This morning’s commute was one of those ones that made me grateful to be alive. The air was cool and crisp with the promise of warmer temperatures. The sun was shining and there were signs all around that fall was indeed on its way. Trees had started changing color and they looked half dressed for a party with their varigated color scheme. Grasses were turning a brownish gold and were still able to bend with grace as cars zoomed by. And the mountains…oh those mountains…they were dressed in a multi-hued palette of slate grey, with Mt Baker so enshrouded with flimy clouds that it looked like David Copperfield had done a disappearing act with it. It was stunning in its simplicity; hills and moutains folding in on each other each with their own unique shade and configuration.
Mt Baker, with it’s shroud, reminded me of my neice. Clouds, like walls, hide, and she has learned to sheild herself all too well. We are both struggling to find our footing in a new dynamic; new rules, new boundaries, new ideas, new territory. Life has beat her up and she has learned to not show too much, to say too much, to reach too far. At 18 she is on the cusp of adulthood and is chaffing at some of the restrictions, and I can understand it. She is working and is feeling somewhat autonomous. Therein lies the conundrum for myself and my husband (her uncle). She is like one of our own, yet she is not. I am her Aunt not her mom, so the urge to treat as mine has to be curbed to some degree.
So far things have been a delicate balancing act. How far do I let her go to do her own thing? How do we keep her safe? What is reasonable in these circumstances? How do we reach through her shields and give healing? Curfews, regular communication, accountability; these are all things I raised my own with and are some of the bare bones that make up the structure within my home. We are delicately building a foundation that is perhaps unique to her, one that we can both live with; slowly laying down the framework of trust, and hopefully respect. There are also new avenues for both us like contracts and budgets; things that are a bit scary yet necessary for both parties.
As we navigate these things and more, it is my dearest hope that by the end of the journey she will emerge strong, and with clear purpose. That, like Mt Baker on a clear day, she will shine with beauty, that she will stand with strength, and that she will move forward with purpose and lightness of heart.
Through it all we are leaning into Wisdom like never before. The outcome of this journey, this season, is too important to risk without it.