raising teen girls.. the saga

ImageIt is safe to say that raising these teen girls of mine by far is my life’s biggest challenge. Daily I have anxiety, worry, stress and heart palpitations in regards to my teen girls! 🙂

They have given me permission to blog about it .. I have been careful to not say too much as this is very much my own journey that I am documenting and at no time have I ever felt the freedom to embarrass them or publicly “talk” about them.. then I mentioned about blogging about the journey of being a mom to teen girls and they said it was fine .. so I will do my best to document without exposing 🙂


I think right now my biggest challenge is not just with the drama that my own hooligans cause but their friends!! and I find myself asking the question…. WHERE ARE THEIR PARENTS?! ….   quickly followed by … WHY DO I NEED TO KNOW THESE THINGS… and again … WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH THIS INFORMATION … yup it’s awesome.

Girls = drama

13-16 girls = drama to the millionth degree

add to that equation, boys, and you are off the charts in the drama department

The hard part is that to them all this is so real, so very much the “end of the world” and while I listen and internally shudder at what I find out, I try to reinforce to them that one day they will look back and roll their eyes at how silly all this really is. To them right now I am an archaic dinosaur that could not possibly comprehend what they are going through. Thing is… I am not that old 🙂 It wasn’t THAT long ago that I stood in front of the mirror liking what I saw and hating it at the same time. I remember the internal struggles, the rage of emotions that are only too real in a teenage girl’s body and mind. One moment so and so is your best friend and the next your mortal enemy! One day your hair is perfect and the next no matter how hard you try you cannot contain the bump in your ponytail and instead of being a small not noticeable bump you feel EVERYONE can see the massive imperfection in your hair. I remember trying on every outfit and literally yelling at myself WHY ARE YOU SO UGLY AND FAT .. yup I was a crazy teenage girl and I remember the battle, the pressure and the mood swings 🙂 

My girls tell me that their friends do not confide in their parents as mine do with me. I wonder why? I wonder why this is, why I hardly see any of their parents and the friends are at my house ALL the time .. like seriously I feed them all the time! I have the bare pantry to prove it! It’s one of those situations that I am glad they are at my house cuz I can keep an eye on them .. you know like checking the backpacks at the door!! but there are times when we have plans to go out and we have to quickly change them as more and more kids show up at my front door. 

as my girls are 11, 13 & 15 … my almost 20 year old doesn’t live at home any more … this post will be about a 9 year long to be continued!! 

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the struggle

Currently there is something I am dealing with… something that I am not really wanting to make public quite yet 🙂 so bare with me as I share but don’t share! What I do want to share is the process, the long term effect that loss has on a person, at least what the effect has been on me and I am sure I am not alone! or at least thats my hope 🙂

There are things, events, that happen in life that I can only compare to as trying to hold sand in open fingers …. it’s impossible to control. I like control! I love to be in the drivers seat even when I am in the passenger seat. I am a planner… I love to know the details, I love to plan the details and I love to feel that I know what, when and how things are going to happen.

Not knowing sucks.

When you have experienced the floor falling from out beneath you I really feel it changes how you see things, even when you have been removed from the trauma for a while … the effect lingers. Trust becomes an issue… and you have about a thousand reasons WHY you can’t fully trust.. in your mind those reasons are sound and true and totally based on experience. Sometimes I think I just have to learn things the hard way, I remember when I was no older than 4 years old and my mom said to me “don’t touch the stove it’s hot” and I turned and looked at the stove and immediately laid my hand on it .. an open hand to boot …. and was instantly burned and had a HUGE burn blister over my entire palm of my hand … WHY in the world would I immediately touch the stove right after my mom, who I could trust who would not want me to be hurt, had just said DON’T TOUCH it’s hot… I had to see for myself, as if I didn’t quite believe her. That memory has stayed with me and like I said it has made me wonder if I wasn’t born with trust issues 🙂 maybe it was just being a dumb kid 🙂 or both!

I get lost in my head at times with all my planning, my wondering what will the future be, what will so and so do and what will so and so say, I spend a lot of time up there trying to figure out different scenarios so that if something happens unexpected, I will have a follow up plan. My family tells me I over analyze things, my counsellor told me the same thing. I get lost for hours thinking and rethinking and replaying things that have happened and things that may or may not happen.

So what’s the solution? cuz my controlling over analyzing brain NEEDS a solution 🙂

Daily and sometimes moment by moment I have to tell myself to let it go. I have to breath a deep breath and tell myself just let it be. What will be will be. I do what I can in the meantime but I have to constantly relinquish the right to control that which I cannot control. I have to repeat to myself that God loves me and His plan for my life is better than any plan I could come up with on my own… ok so even as I type this I had the thought pop into my head “really? it is? cuz I am not sure it will work out”… just keeping it real. A friend recently told me the 15 inches from my brain to my heart is really like 15 feet right now .. I know all the right things, I know the truth and yet my heart struggles to let it be, to trust, to relinquish what my head knows is a false sense of control. “It’s a battle field brother not a recreation field, a war and not a game”…. thats a quote from a song I knew as a child.

In the midst of my wacky self I am functioning… the world has not come to a complete stop and if you stop me and ask me “how are you” I will smile big and say “oh just fine thank you”… cuz who wants to know the crazy that rages inside my head?! well I mean if you give me more time you know I will give you a little insight cuz I have a bit of a blab problem 🙂 but all in all, I am functioning, the laundry is getting done at the same pace it always gets done and my house is about as clean as it usually is, I am cooking dinner the way I always cook dinner…. life is still moving forward one day at a time. Nothing that way is different, but due to past trauma, the floor falling out from under me, I know I am hyper vigilant. I am trying to not think about things obsessively. I am trying to convince myself that everything will work out the way it’s supposed to and I am trying to trust in a situation that I desperately want to control and make the outcome be what I want it to be.

That is the struggle that is in me. Anyone relate?

……..and before anyone jumps to the conclusion that my struggle has to do with my marriage you can stop cuz you would be totally wrong!!! my being married to my amazing hubby is a reason why I function so well day to day!!

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Since after Christmas it has felt like we have been dealing with one hurdle after another .. I get this is life! no one said it was easy!! then throw in a handful of teenagers, work, being a divorced and newly married mom/woman… you know, regular life stuff and you are bound to have some hurdles to clear!

Having a supportive husband totally helps clearing these hurdles 🙂 We have such good communication with each other that really I cannot imagine doing all this alone!

I knew this year was going to be a BIG year … there are a few milestones/hurdles coming up this year… 1) I am turning 40 2) I am in transition career wise 3) my oldest daughter is getting married

1 – turning 40 …. I had a really hard time turning 25, now that seems a little silly but at the time I was having some anxiety about it. As the youngest of 4 girls I was always on the bottom looking up at my sisters and I thought they were SO OLD 🙂 and now here I was the same age that I thought was SOOOOO old!! turning 30 was a little bit harder, I went and pierced my nose (that didn’t last too long I hated it) had my hair died for a hair fashion show so I was sporting little mermaid orange with some purple highlights!! yup it was awesome, little girls would look at me in awe and say I LOVE YOUR HAIR! 35 was not so bad, just a mild panic attack or 2, and then when I was 36 and my life was unraveling and falling together at the same time I found a confidence in myself that was so refreshing. Now 40 is 129 days away!!

I remember when my mom turned 40… I was 8 years old! that was the year she became a grandma for the first time and I became an auntie…. so you can imagine 40 seemed OLD OLD OLD 🙂

So now it’s my turn to turn 40 … and I have mild panic attacks 😉 I SOOO wouldn’t want to be 20 again, although my 20 year old body would be nice!!! … I wouldn’t even want to be in the same place I was when I was 30! I love my life now, drama and all… I have a happy life full of amazing great people and I get in my head that it’s just a number and I am SO thankful to be reaching this number as my work at the funeral home for almost 3 years taught me, there are no guarantees!! I know all this and yet I see the # 40 like a count down in my head…. 129 days of still being in my 30’s…. wow!

2 – transition, sometimes I embrace change and sometimes it throws me for a loop … I definitely knew this was coming, since last June I have known this was coming, and began preparing myself… then when it happened it took me back a bit, I don’t know if I was anticipating it NOT happening but here we are and now I am having to trust that my steps are being ordered and guided! Trust and me we don’t have the greatest relationship! I have come a LONG ways!!! and I am thankful for that but I am not where I would like to be and so I am working on it. Some days I have to just take it minute by minute and I am surprised, although I think maybe I shouldn’t be, that it is getting easier. I cannot control some situations and those ones I have to choose to lay down, daily. I think a few years ago all this would have left me in a giant puddle on the floor… so thankful for the growth that I have had that I am not going fetal but walking through, holding my head up high and just believing that it will all work out in the end!

I actually am appreciating the time off that I have been having as my 13 year old is adjusting to on-line school I am able to be here for her and keep her going as it’s a big transition to make. I totally see the value of certain doors being closed!! we have been praying for clarity and for God to open and close doors…. and trust me SO many doors have been closed lately that I know it’s just a matter of time before the right doors are open!!

3 – my oldest daughter is getting married in Oct of this year…. yah brings me back to being 40 and my age anxiety thing.. HOW IN THE WORLD IS MY BABY GIRL GETTING MARRIED?! gah… this one still takes me back and I worry cuz I am a mom and I am really good at worrying! I should put that on my resume’s! 🙂 I worry cuz they are so young and I worry that my past could be her future and that is my worry and my issue and I am walking through trust with this issue as well. I really like her fiancé… no issues with her choice at all… just that they are young, so very very young…. but I support them.. ok I mean really what else is there to do?! I love them and so I support them and since it’s been a really long engagement it has always seemed so far away… and now its THE year and the dress has been bought and so plans need to continue to be made and so his mom and I are throwing a little engagement party… I think that will help to make it all feel a little more real.

I have some anxiety about the other parent involvement and as this is going to be the first BIG event since the divorce it’s all unknown territory… that kind of adds an element of stress to it that no one really needs.

Kind of a big year with a few other hurdles that I am not free to yap about…. yet 🙂 and there you have a snippet into my brain! I do see growth, I do see positive change and I am able to see all the hurdles I have cleared in my life, this is all possible, I will get through and maybe this will be the absolute best year yet of my young life 🙂

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I saw this picture on Facebook this morning and it’s so fitting for what I have been mulling over wanting to blog about when I finally had the time to sit still.

Words! they are so important.

I was raised in a charismatic Christian home, the importance of words has been drilled into me for as long as I can remember. “life and death are in the power of the tongue”, I was taught that words could lift up or tear down and to choose our words very carefully … we were not allowed to say “my foot is killing me” … cuz it was a negative confession… or say ” I feel sick” cuz we shouldn’t be moved by how we feel but by the power of His word… I could go on and on… but I think you get the picture.

In my life or what I am starting to refer to as my previous life as the one I am living today doesn’t even come close to how I spent so many many years … words were spoken a lot and there was power behind them in the fact that they hurt, stripped down, crushed and in the end became empty. Today I do not live in that same atmosphere but it’s amazing to me how the effect of words spoken lingers.

Today I watch my girls struggle with certain things, raising these teen girls is definitely my life’s biggest challenge so far!! and the power words have and don’t have is fascinating to me. The language the kids speak today is far from what I spoke as a kid … I don’t get most of it to be honest as I am sure mine was so different from what my parents spoke in their day.

I am trying to teach the girls the importance of saying what you mean and mean what you say… they are clever with words, too clever! the come backs and insults that fly back and forth between them is fast and furious sometimes… words they speak that I didn’t want to know they knew!

Words have the power to heal and the power to destroy.

This is one of my daughters favourite songs right now …. totally a sad song but by her telling me what songs she is listening to over and over I get a little picture of where she is at.

Say Something

Sometimes the words with the most power are the ones that are not spoken at all… words that you wait to hear, long to hear, words that may never come.

and suddenly all the words that I wanted to use on this post …. are gone.

Sometimes maybe it’s time for quiet and reflection and not use words at all.

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a hopeful educational choice

It is nothing new and no surprise to anyone who knows my family that my dd13 hates school … like it’s been a struggle from the beginning!! I enrolled her in 2 afternoons only a  week preschool and THAT was a challenge! I had an idea that her and I and her school life would be a  … head on collision? ….. a constant war? ….. a VERY long ordeal?! all of the above?! ding ding ding we have a winner!

When she went to kindergarten… and I chose the afternoon class for her … I would have to give her an hour at a time warnings …. it’s time to think about taking your pj’s off … it’s time to think about putting on your pants … ok time for lunch … 20 min warning .. or more like I would have to say 1 episode of arthur and then it’s time to go … EVERY SINGLE SCHOOL DAY was this way … her kindergarten teacher sat me down one day and said ” you know her and her sister are really different right? ” .. her older sister above her is only 15 months older and therefore only 1 grade higher then her…. it was like um yah DUH I am raising them, I know they are totally different!!

From then to now I have had many calls from teachers/principals … my favourite was when she climbed on the toilet and looked over the stall at the sake of the mortified teacher who was in the next stall…. yup she has kept me and the school teachers on our toes!

The year my marriage fell apart was the hardest on her and my oldest as far as their school work was concerned. It was like both of them came to a full stop. It was hard to manage as I was just trying to survive it all myself and care for all 4 of them and all that that entailed.

This didn’t help my overly sensitive highly emotional say it how she feels it at every single moment misunderstood child. Not in any way.

The beginning of her last year of elementary brought a whole new set of changes … I was engaged to be married, so was her dad …. it was a lot for her …. understatement. I thought my biggest school challenge was going to be getting them to graduate high school .. at this point I would have been happy for her just to finish elementary school. I felt foolish when the school repeatedly called to see if she was going that day … we were on a first name basis …. I am sure they thought I was failing big time as a mom … I felt like I was failing…. in the end I realized that I no longer could threaten nor throw her over my shoulder and drag her to school … she was now taller then me, physically stronger then me and at this point out willing me in the stubborn category…props for that as that is NO easy task 🙂 . I spilled a lot of tears in frustration and worry that year.

The beginning of this school year started out with a lot of promise … high school was here and she was so excited to be a part of everything teenager. My worry … her wanting to be a  part of everything teenager!!! she put in a ton of effort …went to classes and everything seemed to going well…until she had a run in with a group of girls … and the anxiety that has plagued her so much of her life rose up and it all was starting to be too much for her to handle. I have been impressed by how much she plugged through and after a meeting with our family Dr he told me he thought a semester of on-line schooling, which she was now demanding every day, would be a good idea for her. Simply said… she needs a break.

The hard part … I don’t work from home… at least not yet and am starting to contemplate if I should and how that would even be possible!! … would she be self motivated? what is the best program? I didn’t even know where to begin … so I put a status on Facebook and a friend suggested Surrey Connects … so I called the school board, they gave me the number and some info and I called Surrey Connects and low and behold the Vice Principal I was told to speak too actually answered the phone and we had a great 20 min conversation about my daughter and about the program and I had a feeling… this was going to be a good fit.

Today we had our “interview” …. got the tour… received all the information … fact is IF she does 2-3 hours a day of work, every school day, she could successfully complete grade 8 by April… she almost squealed at that idea!! She shared why she wanted to do this program .. he asked some tough questions … he was so nice and friendly and informative … he put my questions at ease and in the end we signed her up!

The amount of support she will receive is mind blowing …. I feel like a weight has lifted off my shoulders and I totally get that this is just the start and she has to prove that she can be motivated and STAY motivated! I get that this doesn’t mean I am struggle free where her schooling is concerned… but I have hope renewed and at this point that is an answer to prayer!

I am so thrilled that a program like Surrey Connects even exists!! I SOOOOOO wish that someone at her school last year when she was struggling so much would have suggested it to us .. they know about it after all!!! so I don’t get the lack of advertising, the lack of using this school as a sooner resort then a last resort and the child is burned out and done with the system. Time will tell how she will do in the program and I am hopeful that this is the right choice for her and our family …. I want to tell every parent that is struggling with a child and the typical school system to check it out!! http://www.surreyconnect.sd36.bc.ca

To know that there are more options, that there are educators that can support my daughter more effectively, that we have choice …. it’s huge! it’s a relief! and I feel hopeful in a situation that didn’t feel hopeful, for a very long time!

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Falling together

I am sure some time over the past 4 years I have written a post with a similar name!

This week…actually back it up a bit .. this year 🙂 has been a little crazy! things have been going on left right and centre … from a quick glance…heck even a major study… it would seem that things are literally “falling apart” .. and NO not my marriage!! lets make that clear right off the bat. My hubby is not going anywhere! he is literally more afraid of God then he is afraid of me 🙂 and he didn’t wait 41 years to get married to get divorced!! nor is there any need to! our marriage really is amazing.. read all my past gushy mushy posts!!

There have been things going on with my daughters that I will not divulge on as it includes many people outside my immediate family … and things going on at work as I hinted to in my last post about finding new shoes…. soooo many things …. sooooo much to think about and ponder and worry over and fall to my knees about and cry over and at times it literally has felt like at every turn something new to digest was hitting me. It’s been a lot overwhelming for me.

Last week every day was bringing a new challenge … at one point I was panicking about something and literally walking around in circles …one of my long time employees texted me ” breath Lise breath ” …. more then once this week I had to go from zero to hero in the perspective that I had thought I had it all taken care of, found out it wasn’t, people bailed and let me down, and I had to scramble to pull it all back together… it’s been the kind of week that you find out what you are made of!

Adding to the crazy day to day of being an employer and an employee at the same time 🙂 I am raising my teen girls… and add to that drama that is going on that is no cause of their own and I am dealing with very emotional, very very very emotional, teen/pre-teen girls and all the fluffy wonderful stuff that comes with that. I feel like I have been in the trenches this week… fighting for their feelings to be recognized, fighting to get them to see that I am here for them, fighting within myself to not beat myself up for circumstances that are well beyond my control… I am exhausted in so many ways. This week/month/year so far, has been a hard time to be a mom. Dr Phil really is NOT a good show to watch when you are in this place…that was a note to self here! I don’t need to see the worse of the worse outcomes of what can happen with teen girls right now 😉

Tomorrow I have a Dr appt with one of my girls … the anxiety, the stress, all the stuff that is being caused by outside forces is weighing on her incredibly and it’s hard to watch, it’s hard to always know what the right step is or what the right word is or how to deal with her pushing you away when you know it’s not really you she is angry at but you are there so it’s happening to you …. the fear thoughts I have dealt with this week are not fun…. I have had to tell  myself to just breath Lise, just breath. I am not sure how hard to push and when I should cave?! Watching your daughter struggle for air in chaos is heart wrenching. 

I honestly don’t know if I make it worse in my head by all my worrying … but I do worry, I do see the struggle, the battle that is inside of them to find out WHO they are inside of themselves and being a part of their society and then with all the added forces of family and all that comes with that. I worry.

So this week I stood trying to just breath and when all the poop was hitting the fan, and then I received a phone call and heard words that I had longed to hear but never thought I would and certain people came to stand at my side, yet again, and I saw a ray of light! and instead of looking at the obvious “falling apart” scenarios in front of me I made a conscious decision as seeing it as things were actually falling together!

I certainly didn’t know 4 years ago I would be standing where I am today. I didn’t know at 19 when my world turned upside down  how God could turn that which was meant for evil for good and I could never have foreseen what my life would be like when I was the little girl sitting in the mud puddles playing without a care in the world…. but over and over in my life with all the experiences I have had… things have fallen together!

I believe that for my daughters, their lives will fall together, I believe that for every situation I am faced with, that turning my face to the ray of light will cause all things… to fall together!

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new shoes

I am still trying to figure out the new Mac that we bought ourselves for Christmas … it’s awesome but a lot of new things to navigate 🙂 I am wanting to upload a picture of a person running as it kind of fits into my post but no such luck so I am just telling you to imagine if you would a picture of a pair of running shoes…the sun setting… and the open road in front!

that is how I am kind of feeling these days! As I have known for a long time change is constant and I have known  that change in certain areas of my life were bound to happen and it looks like it’s time to put on a new pair of shoes and look at the road ahead of me! cuz it’s happening!

First things first … my 1 year wedding anniversary!

It’s amazing to me how far I have come in 3 years! only 3 years ago my world as I knew it was shattered completely.. it was a while in the making but that was the final draw, walls were put up, much much healing occurred, new roads had to be navigated, new challenges to overcome, finding myself again, more healing, helping the girls navigate all the new things, then when I wasn’t expecting it ….. love… the kind of love that I didn’t know existed, the kind that brought a completion to the healing that I had already started, the kind that is unconditional, the kind that warms your soul, the kind that expects nothing in return but gives of itself unselfishly and completely … this is the love that I receive daily from my husband. I have said it before and I will say it again … I knew that I knew that I knew this man would be good to me everyday of my life.. I also knew I deserved that treatment! (that took some work to find again)… and I was right … more then right! he is good to me and he is good to  my girls… the year has flown by and I just keep falling more and more in love with him. He was just the right kind of ” stable” me and the girls needed and he is so there for us all, it’s amazing to me. I can see that his presence has helped with the girls and all the teenage girliness that happens! understatement … he is who he says he is, he does what he says he will do and he treats us all with love and respect. I could go on and on but no need to make you all green with jealousy 🙂 

Second of all ….. one of my babies is turning 15 on Monday!

My little miracle baby, my baby who brought so much healing to my heart after 5 miscarriages in a row and then being born sick (underdeveloped trachea) and then overcoming it and growing into a healthy bright smart funny intelligent beautiful talented caring compassionate young woman is a JOY to watch! I love being her mom …. most of the time 😉 haha just kidding, she is my “steady eady” as I call her… I so enjoy her company and love our talks … even though it takes a LOT to get her to share her deepest feelings, she hates to rock the boat and sacrifices her feelings to others a lot… she is deeply caring and a natural with babies and kids, she is respectful to her teachers at school and applies herself which pays off by her being on the honour roll and getting straight A’s. She keeps her room clean and tidy… yes 1 out of the 4 know how to clean!! phew …. she is pretty responsible and is just fun to be around. And I can hardly believe she is turning 15!! that is so crazy to me!

and finally …change … the running shoes, the sun setting which kind of represents peace to me, and the open road in front …. it all represents me and being ready and prepared, having peace and knowing even though I can’t see the end of the road I can still see right in front of me and the path is there for me to choose. I am getting myself ready and prepared for a change in my working career…. I am working through the anxiety of the change and unknown, preparing myself for what I need to do to change my shoes 🙂 and choosing to see the sun set, the peace in the situation.

It’s amazing to me how when I look back at just over 3 years ago and where I am today how far down the road I have come and I know in a year from now there will be new adventures to share.  

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