Last night I yelled at my 14 year old daughter for taking my slice of pizza. I know full well that I was yelling at my life and not at her, but that didn't dry her tears. And her tears weren't about pizza, they were about a mother who doesn't listen.
We (i.e. I) all think we listen and understand and are modern and are open and are the epitome of the parents that every kid wishes he had. How shocking to learn that we are not.
It took my 23 year old son - a weathered Noar Oved youth group counselor and counselor to "borderline" teens, to get my daughter to understand that she should tell me what is bothering her instead of holding it inside. She is holding it all inside so that I - the mother - won't take it too hard, won't be hurt, won't feel worse. Who would have guessed that the teenage angst is in large part her effort to protect me?
What happened in my life, what did I project, that my children feel the need to protect me. Where was I?
I look at my life filled with both happiness and hardship, accomplishments and setbacks. I know all the steps to the dance: one step forward, two steps back. And with courage, we finally learn one step back two steps forward.
I know I am not perfect even though I feel confident to dispense unsolicited advise, and grow impatient with others who whine more than me.
I'd like to think that I am the most self aware person on the planet. But lo and behold I am not. There is so much I don't know how to relate to in adolescence, despite this being the third round. There is so much I say and do that I don't even realize are effecting adversely those I love.
But then, when I look at my children, I know I did something right. Or maybe they did it on their own. My children have grown into fine human beings, each making his contribution in his own way to the greater whole.
And I hope that the next time my daughter takes my slice of pizza, I will be wise enough to ask her if she wants another.