When I last left you we were in the middle of a story. Two identical keys, on the same ring, were missing, and my daughter was learning some important lessons.
And so was I . . . .
Throughout the week we texted back and forth, and she told me she was going to walk over to Public Safety with a friend to see if they could help get the U-lock off of her bike.
Good idea, I texted her back.
She also said she had stopped at the front desk of her dorm to see if anyone had found the keys. No luck there.
Oh, that’s too bad. I’ll keep praying.
At one point she said to me, “Mom, do you have any idea how much a locksmith costs? Like, 80 dollars!!”
Life’s rough. And let me tell you something, sweetie, being a mom whose hands are tied is rough too. Restraint isn’t exactly my strong suit.
Finally, about three days later at around 9:30 P.M. my phone rang. “MOM!!! I FOUND MY KEYS!!!! I ACTUALLY HAVE THEM RIGHT HERE IN MY HANDS!!!”
We jumped and shouted together on the phone, rejoicing that the incident, which had caused me almost as much internal turmoil as it did her, had come to the very best conclusion.
“Kate, that’s great! I’m so happy for you! Where did you find them?”
Turns out, she decided to ask one more time at the front desk in her dorm lobby. The girl working the desk was no help whatsoever, but it a guy who was standing nearby overheard Kate asking about some lost keys, looked down on the counter, and said, “Are these your keys?” all nonchalant like.
There they were, just sitting innocently on the counter. Who knows how long they had been there? I guess long enough for Kate to sum up the financial implications of a locksmith and buying a new lock. Long enough for her to come up with a plan and to ask someone on campus for some help. Long enough for God to teach her whatever lesson He wanted her to learn and for her to spend some time praying through her situation.
And in the meantime, those keys remained lost long enough for God to teach me a thing or two as well.
How easy would it have been for me to just say, “Oh honey, I’m so sorry this has happened. Let me call a locksmith for you and I’ll come meet you at work and we’ll see if we can get that bike unlocked for you”? And surely it would have been easier for me to write the check to a locksmith than for her to do it.
But in the meantime, she wouldn’t have come up with the great idea of going to Public Safety. Or checking at the front desk. Or finding out just how much this mess was going to cost her.
And in the meantime we both had the opportunity to pray and to wait for God to work it out. I’m so glad He worked it out this way rather than the most painful, expensive way, but even if He had chosen that path, it would have been worth it, too.
Because she did it. Kate had gotten herself into that mess and she had the unique privilege of getting herself out of it. It was her problem, and even though I was there to support her in it, she got the satisfaction of handling it.
I’m so proud of her, but I’m also just a little bit proud of me because I didn’t handle it. Me, the fixer-upper. Me, the handler. Me, the mom who wants to kiss it and make it better.
I didn’t handle it. And it was the right thing to do.
After almost 19 years of mothering this child, I’m still learning.
Now it's your turn. What parenting lessons have you been learning lately? What is the hardest part of parenting to you?