"So Frequently we mistakenly believe that our children need more things, when in reality their silent pleadings are simply for more of our time."
***President Thomas S. Monson (Ensign May 1994)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Myshel's Little Surprises.....................

Surprise #1

Ok, let me give you a little background info before I share Myshel's comments..........

About 10 years ago I started collecting birdhouses. As all collections do, it's grown and grown over the years, to the point that I've stopped adding to the collection unless it's just too amazing to pass up. My in-laws made these great shelves for me to keep them all on. They barely fit...................Some of my birdhouses aren't even painted yet, but I just love them all!

I think that I've told you that the housing that we just moved into is small, I mean, it's SMALL! especially compared to what we got used to in Virginia. (Just to compare, we've had to take everything from 3 rooms in Virginia-the computer room, living room, and dining room-and put them into a space about the size of just our living room in Virginia. It's small and crowded, livable, but crowded)

Ok, I also have a much smaller collection of sand and seashells. Chad and my sisters have helped me collect sand and seashells from lots of different places (Virginia, North Carolina, Maine, Florida, California, Hawaii, Guam, Spain, Dubai, Greece, Croatia and a few more, I think) It's amazing to me that the sand is all different colors and shades and textures and even the sea shells have different looks and feel to them. It's a fun collection, that I also love and am not willing to part with.

I have all my shelves with the birdhouses up on the walls, but the sand/seashell collection has outgrown it's shelves and so I gave them to Vance. In Virginia I bought and stained a new shelf for them, but when we moved here it needed to be used for something else. (This is getting to be a lot of background I know, but hang in there, the point of my post is coming soon, I promise) So, my sand/seashell collection has an empty place on the walls for it, but no shelves to sit on.............................

Which brings me to the point of this post, I was sitting on the couch trying to decide what birdhouses I could/would take down and pack away for the next 3 years, so that I could use one of the set of shelves for the sand/seashells. I was having a hard time deciding, I just wanted them all to stay. Myshel came in and I decided to enlist her help. This is how the conversation went.

Myshel: "What are you doing?"

Me: "I'm trying to decide what birdhouses to take down and pack away so that I can use the shelves for my seashell bottles."

Myshel: "Why would you do that?"

Me: "The birdhouse collection is kind of big for this space and I need the shelves for the sand/seashells. So, help me decide what birdhouses to take down."

Myshel, most indignantly: "You can't take any of them down!"

Me, a little taken aback: "Why??"

Myshel: "You have to keep them up. That's what makes this home. They remind me of you and it makes it feel like home. You can't take them down!"

Me, completely surprised at what she said: "I'm just thinking about taking one set of shelves down, so it's only some of the birdhouses.........."

Myshel, interrupting me: "NO! they all have to stay! They make it home!"

I was completely surprised that she even cared at all about the birdhouses. Sometimes, the kids will sit at the table while they eat (the birdhouses are usually in the dining room) and play "if you were tiny and could live in any birdhouse, which one would you choose". And then they discuss which one they would want to live in and why. I always thought it was cute and enjoyed hearing their answers, but never really thought much about it. Maybe they really enjoy them as much as I do. Maybe they do remind them of me and it makes our house feel like home. I don't know, but I do know that I was also completely surprised that my teenager was willing to express her feelings about my collection to me! And it really made me feel so good and loved! Needless to say, ALL the birdhouses are still on the wall.............

Surprise #2
Ok, Myshel was very upset about moving. It was hard on her. She left some great friends and that's hard when you're a teenager. She blames the navy (which it really is their fault), but since she can't take out her frustration on the navy, she tends to take it out on her dad, since he's the one in the navy. Chad seems to understand this and takes it all pretty well most of the time. There have been times when we've had to tell her that her angry is misplaced and she needs to show more respect for her dad and what he does. She may not like it, but the navy puts food on her table and a roof over her head!

That being said, Myshel is a typical teenager and can get very moody and grumpy, especially with me, since I am the one that's around the most. When Chad was deployed there were times when I really wondered whether she liked me at all. On the other hand, I think that Myshel and I have a pretty good mother/teenage daughter relationship and actually I think she has a pretty good relationship with her dad all things considered.

Chad and Myshel and I were talking at the table the other day. I don't even remember what we were talking about, but Chad had joked something about how Myshel would just be lost without him. This was Myshel's answer to him.................

"No, you leave all the time. You're ok, but I'd be lost without mom! She is my rock. When I need some one to be there for me, it's her, not you. Mom is the one that's here when you leave. We've gotten used to you being gone. But mom is the one who has to be here, she's my rock! She's the one I'd be lost without!"

Chad and I were both speechless and Myshel left the room after she finished. We didn't even know what to say. Later I apologized to Chad that she had said that, because I felt like it probably hurt him for her to say that and I knew she didn't mean all of what she said. I also told him that I liked hearing her say that I was her rock, but that it's hard to believe it completely because she was just trying to be indignant to him. He said, "no, I don't think that's completely true, I think what she said about you is true. I think she really does feel that way. I think you are her rock and that's good". I'm not sure how much of what she said genuinely came from her heart and how much was teenage attitude, but I think that at least a little of what she said was heartfelt and again, that openness completely shocks me, but also fills my heart! Maybe my teenage daughter doesn't hate me after all!


Maine Mom said...

The birdhouse comment from Myshel made me tear up. It was so honest and sweet. And I think she meant what she said about you being her rock and she would be lost without you. She may be a teenager, but she definitely loves you and feels safe at home. :-)

Laurie said...

I want to start a birdhouse collection now so that I can listen to my kids talk about which house they would live in. I loved that! It's tough being a mom. Hang in there. It's these little moments of graditude and recognition that give us courage and hope to keep trying. You're a great mom!

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