I love being with people. I'm the oldest of 5 kids and I've never even had my own room. I love being with people...oh wait I already said that. In fact I gain energy from being with people in groups big or small. Once I had kids it made this Sanguine heart so happy because I had constant human interaction all day long. My kids are my buddies. I actually used to wait until they got out of school to go grocery shopping because I love the company, that is until they were old enough to voice their opinion on how little they enjoyed it.
I would NEVER eat at a restaurant by myself I would just feel sad and the thought wouldn't even cross my mind to go to a movie alone because that is a special bonding moment and meant to be shared from my perspective. My husband is more of a type that loves alone time. In fact he needs it to recharge. His decisions to go to movies alone used to confuse me and almost hurt my feelings because I would view it as rejection that he didn't "save" the experience to be shared with me.(I was very young at the time:)
My oldest daughter who is now a teenager, is very much like my husband. Although she values quality time with her family she is still someone that needs a few moments each day away from everything to recharge. After a long day at school she is very chatty in the car telling me all the funny stories from the day, inevitable drama and stresses regarding schoolwork. But every day. Every single day we walk in the house from the car she walks straight to her room. She turns music on and completely zones out for sometimes (if time permits) up to an hour.
This used to be a huge point of contention for us. From my perspective I had waited all day to see her beautiful face, hear all of her stories and tell her mine...after all she's one of my favorite people to talk to. There were confrontations of my demands for her to stay in the common areas of the house and relaxing there should be sufficient for someone her age. She's a part of the family and her siblings missed her too. So many emotions went into my daily rants of how she would not shut me out and fear that I only had a few short more years to spend with her and I craved every second.
One day full of frustration I prayed and asked the Lord for wisdom in this seemingly drastic change in my relationship with my little girl. And as if it were the most simple answer from God ever, I remembered we are different. I know, duh but as your children age it's easy to decide you are the one that calls the shots because you are the adult. But in reality she is who she is no matter how much I want to enforce my opinions. Now in matters of rebellion, this is a different conversation. But in matters of our individuality and just the way she is made up it doesn't have to be an issue...it can be an opportunity for acceptance and understanding. One of the biggest struggles a young adult has is feeling as if they are constantly misunderstood. It's our job as parents to validate who they are.
To remind them they are purposed and wonderfully made. I'm glad it's right now. I'm glad my daughter looks forward to coming home to a house full of peace and joy and can recharge alone in her room. And that by honoring her needed time she willingly comes out energized and full of even more juicy details from her life. One day her room will be empty because she will be at college and one day married. In those moments I know I would give anything to just know she's home. So even as I write this (right after school) she's in her room and I totally get it. She loves her home, she loves her family but she just needs a few moments to unwind. And I can't wait for her to come downstairs and we can have our mommy-daughter time. In parenting just as in life appreciating your differences with others is key to healthy relationships.
Navigating between preferences and non-negotiables can be a tricky balance with our kids. But if you ask God for wisdom and ask Him to show you how to allow them room to grow and space to be free they will always look to you as a safe place...and that's what I always want to be.
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