I try twice as hard and I’m half as liked

WatMButtonTake2wTextIt’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.

image courtesy of leo.jeje (via Flickr Creative Commons)

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.

12 thoughts on “I try twice as hard and I’m half as liked

  1. “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.”

    That is a really beautiful statement, Emily.

  2. I like this. My oldest is coming up on 8, and in the craziness of taking care of all the little siblings, I realize I’m not quite in tune with where he is intellectually and emotionally. Last night we talked a few minutes, and I can see the teen years coming. This is a good perspective to read today.

  3. Yoda (I’m a nerd, it’s okay) Yoda said, “There is no try.”
    Of course, he was also a hermit living in a swamp…

    My mom always told me that she enjoys my friendship, but she also let it be known that she is first and foremost my mother. Even now that I do things for her that parents do for their children, like driving them to drs. appts. and reaching things off the top shelf and reading to her when her feeble eyesight surrenders, even now I respect her first and foremost for her mothering. So I guess the point I’m sharing is one you already know, but I hope it’s nice to hear anyway, that yes, it’s okay to be the parent. The other stuff, like friendship and respect, will happen in due course..

    And speaking of boot camps…my mother’s can make strong Marines cry, but it does come with chocolate brownies…Just sayin’. 🙂

    Excellent post and a touching way to incorporate the prompt. Well done!

  4. I agree. When your kids are older they will understand and appreciate all those things they don’t “get” now. It will be worth it.
    I don’t know how old your kids are, but I have noticed that mine seem to actually like me more now and talk to me more – at 12 and 14 – just when they are supposed to like me less. How weird is that? I am hoping it lasts, but it probably won’t!

    1. I hope it lasts for you, too! I have little ones so I can’t actually be “wise” but I will share with you something that a mentor mother told me, to which I cling: she said the older her kids got, the better a parent she became. She loved the teenage years. I think sometimes if we lay the foundations when they’re young it might mitigate some of that nightmare we expect in the teen years. That’s what I’m hoping, anyway. 🙂

  5. Love your response to my post. Even though you know things will get better, that doesn’t make it easier to get through these times now, and I’m always here to lend an ear. That’s about all I can do for you…unless, of course, you want to send The Tortoise to us and your dad and I can put her through the toughest boot camp imaginable and she will come screaming back to you.

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