Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Ugh. The give and take of it all.

I have two lovely daughters.
One of whom is a teen.
I love her.
She is a delight.
Until she is not.
Did I mention she is a teen?

I love her all the time, but to be honest, I find myself pondering a particular children's book a lot lately.

You know the one.
Is it a beautiful story of selfless love?
Nope.  I'm going with describing it as a cautionary tale about giving and balance and what love actually means.
Yes, I'm talking about The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.  A classic.  A simple-at-first-glance-but-man-is-it-ever-deep book.  A book-for-children-but-really-for-adults-too book.

My love for my daughter is as steady and strong as any deep-rooted tree.
My daughter is as asking and taking as are most teens.
Not only is she beginning to have her own social existence beyond the family stuff, but she is too young to have a real job so I foot the bill. Yes, she helps around the house-- but let's face it, her allowance is still my money.

For anyone who has ever raised teens, you know these can be tricky and treacherous waters to navigate, right?

I will state it here, I refuse to be the giving tree.
I don't want to teach her by example that love means you give until you are a wornout nub of nothingness, and that in fact, existing that way makes you feel...happy.
Not happening.
I've experienced my fair share of relationships that were too one-sided.
They never made me feel happy.
They left me feeling sad and used.

I'm a giver by nature.
But I will not believe it is better to give everything and receive nothing.
Love---real, true, love--is a give and take from both parties.

Going for balance.
In all things.

Remind me of this as I continue to navigate the teen years, okay?


  1. I have a senior, and I know this story. It is very difficult to know when to bend and when to stand firm. Balance—the seeking of it—is key. It doesn't always happen though!

  2. My oldest is 13... and I think I'm going to stink at parenting a teen. Balance is what I'm striving for here too... Because she still needs guidance, even if she doesn't know it... and she still asks for snuggles... and those I'll take for as long as I can get them. I wan't a great teen to parent... so I am trying to remember that. But, It's hard!

  3. The teen years were not my favorite overall. One thing my parents did (and then I did with my kids) is set an allowance that was generous to cover everything and then they had to decide how to spend it. Want school lunch, the movies with friends, trendy clothes- your decisions. My only compromise was I paid for half of shoes because I did not want them buying junky shoes.

  4. I didn't realize our girls were so close in age. Rea's 13. Sounds like we'll be surfering through together!