My girls are getting to that in-between stage (especially Joelle). The stage where they are still kids yet they think they are older. It's a tough transition when you're still a young child but so desperately want to be old enough to make all of your own decisions and, well, just to be a grown-up.
The attitude that comes in the midst of this stage is very trying. The frustration that comes from being in transition. The unknowns and insecurities - and we haven't even hit puberty yet!!
One thing that I really want to make sure happens as my girls continue to grow up is that they feel like they can talk to me about anything and everything. I want open communication and I want them to know that I always have time to listen to them. They are entering some very confusing years, and while I may not feel experienced enough to help them wade through them, I want to at least give it my best shot!
So I have started something new with both of my girls. Every night at bedtime I spend a few extra minutes with each of them cuddled up beside them in their beds. Just the two of us.
Bedtime used to be such a bad end to our day - the girls cannot seem to get ready for bed without some sort of fighting, and I can not wait to get them tucked in so I can head downstairs for my evening vegging. It always ended up with me being impatient, them being angry, there were almost always tears from at least one of us...just not a good way to end the day.
The fighting between the sisters still happens on an almost-daily basis, and my patience level hasn't necessarily changed - but at least we don't leave things on a negative note. I take those few extra minutes to spend with each of them to talk about something they want to talk about.
It can be about something that happened during the day at school that was either good or bad. A question they have about Jesus, or just talking about what we have planned for the next day. Or things that just might not come up at the dinner table with all of us around. Afterall, some things are just meant for Mom's ears.
So far nothing mind-blowing or revealing has come about in these conversations, but it's a start. A way for them to get comfortable talking to me one-on-one without anyone else around; some bonding whispering time. Time when they feel cherished and important - not that I am just rushing to get them off to bed so I can be rid of them. Knowing that whatever they want to talk about - regardless of how big or how small - it's important to me.
My hope is that in time these little conversations will turn to deeper things. That it will become so natural for them to open up to me about whatever is on their minds before going to sleep at night.
I want them to know that I am their safe haven. Throughout these trying years and beyond. That they can always talk to me about anything.