My oldest daughter just turned 13. A real-life teenager, living in my house. Eating my food. Using my Wi-Fi.
And this means I am now officially the mom of a teenager—a season I’ve been dreaming of and somewhat dreading since childbirth.
She is delightful.
She is her own person.
She loves me so much, yet in her eyes, I am alternately cool or NOT cool depending on her mood, who else is in the room, and whether or not I’m dancing.
This is going to be a wild ride. And I’m holding onto God’s grace and wisdom through every second.
But here’s the thing about teenhood—or toddlerhood, or any age or stage of parenting. In each season our children need us. Perhaps in new and different ways as they grow, I mean, my beautiful girl no longer needs me to cut her grapes or do her laundry (praise the Lord for that one). But she needs my emotional and physical presence on a whole new level now. And I wonder—am I giving it to her?
I look back at the last decade, and much of it is a blur. As soon as we hit the school years, time flew. I stuck my head into the process of writing books and building an online business, and my children’s elementary school stages were defined by which book release we were involved in at the moment. Now with three titles on the shelves and a teenager under my roof, I’m reflecting on what really matters most. Yes, it’s important for our children to see us doing the work God called us to do, whether that’s writing books or cooking dinner or heading to the office.
But it’s also important to lift them above the to-do list and capture these fleeting moments of childhood—to be fully alive and engaged in the scenarios and scenery of their growing-up years.
I have always believed my greatest calling besides accepting Jesus has been my family life. I can minister to hundreds and thousands of women through words, but my children have only one mom. My husband has only one wife. And I want to be PRESENT for them while I have the chance.
So I’ve developed a new watchword for parenting:
Drop it and do it.