Even though exhausted, Melissa had several things still on her list before the big weekend. “Thaw out the meat, finish the deviled eggs, run to the store to get streamers, cake, candles…and ice cream. Then come home and mop the kitchen floor and make sure the kitchen and family room are straightened. Better make sure there is enough gas for the grill, too,” she played over in her head as she took inventory of her list.
As the evening wore on, Ryan tried to get Melissa to come to bed, but Melissa kept thinking of a few more things that would need to be done to make the next day perfect for her 13 year old son’s birthday party. She had pulled out all the stops this year. Both her parents and Ryan’s were coming for the celebration. Different times of course, her family on Saturday afternoon and Ryan’s parents on Sunday afternoon, because things just didn’t seem to gel right when everyone was there at the same time. Then there would be all Ryan’s friends on Saturday evening. She wanted to make sure he felt special this weekend!
By Sunday evening, all Melissa could think about was crawling in bed. The last of the guests were gone and the birthday boy had decided to go shoot hoops with a couple of his friends over at open gym at the church. She decided to take a power nap before dinner and immediately fell asleep.
After the kids had gone to bed, Ryan pulled Melissa over to the sofa. “Do you mind if we just spend some time together and talk?” he asked. “You look absolutely exhausted.”
Sitting in the family room, Ryan gently prodded. “I know that Conner had a great weekend. We all did. Everything you did was perfect! But I want to talk about why you felt you had to do so much? Why did you feel the house had to be spotless? And then you felt you needed to make so much of the food from scratch. Why three parties and not just one? I guess I just felt like the weekend took on a life of its own and you were determined to make it all happen. I just want to understand what was going through your mind.”
“You’re right…I’m totally drained.”
“So what was so important about this weekend…this birthday for Conner?”
“Ryan, I thought you knew.”
“Am I supposed to? What did I miss?”
“Ryan, when I was 13, I couldn’t wait until my birthday! You know, it’s a big deal becoming a teenager. Anyway, about two weeks before my birthday, my parents announced that they were going to California on vacation with my aunt and uncle and my grandmother was going to stay with us. They left the day before my birthday. There was nothing special about that day. I just remember feeling like my parents really didn’t care about me at all…no cake, no presents, not even a telephone call on my birthday. I remember asking my grandmother if she was going to make me a birthday cake. You know what her response was?”
“No, sweetheart, what was it?”
“She told me she didn’t make cakes anymore and that if I wanted a cake, I’d have to bake it myself.”
“I’m so sorry. So that’s why the big deal this weekend?”
“I guess so. I think I wanted my parents to see exactly what birthday celebrations are supposed to be about. I guess I was trying to prove that I care about my children. And then you know how mom is such a stickler for criticizing everything that isn’t perfectly clean in the house. I think I try to make everything spotless in anticipation of her criticism. Honestly, I guess I just wanted to feel valued by her.”
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. ~Psalms 91:1
Are you reacting to events in your childhood as you parent your tweens and teens? Maybe it’s time to ask God for rest as you seek his guidance and wisdom in your parenting.
Dare you to look at one of your own childhood experiences that gets played out in how you parent.
Double dare you to join me on a regular basis as I blog through Nina Roesner’s book, The Respect Dare, from a parenting perspective.
For a young mom’s perspective, check out www.LeahHeffner.com and then you can also join Nina directly at www.NinaRoesner.com.
More than anything, as you find yourself struggling in your parenting journey, my desire is that you…
“Let go…and let God,”