It’s strange to see pictures of my mom equivalent in age to the age I am now, even weirder to see pictures of myself at the current age of my oldest daughter. My mom wore 40 well. She looked youthful and well rested. Lately, I just feel like I have one foot in the grave. Although, in my defense, I have been battling an infection. DW took me to urgent care yesterday when my fever spiked to nearly 103. (Thank you antibiotics.) This morning I am finally starting to feel like normal is around the corner.
“But I still wake up, I still see your ghost
Oh Lord, I’m still not sure what I stand for oh
What do I stand for? What do I stand for?
Most nights, I don’t know anymore…” – Some Nights by Fun.
At fifteen, I looked awkward and naive. I worried too much about what other people thought of me and not enough of what I thought of myself. The plight of every teenager, I guess. I measured my success by the amount of friends I had, or by the amount of
drama attention received. It’s comical how much of our youth we spend trying to be like everybody else, only to spend the latter half of our lives trying to figure out how to be ourselves.
Seeing pictures of my mom at my current age puts things in perspective though. It reminds me how each stage of life is temporary yet necessary. It reminds me that what I thought I knew then, was nothing at all and it reminds me that what I think I know now, will change tomorrow. Sometimes, life feels as scattered as broken glass, but when I take a step back, I can see the amazing picture created. Like a stained glass window absorbing the sun, the light from our joys and successes shines through. It’s only in the darkness that we forget how beautiful our lives are.
I never realized how easy it was to be “just like everyone else”. It felt like so much work to wear the right clothes, hang with the right circle, talk with a certain inflection, or even worship like my neighbor. Now, I get “it”. I understand how much more effort it takes to wear what feels comfortable and not what is “in style”, choose only a handful of friends that really matter, speak openly and honestly or worship in a way that has meaning to me. My daughter looks so much more mature at fifteen than I did, but I know that looks can be deceiving. I know that at her core, she is no different than I was at her age. I know that even though some days seem like we are treading water, there will come a day that she will “get it” too. And even though it feels like I am trying twice as hard at this stage of my life, and am only half as liked, that’s okay. Because it’s not my job to be liked right now. It’s my job to parent.
There will be time for my children to like me later.