Just Between Us – A Mother/Daughter Relationship

The highlight of my day today is ‘just between us‘.  I’ll explain in a bit but first today was one of those normal, life gets-in-the-way busy days of doing one thing to the next and when I look back on the day, I wonder how I had the energy to do all that I did without crashing at any time considering the fact that I had a night of interrupted sleep, which meant less sleep last night.

Azkarah had a fun-busy day today.  Sports Club was back on after a few weeks off, and Azkarah enjoyed getting back into Sports with her fellow home-ed friends.  After Sports Club, she had an hour and a half play-date with a friend of hers, whose mum I give piano lessons to.  She and her friend hadn’t seen each other for a quite a few weeks, so they were really happy to get some time together this afternoon.

Owing to my unavailability this morning, my oldest, on the other hand, knuckled down to some independent work starting off with Conquer Maths, then Geography followed by a German lesson via a Skykpe video call with a teacher from italki.  She has 2 German native speakers with whom she has ongoing Skype video calls.  She then went on to do her Creative Writing Gamed Academy class.

Following my piano lesson and the play-date, I rushed off to keep an appointment with my personal trainer at our local gym.  There I endured an hour of pure torture!  Well, no, it wasn’t really torture.  It was a workout, as my PT was quick to remind me, a W-O-R-K-O-U-T.  He asked me what the point of training was if not to strengthen and build up one’s muscles.  Good question 😉  It was good, all good…well…erm..except for the treadmill where the torture really did happen….for 20 solid minutes.  But, I digress…I’m supposed to be sharing about our learning journey not about the joys and pains of life at the gym.

Just Between Us
My oldest is going through puberty and all that comes with it.  You would think that having gone through puberty myself I would understand my daughter’s highs and lows, and feel a strong sense of kinship with her but to be honest, I think I can honestly admit that I’m clueless most, if not all, of the time.  Pathetically sad, right?  Well, maybe.
It’s always been my dream and wish that I would have a close and intimate relationship with my girls, and that there wouldn’t be any distance between us.

However, to have an intimate relationship [with anyone] (a) takes time, (b) needs to be nurtured, (c) requires a level of trust, honesty and openness without which there really is no foundation for a relationship.
In my desire to have an intimate and close relationship with my oldest, in addition to the points above, I overlooked one very important thing:  PUBERTY.  Yep!  For those of us for whom puberty and all that it entails is a distant memory in the far off past, it can be quite challenging understanding what exactly our kids are going through, especially in this day and age where they are exposed to too many ‘things’ too young, too early and don’t quite yet have the emotional and mental maturity to deal with everything that comes their way.  They feel misunderstood, not listened to, isolated, insecure, embarrassed, ashamed, etc.
I’ve felt a distance between my daughter and me for some months now and haven’t quite known how to bridge the gap between us.  I am conscious that she has a need but I often misread her needs and am prone to “give a long sermon” rather than to simply listen to her, really listen to what she says to me….well, when she uses words….because some of the time she speaks through her eyes but I never quite did learn the art of eye-reading 😉

So, in sudden desperation, towards the end of last year, I was inspired to inspire my daughter to write me a letter as a way to communicate with me, as she seemed to find it difficult to open up to me face-to-face.  I explained to her how in the beginning of her dad’s and my relationship with each other, we had communicated a lot by email and our hearts really were knit together in a way that probably wouldn’t have happened had we been face to face.  I, personally, find it easier to communicate by letter/email than face-to-face, as I’m more able to express my feelings in a more thorough way.
My daughter took my suggestion on board and indicated that a letter would be forthcoming before the end of the year, and when there was no sign of it, I tried (so hard, I really did) not to prod or push or drop hints in a questioning manner about when to expect her letter.  I’m afraid I did fail on those counts!

Anyhow, last week I happened upon a book on Amazon whiles doing a search for a different themed book altogether, and the idea of the book appealed to me very much, as it was along the lines of letter-writing.  The title of the book really grabbed my attention so much so that I ordered it – Just Between Us: A No-Stress, No Rules Journal for Girls and Their Moms – written by a mother-daughter team.
The book arrived today and just before sitting down to share this post, Kezia and I read through the introductory word from both the daughter, who was in Grade 8 (Year 9) at the time of the writing and publishing of the book,  and from the mother – 2 perspectives on the reason for the journal, and how after about 5 years of journaling the relationship between mother and daughter has strengthened in its intimacy and communication.
I was choked up with emotion as I read out loud the introductory word, and felt that this was finally the answer to prayer as well as an answer to my deepest heart’s desire to really get to know my daughter, to understand her, to be there for her, to make time to connect with her and so much more.

The journal is laid out in a way that enables both mother and daughter to begin their journey of building a relationship that is based on trust and honesty, and that is nurtured with time.
There are some printed suggestions – questions for both mother and daughter to answer, or statements to make, there are blank pages for both mother and daughter to write about whatever they each feel compelled to write about.

I believe this begins a journey of mother-daughter exploration, one that both Kezia and I are excited about.  May the Lord truly bless this journey!

P.S.  Kezia’s letter to me was delivered to my bed last night, and I read it just before falling asleep.  Talk about timely!

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