep her talking, I'm good. If she goes silent on me, I will worry.
One example: I have told Audrey that wherever she is, if she ever needs me to come get her, I would drop what I am doing and come running. If she was at my mom and dad's house and called to say she needs to come home, I drive down and get her. If she is in Winter Park with her Aunt and Uncle and needs me, I would gladly drive the hour and a half and go get her. If she was sleeping over with a friend and at midnight decided that she needs to come home, I'm all over that.
And the reason is simple: someday she is going to be in some situation where her very safety is at risk and I want her first and only thought to be CALL DAD! I will move Heaven and Earth to get to where she is as fast as I can possibly get there. But I have to let her know that's how I roll before that situation arises. If I blow her off and then expect that someday when she really is in trouble that she will call me, I am fooling myself. I want her to think first and foremost that I will be her safety.
Next post we'll talk about Emma!
Please pray that Audrey would feel safe. And that beyond what we are able to offer her in this physical sphere, that she would derive a sense of safety from her heavenly father as well.