“Ugh! Moms these days!”
The words came tumbling out of my mouth before I could swallow them back down. It was one of those nights I had planned to get dinner with my girls, and once the night rolled around, I could barely bring myself to show up. I was ten weeks pregnant (which in my personal experience is equally as uncomfortable as 42 weeks pregnant). However, I had not revealed this fact to my girls. So, in their minds, I had no excuse for flakiness. But in my mind, I was exhausted, nauseas, and hating life. I was in no mood to be the shining example of a Godly woman I had signed up to be three years earlier.
It was the week before their senior year spring break. So I started up a conversation by asking, “So, where is everyone going for break?” The answers were typical: this beach, that beach, the other beach. But one girl’s answer stood out.
“I’m going to Cancun with my best friend!”
Me (concerned): “Really? Cancun? Sounds pretty wild…”
“Oh, my mom is going, too. And my best friend’s mom. But they are staying in a different room.”
Me (feeling a little better): “Oh, I guess that’s good then. Why Cancun?”
“The drinking age!”
Me (wayyy concerned): “But. . .you aren’t even 18 yet! And your mom will be there?”
“Oh, my mom is way excited to go partying with us. She’s getting me a fake I.D. before the trip.”
Me (over it): “Ugh! Moms these days!”
The awkward silence following my extremely exasperated and inappropriate remark seemed to drag on forever. What had I just said? I can’t remember much after that moment. I probably tried to clumsily back track or change the subject.
What I do know is that today, years later, my small group has graduated high school. My girls are scattered to different colleges. Our weekly meetings dwindled to a couple get togethers during Christmas and Summer Break. I am no longer a prominent influence in their lives.
And their moms are still their moms.
My Cancun-bound small group girl will not come home to my house after her Freshman year of college. She will not attend my family reunions. She will not bring her boyfriends to my Thanksgiving. I will not be the first person she calls when she gets engaged. I will be lucky to get an invite to her wedding.
Don’t get me wrong. I believe I have had a lasting influence in the lives of all my small group girls. I am confident we will stay in touch for many years to come. But in 15… 25… 50 years, it will be their moms still standing by their sides.
As small group leaders, it is never our job to replace a parent. We can never accomplish the feat of successfully standing in the shoes of the man or woman who was there the day they were born. We cannot critique their parenting styles. We cannot belittle their influence in their child’s life. All we can do is encourage a healthy relationship between teen and parent no matter what and trust the fake ID situation is under control. Whatever your specific situation, whoever the parents of your few, I want to encourage you to continue doing what you can do, and trust God with the rest.
Have you ever had a situation where you fundamentally disagreed with the parenting style under which one of your few was being raised? How did you gracefully deal with the situation? Your insight and experience could benefit someone who is going through something similar.