Friday, May 3, 2013

Laughing through Puberty -- Is that even Possible?

It is not my intention to write many entries in this blog because I have my own personal blog, but I posted something on Facebook the other day that got me to thinking.
My beautiful, funny, incredibly smart daughter is entering puberty. How do I know this, you might wonder?  There is a lot of sighing. We have rolling of the eyes. We have to have an answer for everything, and not only that, but we have to have the last word. Does any of this sound familiar to any of you moms out there? It seems that my fun-loving, laid-back girl is taking everything way to seriously and gets embarrassed by anything I do in public. I think she’s embarrassed for others to know she has a mom, but the other day, one of her friends told her she has a cool mom. I really can’t believe my daughter admitted that fact, but she did, and I’m doing my Cabbage Patch dance. Of course, that embarrasses her too. It’s like she has forgotten how to smile and laugh.
I remember going through this age myself. Do you? If you know my daddy, you’d know that he’s a storyteller and a teaser. He would tell me how pretty I was, how proud he was of me, and how much he loved me. He dated me from middle school on up. He still takes me to lunch from time to time. I tell you this to tell you that he taught me to laugh at myself. First off, he told me that if I didn’t learn to laugh at myself that I’d be the only one not laughing and that is what families did. You live together. You love together. You laugh together.
I was painfully thin.  My metabolism was through the roof, and I was skin and bones. Oh to have that metabolism now. My daddy used to tell people and tease me that if I stuck out my tongue I’d look like a zipper. He’d nudge me or put his arm around me while chuckling showing me it was okay to be who I was and to see humor in myself, not to take myself too seriously.
So this week on the way to school my daughter who was sitting in the front seat was sulking for no
particular reason, not that she needs one. I told her she looked so beautiful when she smiled to which I got an ever-so-brief, fake smile. We continued on a little further, and she was still sulking refusing to smile. At the red light, I took my right hand, acted like I was scooping something out of her lap and handed it to her with this goofy look on my face. I told her I thought her lip looked better on her face than on her lap. She couldn’t help herself. She had to grin and chuckle. She quickly recovered and said, “Mom! I’m not in the mood to laugh.” I counted it as a small victory that morning.
Proverbs 17:22 says, “A cheerful heart is a good medicine…” I’m finding out that parenting through middle school years will require me to teach my daughter at times how to have a merry heart. Will I always be successful? No, but at least she will know that I tried. I think the next time her lip is on the floor I’m going to act like I’m using it for a mop. I wonder how that’ll go over. LOL.
If you are a mom of a kid heading into puberty or is full-blown into puberty, I encourage you to love them and lead them to laugh. I tell my kids all the time that I am one funny mom, or if I do something funny, I tell them, “Now that was some funny material!” There are so many difficult conversations you’ll be having with them over these years, just don’t forget to laugh with them as well.

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