Thursday, March 24, 2011

Does It Get Better?

So yesterday was my 39th birthday. Ugh! The LAST year of my 30's and according to my coworkers, my LAST good year. "It's all downhill from here on" they say. Yeah, thanks for the pep talk.

I started the day to find a text message from my Dad letting me know my Mom was in the hospital and I find out my Mom had a heart attack. Not news I ever want to hear, but even more so on your birthday. We're hoping it was a mild one and she will be okay.

I teach AWANA on Wednesdays so I had a great night with the kids, got huge group hugs and loved on and sang too a couple times (once by the youth group). After AWANA, my husband and I did what we do EVERY Wednesday after AWANA. We went out to dinner together. Normally it's something cheap like Wendy's or Del Taco. But Jim decided it should be a nicer dinner because of my birthday, so we went to Lonestar Steakhouse. It was a nice dinner until I got another text message from my 19yo daughter. "Thanks for the invite to your birthday dinner? Guess I don't matter...?"

I said sorry and told her she matters. She does. She means the world to me. Before Jim and I married, for many years she was pretty much my world. But since becoming a driver, she has always done her own thing. She told me last night in her sadness and anger that she sometimes feels like she just lives with us, but isn't part of the family. I have to agree that many times I feel the same way, but not for the same reasons as her.

Allyson's friends & boyfriend mean the world to her, not so much her family. Every now & again she will put something nice about me on Facebook, or back in high school she sang a song she dedicated to me at one of her final choir shows. I know she loves me, but the displays of affection can be few & far between. I was the same way at her age, so I shouldn't be surprised. She has something going pretty much every night of the week. College group for our church, school, leading youth group, and three nights a week with Crave. All good things, but nevertheless, she is rarely home. So last night when we didn't call her to come with us to dinner, I honestly didn't think to ask her. That's sad in two ways. 1) I have just gotten used to her not being around so I wasn't surprised that she hadn't talked to Jim about doing anything for my birthday, or getting a little money from him to do something for me and 2) I shouldn't ever give up on trying to get her to do things with us. I should keep asking even if it means she says no the majority of the time.

She's possibly going on 2 mission trips this summer. I am really proud of her for her desire to go and for her fearlessness in going into Mexico and Haiti. But part of me hopes she comes home from these trips with a changed outlook. She takes SO much for granted. She drives a beautiful car that she only pays gas for, we pay everything else. She is getting a college education but I worry about her sticking it out & finishing because she has so much going on I never see her studying and I know her grades could be better if she applied herself a little more (I was guilty of that too at her age). She is very disrespectful of me much of the time, and it bothers me. It's hard for me, because I know she loves the Lord, and I know she loves kids and will be a great help for the time she is in Haiti. But it sure would be nice if she would occasionally give me the time of day.

Lately this is our interaction, if I see her in the mornings, she is not a morning person, never has been. So talking to her in the morning means short, tight lipped annoyed responses. In the evenings if she happens to be home for a quick dinner, she is usually watching something on the DVR she has recorded and if I talk she pauses the DVR and looks at me annoyed or tells me "I'm trying to watch this!" On weekends we sometimes have some time. She tells me about her friends and life and different topics, but if I talk about something she isn't interested in, she is quick to shut me down. If she sticks around after church we offer to take her & Eric out to lunch and sometimes they come. If they come over to our house, they stake a claim on the couch & TV and Jim and I are generally then stuck in our room until the kids ask "What's for dinner?"

So what is the point of this long blog? We are unfortunately typical parents/teens. But we can do better if we BOTH try a little harder. So, I will do better to keep asking, even if it means that when she does go out to eat with us she wants to leave as soon as we're done instead of enjoying each others company and chatting, etc. I just have to remember, I was a teen once too, and unfortunately treated my parents the same way. I love my parents very much now as an adult and I have a much better respect for all they put up with. So maybe in a decade Allyson might have a better appreciation of us. If so, then life past 39 can't be all downhill. I have that to look forward to someday!

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