I was making dinner while Lizzi worked on a History Project at the dining room table. She had to work there because for some reason her teacher felt that in order to plan the next presentation, the group had to use a 4 foot square piece of butcher paper folded origami style into 24 sections. While I support his big picture thinking, it was an ungainly effort to make notes in the center boxes.
I had about 45 minutes from the moment we walked through the door from Lacrosse practice until we needed to head back out, pick up her friend and head to her 4H Camp Staff meeting. I started to make dinner and think about how to outline a new plan for a project at work. The timeline was tight and I needed to get back to my laptop.
As it turned out, Lizzi had something on her mind, too.
“I thought Pastor Dan had some interesting points in his sermon yesterday, but he got some things wrong, too,” she announced.
I looked up at her then back at the tomato I was dicing and asked in a non-committal voice, “Really, like what?”
“Well, like Heaven,” she replied. She then went into an overview of how she felt our pastor had included a few inconsistencies in his Easter message. She said that some people don’t believe in God because they just weren’t raised that way and maybe, he should have explained the whole you-should-have-a-relationship-with-Jesus-thing a bit differently to accommodate those different backgrounds.
“Insightful,” I replied. She is fifteen and learning to articulate big thoughts backed with reasoned, organized arguments.
I shared what I thought he meant, but mostly I asked questions. Questions that were open enough to make her think about what she believed. When she got stuck, I helped her. Filling in the blanks with my own experience and faith while sautéing the potatoes left over from Sunday’s dinner. She had some good points and I was glad to hear that she was not only listening, but processing what she heard. Of course, time seems to move more quickly in good conversations.
We were both feeling good about what was said when we noticed the time. I loaded her dinner into a plastic bowl and grabbed a fork.
Dinner in the car, again.
A few minutes late to the staff meeting, again.
But I would not have traded it for the world.
When my girls were little they needed me close by to kiss the boo boos, tickle their toes and tuck them into bed at night. Those days are behind us, but they have been replaced with something much bigger. Not better, exactly, but different and wonderful.
My girls still need me – my thoughts, opinions and insights into the world. They need my perspective on why boys do dumb things and why girls can be nice one minute but achingly cruel the next. They need to know where I stand on the issues and that it is ok for them to form their own opinions.
I never know what topic will follow, “Mom, can we talk?” but I am certain that whatever else is on the schedule can wait.
Originally posted on WorkingMother.com on April 26, 2011.