Thursday, April 28, 2011

Cease Fire

My daughter asked me a question, this morning, that blew my mind. We were in the midst of one of our usual teenager vs parent epic battles. I felt sufficiently comfortable with my position in the battle. She stormed off angry. I called her mother to report on the battle front. Tensions have been high lately. She's heading off to college and quite obviously feeling anxious. I'm watching my little girl grow up (or not grow up, depending on the day) and feeling equally anxious. So the monthly battles have turned to weekly or daily battles as of late. We have both taken our hits. Both tired from the fight. But this morning, we both mustered the energy for one more battle.

But then, amidst the bombs and sirens, a white flag went up. In response to my most recent angry message, my daughter sent me a text that basically said, "I'm going off to college soon. Instead of fighting, we should cherish our time together." And, as if that wasn't enough, she went on to ask, "Do you remember the day I was born? I do." She ended her message with her usual, "Love you Paww."

As the dust from the bombs settled and the gunshots stopped ringing in my ears, I reflected on her question. The day she was born. To be honest, I wasn't there the day she was born. I was 17. Its not as if the terms of her birth were joyous and exciting. I was in the midst of another kind of chaos in that moment. But, what I do remember was the day we met. It was a few days after her birth. I went to her grandmother's house. I took this newborn child in my arms and walked her out onto the balcony. I wanted a private moment with my baby girl. I whispered words into her ear that, to this day, no one but me and God could attest to. I made that little girl a promise. I made God a promise. I was going to give that little girl the world. No hurt or harm would come to her while I stood watch.

My assumption was always that she didn't know about that day. After that day, I actually didn't see much her her for a while. Like I said, it was a different kind of chaos back then. But, when we met again, I knew that I had come to keep my promise. I assumed that she couldn't possibly know that we'd met before. And the relationship that we formed was one built on choice, not obligation. I rather liked it that way.

My baby girl's question today made me think. That white flag she raised on the battle field today made me wonder. Its as if she said, "Do you remember the treaty we signed years ago? We agreed to be allies. So why are we fighting?" She was days old when we made that pact. I can't reasonably believe she REMEMBERS it. Still, I remember it. That's not to say I think I did anything wrong today. She is, after all, a teenage girl. They tend to do things that make their dad's want to scream. But what she said to me today reminded me of something very important. Even when she makes me wanna scream, she doesn't really mean to make me angry. She loves me just as much as I love her.

I'm sure this cease fire will be temporary. Maybe she is just buying time while she stocks up on ammo. Regardless, I'm glad she said what she said. It reminded me that, no matter which way the bullets fly, in the end, we're on the same side in this one.

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