When the girls were little, and doing something sweet like telling me how much they loved me or wishing we could be “beff friends” forever, I remember closing my eyes and silently moving those memories to the long term memory lockbox. Not only were they worthy in their own right, but I knew one day I would need them. I knew someday they’d roll their eyes or slam their door or scream at me to leave them alone. I expected my future to hold at least a few cold, silent stares.
Y’all, the time has come.
This morning’s drive to school:
Me: I hear you. And I understand. But just another perspective: we are only going to be two minutes later than if we left when we intended. You won’t actually be late to school.
G: Uggghh! You don’t understand!
Me: Can you help me better understand?
G: NO! You just don’t get it.
Me: So, you don’t want to talk about this anymore right now?
Cue the memory of her crawling into my lap with her triplet baby dolls. She’d snuggle her little head right into the spot under my chin, the spot that seemed to be made for kiddo snuggles. She’d whisper, “I love you, mommy.”
All better now.
Those moments of tween exasperation have been happening more frequently, with an especially noticeable jump this summer. I had been expecting it — I remember my own exasperated self at this age. But here’s the thing I didn’t expect. Those moments don’t bother me like I thought they would. I don’t shrivel or cry or really take it personally at all. Sometimes it ticks me off and their explosions cue my explosions, but most of the time I look at their frowning faces, crossed arms, rigid shoulders and feel grateful to be walking through this stage of life with them.
Whether it’s a baby screaming at 2am, a toddler tantrum on the kitchen floor, an exasperated tween, a sharp-tongued teen, a college-aged unraveling or a 40-year-old midlife awakening, it’s truly one of the greatest honors of my life to walk alongside them through all those moments. I’m not here just for the couch snuggles, although those are magical. I’m here for everything — eye rolls and all.