Saturday, November 27, 2010


I had a snapping moment yesterday. Here's what happened:
Our family was scheduled to have our family portrait taken for the church directory. I ordered all in the family to wear any combination of black/white/jeans. I helped Mickey, I tried to help Katie Rose but she couldn't get over the fact that she had misplaced her black leggings and really couldn't get beyond that. Everyone else was on their own.
When it was just about time to leave, Gracey came downstairs in purple pants and a black sweater with aqua zigzags all over it.
Me: Nope
Her: Why not? It's black. I don't get why we all have to match anyway.
Me: Wear your black pants and come upstairs. We'll find something else in my closet.
Her: I'm wearing this sweater.
Me: No, you're not.
Her: Yes, I am.
Me: No, you are not.
Her: Yes. Yes, I am.

I have not ever seen this kind of defiance in her outright. It's always been more subtle. It was a very interesting turn in our relationship. At that point, the discussion was no longer about what she was going to wear. It was about who was the boss. It was time to remind her that I am the mom and she is merely the daughter.

I was going to do my darndest to be the kind mom who gently eased her into doing what I wanted her to do. I mustered up all of my mommy skills from when she was a little girl.
Me: Come on. Those black pants that I gave you are in the laundry room. I just folded them earlier today. (Heaven forbid that she do her own laundry - okay...disregard that last comment. That was just my mean side coming out adding to my anger)
Her: I think by us wearing matching things, we are giving the people who look at the church directory the wrong impression of who we really are as a family. We aren't matchy-matchy.
Me: It doesn't matter, at this point, what you think. I'm the mom and you will wear what I want you to wear. Moms are in charge of pictures - no one else. So come upstairs and we'll see what we can find.
Her: Okay, I'll put stuff on, but I'm NOT going to wear it. It's just a waste of time making me try your stuff on.

We go upstairs. I point out some things hanging in my closet.
Me: How about this?
Her: Nope.
Me: This?
Her: Nope
Me: What about this one? It's...
Her: Nope. I'm not wearing it.

At this point, John comes in, looks at his watch at declares that we have to go. We are going to be late. I pleadingly look into his eyes, put my hands up and gesture to him that Gracey isn't wearing what she's supposed to wear and is refusing my order.

John: Oh, just let her wear whatever she wants. We're going to be late.

Really? I mean, really? Does he not see in that split moment that all I was trying to accomplish has just flown out the window?

That's when it happened. That's when I snapped. I stormed out of the closet, got my coat, told everyone to get into the car and I was eerily silent for the drive to the church...until...until...SHE decided to say:
"I don't why this is such a big deal."

Snapping Speech by Diane Dolan
(Imagine I'm saying this in loud words) THIS is why it's a big deal. I am the mother. YOU are the daughter. Pictures are the MOM'S realm...NOT the daughter's. YOU are only sixteen. I am the boss of YOU. THAT'S why this is such a big deal. I don't like you anymore. I love you, but I don't like you.

I will continue with the epiphany I had while praying about this situation this morning, because it stayed with me for a long time and I talked about it for hours afterward, commiserating with my sisters-in-law, who shared similar experiences.

I'd continue now, but my husband is hovering, wanting me to get the house ready for a showing in 1 1/2 hours from now. But seriously....check back because the epiphany makes this entire thing worthwhile.



Jan said...

I'll be back to hear the epiphany - though I'm pretty sure I know what it is. But I'm looking forward to hearing it in YOUR words... :) (P. S. - even though I have only boys, I've SO been there, too. With them AND with the hubs thing, too. You are not alone, my friend!)

kelleyj said...

This scares me...of times to come. Are girls worse than boys? I'm going to read your epiphany now so I will have a little nugget of wisdom in my back pocket.