As my teenage daughter’s body wracked with sobs, enveloped in my arms, I thought back to the days when she cried over a scraped knee or a broken toy. But this time it was a broken heart. And there was nothing I could do to mend it. No Band-Aid or Crazy Glue would work. I could do nothing but hold her.
I hate feeling helpless. But I knew it was best to say nothing. Because my words wouldn’t mean very much at that moment of pain. In fact, she didn’t need my words. She needed my arms. She needed my comfort.
We lay there for a long time—eventually her cries subsided. She was exhausted. I was, too. Not only from being woken up out of a dead sleep to hear the story of what had her upset. But it’s emotionally taxing to see someone you love hurting.
As strange as it may sound, I felt honored to share her pain. Because you see, when I was a teenager that wouldn’t have happened. I wouldn’t have felt comfortable opening myself up to my mom that way. We didn’t have that kind of relationship.
Looking back, I realize she did the best she could with what she had to give. So I’m not faulting her. I’m just saying that in a strange way, it felt good to be her soft place to fall.
I haven’t always been “soft.” In my daughter’s late elementary/early middle school years I struggled with this. For whatever reason I found it easier to parent my boys. Maybe it was the difficulties I had with my own mother. But for some reason I had less patience with what I perceived as my daughter’s constant drama. She didn’t get much sympathy from me, which created a wall between us.
But with time, lots of prayer, a whole bunch of refining within and some bumps in the road…God has completely redeemed that situation. And so today we share the type of relationship where she felt secure enough to come to me with her pain.
Mother/daughter relationships can be challenging, especially as they get older. And our past can sometimes get in the way. But we don’t have to stay stuck in that…nor do we have to harbor bitterness for things not being perfect. What we can do is start a new legacy.
© 2013, Stephanie Romero