Great Wave off of Kanagawa by Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai
As I place Slow Walker’s edge-removed Eggo waffles on the table (have I mentioned I’m an enabler? the edges off a frozen waffle?… still working on it), I greet my 13-year-old daughter.
“Good morning Sweetheart.”
“good morning.” she muffles.
I notice that her skirt is a bit short in the back, something her school expressly frowns upon. “Honey, you might want to pull your skirt down in the back. It’s looking to be a bit short.”
“GREAT! YOU THINK MY BUTT IS BIG!!! …Okay, so I have a big butt. I know it. …Now everyone else know-oh-oh-ohs (sob, sob, sob) it too.” Sob, sob, sob.
The thought of her bottom being large had never entered my mind… because she doesn’t have a large bottom – which I try to convince her – gently adding I don’t like her using the word “butt”. But no go.
This was after a long night – one saturated in worry over a teacher’s pending reaction to said teenager’s lost planner. The poor kid had misplaced the calendar weeks earlier, had skated through pre-Christmas school days without being noticed, was convinced she was destined to be judged and sentenced in front of the classroom for her error. Again, I tried to convince the oft-hormonally charged young lady the absurdity of her fear. We could just get a new one at Office Depot. What difference would it make? … Apparently a lot – because her planner would be different.
Sometimes it’s best to steer clear.
Fast forward to afternoon carpool. After what had been a long day, I decided to take a moment to catch up on some reading while waiting. Unfortunately, engrossed in my book I didn’t notice the car in front of me pull forward. I was snapped out of my zone by sharp pounding on my hood and a look that cold kill glare from the school’s carpool monitor. Having felt assaulted, I had no response except to pull forward… stunned. Suffice it to say, I should have been paying attention. But apparently, I, like another woman in our house, am dealing with the some hormonal charge of my own – on the other side of life. … I took the hood rapping personally.
After waging war with the carpool monitor in my mind (yeah, I had played out every which way I was going to march into the school and give her a piece of my mind… as if I have any to give away), I wisely forced myself to avoid confrontation. Sadly, that’s where my wisdom stopped. When I headed back to the school to grab my basketball carpool, I did not stop myself from venting to the girls. I should have known I was off when they instantly jumped on my band-wagon. Thirteen-year-old full participation in a conversation should have been my warning flag. Together we be-moaned the unfairness of it all. Classroom and carpool merged and became a fertile ground for complainy gossip. Ugh… and I was driving – not just the car, but the conversation.
I didn’t realize until later that evening how much stages in life mirror each other. After dinner, I sat on the couch catching up on email. Jon walked in and asked me if my head was feeling any better. (I’ve been battling a bear of a head-ache.)
“Are you feeling any better?” he nicely inquires.
“I am. … I think that some of it might be have to do with food. I haven’t been hungry, so have skipped eating now and then. I mean why eat when you’re not hungry.”
It’s here where my husband, like me earlier in the day, unknowingly swims into some charged waters. To set the scene, we have a little life change looming around the bend. Sounds like a baby? No… although I’d never put that past us. But it’s like a baby. Our assault on youth entitlement Experiment is going to be a book published at the beginning of May. Even though that’s a few months away, publicity and marketing discussions are in full play. With these topics come questions around interviewing and other things that occur in front of people. With this unspoken yet on our mental center stage, Jon responds to my comment with,
“Well that’s good… You know, generally the public tends to listen to what put-together people have to say.”
Stunned in the same way I was during my carpool assault, I sit fighting an urge to spew. Like my thirteen year-old only hours earlier, I want to yell respond, “GREAT! YOU THINK MY BUTT IS BIG!!! You think I’m fat. Everyone thinks I’m fat” … and yes, I felt like crying.
Ridiculous… I know.
This is where I must stop myself and call a spade a spade. Like our tween/teen daughters coming in, we gals going out are sailing though some major hormonal waves most of which catapult us to irrational self-assessment and doubt. Though real, hormones cannot be allowed to be an excuse. The challenge is resting in the calm. I can’t help but be reminded of the guys in a boat that started freaking out at the looming doom predicted by massive stormy waters… and the One who’s voice calmed it all. “Be still”. Peace beyond understanding.
Waves are a part of life – at some points they’re larger and more full of force than others. Allowing them to rule our emotional well-being can make life’s journey long and treacherous. I must remind my daughter – remind myself to claim stillness over the raging storms. Then maybe we can both rest in Truth rather than the wallow in the unpredictable waters of the comings in and goings out of womanhood.
I’m just sayin’…
Thanks for walking the road with me.