I was watching Joan of Arcadia tonight. The storyline was the classic teenager against her mother routine. And my mom told me to just wait, see what I was going to go through. Yeah, I saw something in the rebellion. Joan wanted to go to a concert and stay overnight with her boyfriend. Her mom told her no. So Joan got an alibi, and went anyways. Been there. Done that. Many times over. And someday I know my own daughter will try to also pull the wool over my eyes. And having been a teenager once, I dreadfully say that she will probably succeed sometimes.
I hate using TV as something I draw lessons from, but several lessons did pop out at me. One was on being alone. God told Joan something about being alone. I can’t remember what exactly he said, but with Joan, the circumstances she faced put her in a position where she couldn’t talk to anyone about it. God talked about free will, and Joan had figured that was her excuse to go through with the concert. But when it came down with it, God was really saying we have free will with how we deal with each situation, and we need to look at the whole picture, not just the right now. And when she found herself in solitude because she felt she couldn’t talk to anyone about it, she was the one who put herself there, and she had the choice to stay there or get out.
But the part I really wanted to talk about was how cool her mom was, and I hope I can be just as cool as this fictional mom to my future teenager. Joan confessed to her mom that she had lied. Instead of blowing up, which would be any mom’s gut reaction, her mom told her she would be mad later, and gave her the opportunity to talk it out and get out what was troubling her. How cool is that? Joan trusts her mom to confide in her because her mom allows her to have that trust.
Tonight Summer called me from her dad’s house. Her dad was in the closed off bedroom with his girlfriend while Summer and Lucas occupied and took care of themselves. They had already been alone for a half hour when she got bored and called me. I talked with her for 45 minutes. During that time, she was in charge of her 4 year old brother. She’s only 7 years old! Lucas was bouncing off the walls, taking advantage of the situation. This is what he does when he doesn’t have attention. Summer remedied this by taking the finished movie out of the VCR and putting a new one in for him. Then he was quiet. For a moment, she was the responsible one there, taking care of her little brother, doing what she could to make things better.
It was almost 7 pm and I asked Summer to knock on the door and tell her dad she was hungry. 15 minutes later his girlfriend came out and yelled at Summer for being on the phone. Summer told her that I had said she could call me whenever she needed to. The girlfriend angrily asked Summer if she wanted to be at her mom’s house. When Summer tried to say something, the girlfriend cut her off and repeated the question. I told Summer she was not in trouble, and that she could call me if she needed to. I asked if she needed to get off the phone. She said yes. At that moment, my baby was older than 7. I told her I loved her, and we said goodbye.
*Lord, you gave me two precious gifts when you allowed me to be a mother. And through the years, you have taught me more and more how to take care of these special gifts. I will not take these gifts for granted. I hold them dear to my heart, and will try to keep them safe forever. You’ve shown me sign after sign of what my next step needs to be, and I keep asking you for more signs. I wanted to be sure. Lord, I will not ask for more of these signs from you. You have answered me over and over, and I hear you. Thank you for your faithfulness and patience with me. And thank you for letting me so far be the kind of mother a daughter can trust. I hope to continue that through my children’s years.