“Your time will come, young lady. Just wait till you become a mother. You’ll see what I’m talking about!”
Our frequent emotional and verbal tug of wars seemed to always end with Mom’s warnings during the know-it-all phase of my teenage years. Why can’t I stay out past midnight? Why do I have to wait until I’m sixteen to date? How come I can’t have Jordache jeans like my friends? These shorts aren’t too short. Why do I have to change? Yes, I was THAT kind of child – impatient and strong-willed.
Mom’s maternal predictions were fulfilled years later when she delightfully witnessed my then-13-year-old daughter Natalie challenge me with a “Little Marla flashback” during a dress shopping spree at JC Penny. Dolled up in a not-so-age-appropriate garment, Natalie strutted out with an attitude of confidence thinking she had finally found THE dress. My disapproving silence triggered her reaction: “What’s wrong with it? I’m not a little girl any more.”
My sharp response didn’t sit well with Natalie, and the war of wills began yet again. After she stomped her way back into the fitting room, I caught my Mom out of the corner of my eye grinning from ear to ear, basking in the glory of the moment. “See! Now you know what I went through with you.”
Trying not to act like a rolling-eyed teenager myself, I cut her off,” I know, I know.”
“No, you don’t know,” she replied half-jokingly. “There is more to come. Just wait.” If bucket lists had been en vogue back then, Mom would’ve checked that moment right off.
Once again, Mom was right. My own journey through motherhood allowed me to understand the reasons behind my parents’ rules, which were lovingly enforced for my own good – to protect me, to keep me safe, to help me learn, and to appreciate what I had. Now I’m doing the same thing. Striving to maintain those same standards while simultaneously raising three teenage boys and a young adult daughter through this fast-paced, high-tech, social media-crazed world has led me down the proverbial roads of maternal anxiety and self-doubt. I’m sure Mom traveled these roads too.
Since Mom passed, I now hear a different kind of “Just wait.” Peaceful reminders that sound soft, gentle, and hopeful. It’s the voice of God reassuring me: “Just wait, Marla. I will help you through this grieving process. Just wait, and see how I will take care of you and your family. Just wait, be patient and trust me. I will show you which path to take.”
I have come to realize that my history with impatience has been a kind of gift, allowing me to recognize the true blessings in every season of my life. All I have to do…is Just Wait.