I’ve posted before about the joys and challenges of blended families. Oddly enough one of my biggest hurdles was communicating with our 13 year-old. The thought of time alone scared me to death. I mean really, what do I say to her?
Leah has assured me that the swings from sweet and affectionate to cutting in her comments were completely natural. Having never been around teenaged sisters or daughters, I trusted what my wife said was correct, but didn’t want to test the truths.
Eventually, I realized I couldn’t keep hiding from her. I’d have to face the teen-wrath. Our interactions over the tween year was usually wrought with hurt feelings as she’d say something abrasive, and I’d respond in kind. Of course, I wasn’t juggling youthful emotions, so her reactions to the confrontations weren’t as casual as mine.
I prayed for guidance in relating to her. I really wanted to have a close relationship, but it seemed that avoiding her until the teenaged storm blew over would be my best bet. Of course, that wasn’t a reality, so I continued to pray and stopped trying so hard to “fix it.”
I handed it over to God.
Sunday night, Leah and I were in our prayer time, and I felt God had set on my heart a special meeting would occur this week. We’d be introduced to someone in the course of our spiritual journey. I prayed that we’d be open to this new person, and receive them and their message with an accepting heart.
As life would happen, the 13 year-old became sick. Possibly as a stroke of revenge, I soon fell ill with whatever it was that maligned her. I was stuck in bed until noon most days while I fought the sore throat, aching head and lackluster physical drive. I thought, “So much for that meeting this week.”
Leah and I were able to head out for a meal away from home this week. While I prayed over the meal, God began to show me that I’d had that meeting this week after all. It just wasn’t what and with whom I’d anticipated.
Two nights prior, and because the 13 year-old wasn’t going to school, she joined Leah and I on our ice cream run after the other kids were tucked in for bed. Her mom was staying with us, so she offered to watch over them while we were gone
The 13 year-old wasn’t terrible. She was kind of human and cool. The next night, neither of us were in the mood for ice cream, but were moved to invite the 13 year-old along for another chance at a nice outing.
We had a blast as I handed her my iPhone and she scrolled through my 1980’s era of music. Which by the way, is the greatest era of music in all of music. It clicked. We both sang songs that I’d grown up with and she had recently discovered as cool oldies. I told stories about my younger days as the music brought back wonderful memories.
She was finally able to see that I was once like her. I was finally reminded that she is currently much like I once was. It was the scoops of ice cream and 80’s music that rocked the Jeep as we took our time getting back home. I enjoyed stealing glances of her laughing in the rearview mirror. Her voice in pitch to everything from the Bangles to the Flock of Seagulls.
Then in my prayers today, God replayed the one sentence the 13 year-old shared outside of the musical chorus lines. It was in her words that I understood God had indeed made good on His promise. We had met someone new, who shared a spiritual significance.
God had lifted my burden of anxiety and hesitation in opening myself up to someone who I wasn’t sure how to relate to. He showed me that she needed me in her life, as much as I’ve grown to need her.
From the dimly-lit back seat she shared, “I’m blessed to have parents who understand me.”
Rock On Baby Girl,