I know the moment I turned from Raging Mom to Roaring Mom. Kate was young, maybe five or six. Her hard-headed independent spirit was in full swing as much as it is still today. She wanted to wear her favorite new tennies to church. But I had already compromised on the clothes. Surely, by now, after a lifetime of Sundays, she understood the unwritten Church Dress Code. She could certainly recite the lecture that went with it: "If you can dress up to go to a nice restaurant, or to the theatre, or to Grandma's, you can dress up for God." Of course, I would have preferred it without the sing-songy sarcasm, but at least she got the words right.
She stomped to her room to get the shoes. I followed because 5 years of being her mom had taught me something of her stubbornness. She put the tennies on anyway. Even after I had specifically ordered the Mary Jane's. I fumed. I seethed. I had already compromised on the clothes!
She huffed. Yes, five years old, and already huffing. She huffed. "Mom, are you going to be mad at me for not wearing the shoes you want me to?"
A voice that sounded a lot like mine answered, "No, I'm not."
I'm not? I'm NOT?
Then I was calm and I realized, no, I'm not. And we went to church.
It seems insignificant, doesn't it? Kate probably doesn't even remember it. But, in truth, it was a clarifying moment. My duty as Mom was not, is not to force my will on my kids--even in something as simple as shoe choice. My job is not even to shape their will. Lord knows I could not have shaped Kate's anyway. She was born with an iron will and a matching determination.
All I am called to do is to love them. Unconditionally. A simple responsibility and, because we've been trained for generations to rage rather than roar, the most difficult challenge of my life.
Just love them. And I'll roar that all day long, no matter what shoes they're wearing.