I liked it when they were four. I picked their clothes, I picked their friends – I even picked their noses.
I decided what they ate and when they slept. It was all a no-brainer, really.
Make a plan. Set some laws and rules and expectations. Then stick to it.
Then they got a little older and they decided to have opinions.
She didn't like the dress I chose and he wanted corn, not beans.
As they got older, I got wiser. Choices. As long as I gave them choices, just a few, I would still have the upper-hand.
Now you have two dresses, choose one. We're out of corn, but you may choose from beans or peas. Your choice. And they thought they had won.
As time went on, and it always does, I learned that the smarter I grew, the smarter they grew.
This meant I had to always be one up on them. And I did. At least I thought I did, since I was Mom. The Disciplinarian.
The Final Say.
They learned that things went my way. They learned that my way was best. (I imagined that's how they saw it anyway.)
But a few years ago something unexpected started happening. They began seeing through my ways.
As if my ways were translucent and there were other directions just beyond my rants and words and wisdom – better options.
Little by little I began losing control.
And just a month ago she turned 16. She smiled for the flash and now carries that piece of plastic in a shiny light weight wallet.
She's learning that 25 mph signs really mean 25 miles per hour; in other words, SLOW DOWN. NOW.
She's developing a feel for the road and a steadiness with the accelerator. Most recently she's discovered the feeling of control: "Mom, I like driving because now I have control."
Really? She thinks she has control. She seriously thinks she's got this all figured out.
I wondered why cars weren’t sold with a brake pedal on the passenger side. These engineers obviously never taught a child to drive!
Don't they know a mom needs some control in these situations? Because when she takes that corner a little too fast, and I rebuke her with a quick word and tense body, she simply replies, "I forgot."
But you can't just forget.
You can't just not have control. Even for a minute.
Then it dawns on me. Control.
I've been fooling myself into believing I had this all figured out.
I stroll through life with grand ideas of power and idealistic images of perfection.
Then plain as day it occurs to me – as a young teenager assumes she knows the road like the back of her hand because a piece of plastic bearing her picture rests in the cup holder between us, this mama believed she knew the ways of life simply because she was a parent.
Like these things naturally fill you with super power and permeates your veins with driver safety and mom knowledge know-how.
The truth is mamas, I have no less control with my baby girl in the driver's seat as I did while she was securely strapped into a five-point safety harness.
I'm not in control.
And I sort of like it that way. She can drive in her lane, or she can veer over that yellow line. Either way, there is another organizing her steps, directing her path, leading her down a course I can't see.
I have plans for her that couldn't compare to His story already written.
That day the student behind the wheel became teacher to a mom losing control she never really had.
The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes. Proverbs 21:1