Monday, August 10, 2009

Old Dogs Can Learn New Tricks

If you have been following my blog for long, you know that one of my huge stressors is my oldest daughter and her never ending drama. Her latest, an unplanned pregnancy with a guy who fights with her similar tot he way grade school siblings fight.

The clincher is that she does not want my support, she isn't interested in my advice, and she has some hefty decisions to make about the future. She is a real mess, but reaching out to me is something she just won't let herself do.

So last night after dropping her off on the side of the road because she was hitting him while he was driving, he kept calling her for advice while she kept texting me to leave them alone and stay out of it.

Previously I would have jumped in the car and driven to the spot where he said he left her by the side of the road, forty five minutes from my house to attempt to convince her to get in my car and come home. But last night, I just wasn't going to do it. I was at our church picnic/worship service and I needed to do part of the service. Plus, I knew that it was very likely that 7 minutes before I arrived, they would have made up and be happily back to his parents where she has been living this summer.

And so I chose simply to tell him what I would and would not do. First, I would not tell him what to do. He is the father of an unborn baby and her partner in this parenting endeavor, and if it was his intention to remain part of her life he had to be able to figure out on his own what to do. I mentioned that possibly it wasn't a good plan for him to have left her on the road and headed home, but that was his decision.

Second, I told him I was not going to go pick up someone who didn't want me to, but that if she called me and asked me to come get her I would.

And finally, I tried my best to ride it all and stay out of it until she was ready to have me in it.

Eventually she called him, he brought her home, and when I got here I simply let her know I was willing to talk if she wanted me to. She ignored me. So later, the song "My Girl" came on my Itunes and I texted her (even though she was in the same house) to remind me that our song from when she was in kindergarten was playing. That opened up the door to a few texts where I reminded her once again that I was ready to talk if she wanted me to and that I loved her. She texted that she loved me to and thanked me, and then later we both went to bed.

So what is new and different about that? It was enough for me. I don't have to force her to talk to me any more. I don't have to be given the opportunity to be a part of her life in order for me to be OK. I went to bed, and I was in a good mood, and I slept fine.

She has a tough road ahead with difficult decisions to make, but for some reason she is insisting on making them without my input. And so until it is requested, it won't be given.

To contrast her story from last night, our youngest daughter Sadie (and I"m so thankful we chose to only have two daughters) asked if she could "preach" in our outdoor worship service last night and for an 8th grader, she did amazingly well. She has recently developed a real interest in spiritual things and she is very insightful. She chose the story of the miraculous event of Mary's conception of Jesus as an example of worshipping God in the extraordinary and was very able to articulate how she thought Mary felt. It was a very great moment and I am so glad I didn't miss it by running off to rescue someone who didn't want my involvement as I would have done previously.

So old dogs can learn new tricks. It just takes them longer than young dogs.

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