Last night my youngest daughter came home from a night with friends, and immediately went up to her room and closed her door. I thought this was unusual, she usually comes into the house singing and demanding attention. My husband alerted me by sending me a text: “She is having some boy drama”. (By the way, as I write this I realize this is not a great example of extraordinary communication in my house.)
My heart was breaking for her; doggone that mean boy! How dare he choose another girl over my daughter? I was reminded that the same thing happened to my older daughter at a high school football game. I thought about it some more and realized I once picked my son up early from a group event and if I thought back even further I could certainly conjure up my own feelings of heartbreak. Sadly, each of us gets the opportunity to experience heartbreak.
As sad as I was for her, I realized this is part of growing up. As a mother, I wish I could stop it and make it go away, but actually it’s a healthy part of maturing. I was reminded of something a friend once told me: “any chance for a life lesson in the safety of your own home is a blessing.”
I began to examine my parenting behavior and realized that my response to this situation was different than with my older children. With my older daughter I became much more involved in the details and the phrase “helicopter parent” comes to mind. My son wouldn’t allow me to get very close to the situation because of his “young man” pride, yet I tried to get involved by asking a lot of questions. With my younger daughter, I gave her a little space and realized she was working it out with her friend on facetime in her room. This is not to say that my response the third time was perfect or frankly any better than the other two times but I realized each response was quite a bit different.
I tell each of my kids that they are my favorite. And as I look at this particular event in our house, I see we respond to each other in a different pattern because of the way we have learned to interact over time.
I love it that I have a daily snapchat/facetime relationship with my older daughter and I realize that it’s the way we have always responded to each other even in middle school. With my son, we are close emotionally but I am always allowing him his “young man space” which is similiar to his middle school example. My younger daughter will always need me, but she wants me in the background as her steady rock.
Finally, I think I am beginning to get it, to understand how it all works.
So guess what? They are each right to believe that they are my favorite. Because each one of them, in their special way IS!