I am afraid.
I think it's hard to be a mom without having fears. Some moms fear that their children will get sick, or be snatched from a parking lot, or hit their heads on coffee tables. I have felt all of those fears.
But these days, one of my biggest fears is that my daughter will turn into a brat.
I'm typing this, knowing that label is highly distasteful to me and probably to readers. And yet I'm not going to reword it because emotionally, that's the fear I've got. Honestly, I don't even know if it's a very logical fear, but logic often plays only a bit role on the stage of fear.
I was a compliant child. I mean, ultra-compliant. I was scared to death of displeasing my parents, or God, or any other authority figure. I was a follower of the "letter of the law."
Chickie didn't get that compliant gene. Instead she is more like her dad. She has a fun-loving temperament that wants to try new things, and test all the limits, and get away with breaking the rules. I know this is her personality, and that there are fantastic aspects to her quirks--she will probably be a leader, and she'll speak her mind without worrying too much about what people think.
But it's so foreign to the way I was as a kid, and it scares me. When I have to tell her multiple times to do go upstairs for bed, I fear that I've been too easy on her. When I force her to take a bath she doesn't want to take, and she screams her way through it, I fear I've been too hard on her. I just don't know where that perfect balance is, and I suppose I'll be trying to figure it out for the next 15 years or more.
I don't want a child who is so wild and unruly that we can't go to a restaurant without getting dirty looks and whispered judgment. That thought sickens me, and so I require respect from my daughter, and I try to be consistent with discipline. Yet I also don't want to suppress her fantastic, spirited personality, so I try to give her grace.
I just hope that even when I give her too much discipline one day, and too much leeway the next, there will be enough love mixed in that I won't mess her up too badly. I hope that God will have the grace to guide my path, and Chickie's. I hope in a decade and a half, when she's graduating from high school, I'll have tears of pride in my eyes when I realize that Chickie has become a young woman who, while imperfect, displays both strength and humility.
I am hopeful.