Mum's the Word

'Edelweiss': Life changes and you're not alone

Posted: Apr. 6, 2018 9:13 am Updated: Apr. 6, 2018 10:10 am

It's the part in "The Sound of Music" when Captain Von Trapp sings "Edelweiss."

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, please view the YouTube clip:

Cliff Notes: It's emotional. The world is falling apart, Nazis are taking over and this man is singing for his country. In the end, the family helps him continue when he gets choked up and the whole audience joins in.

This is all happening on the drive to school. I'm literally fighting back tears as I explain to my preteen what is happening in the movie and its significance. She seems unaffected. I'm wondering how to explain to anyone who may ask why I was crying. Surely I can't say "Edelweiss."

Recently we've been having a lot of conversations about change. My oldest confided in me that she feels like everything is changing, she feels all alone and that sometimes I'm hard to love.

Here are the bullet points of the one-hour conversation that left me feeling like I needed a day to sleep it off.

1. Everything is changing. Puberty sucks and you couldn't pay me to go back.

2. No one is ever alone. You may feel that way but there are always people out there who understand your struggle, so while you feel alone and like no one understands you, understand that you are not and focusing too long on your negative delusions can bury you.

3. Refocus on what does make you feel good. Where do you find joy? Who does get you? Maybe it's not me - cool. As long as you feel safe, secure and your needs are met, I'm doing something right.

4. You're going to have negative feelings toward me. That's only natural. Your hormones are leading you to be a strong female and that means you can sometimes be opinionated and territorial. You should know a secret: I'm just a normal person trying my best. Sometimes not even my best, maybe more like 70 percent. I'm not here to be your friend and it's my job to parent you. If that means you find me hard to love, then so be it.

5. I'm here for you and I've heard you.

After I unemotionally validate all the feelings, I get on with things. I've prepared myself to play the role of the worst mom ever. Don't cry for me, Argentina. I'm fine.

But as I listen to "Edelweiss," I think about love and transition and how hard it is to say goodbye. Goodbye to a way of life. Goodbye to a childhood.

Hopefully, we will manage to cross the Swiss Alps of the preteen/teen years and come out the other side unscathed. Maybe we can enjoy a Toblerone and hot chocolate together and you won't want to kill me with a look.

So, if you were in the drop-off line at school today, the reason I looked upset was "Edelweiss."

To all the moms out there loving their kids through these difficult times, sing with me ...

Jen Reekie was born and raised in Quincy and received a communications degree at the University of Kansas, which has come in quite handy as she communicates every day with four children who don't hear a word she says. This stay-at-home mom enjoys the challenge, though, and shares her experiences in this blog, "Mum's the Word." She welcomes your feedback, questions and stories about staying sane while raising kids.

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