Imagine growing up with a father who was an army drill sergeant and a preacher. Structure doesn't even begin to cover it. Combine this with verbal, physical, and sexual abuse at his hand, it wasn't any wonder that I became an incredibly rebellious teenager. I was hell-bent for self-destruction until I got pregnant with my oldest daughter. That radically changed my world view.
The fact that I didn't become an alcoholic, a drug addict, or disease ridden from promiscuity is due to having her come into my life. The fact that I have a college education and a successful business was due to me wanting to do my best for her. She was an old soul from the moment that she was born, and she taught me so much more than I have ever taught her.
Until Steve entered into our lives (when she was 8), it was me and her taking on the world. Even after Steve and I got married and he adopted her, we were still thick as thieves. When the other children came into our lives, she became such a fabulous big sister, often nurturing them when I was emotionally incapable of it. She is in her early twenties now, has finished college and working on her career. She still lives with us, having decided that while dating and finding her intended, she wants the accountability of home.
She is an incredible human being. I often wish I could be like her.
Why am I telling you all of this? So that you will understand the power and impact of what she said to me today while we were at lunch together.
"By the way mom, I've been meaning to tell you. I'm not sure what has been going on with you lately or what has caused the changes I see in you, but I wanted to let you know that I have noticed that you are different in a good way. I know I'm not home as much lately, but I have noticed that it seems so much more peaceful at home. You seem so much more peaceful. I just wanted you to know that I really like it. What changed?
"Just been doing some serious soul searching. Women do that when they reach 40 you know." (a half truth, but truth none the less)
"Soul searching is good. And I've noticed that Dad's really been taking control of the troop (our pet name for the younger three children) too instead of leaving it for you to do. I think that is good that he has taken that burden off of you. Well, whatever it is that you all are doing- Keep it up!"
Can I just say I'll take a thousand more spankings if that is what it takes to get that kind of praise from my daughter? If I ever doubt our path, I will reflect on this moment. Oh yes, we will keep it up.