During a quiet moment this morning I read this blog post. By the time I made it to the bottom of the post my heart was in prayer. Thanking God for the growth I’ve seen in my teens this last year, particularly The Boy. Last year school was a struggle – a dark place – no hope – despair. This year the weight of the world has been lifted from his shoulders and he springs from the car and heads into school. I give all thanks to God.
I think of the coming year and I know it won’t be all roses – there will be thorns. I asked God to remind me to turn them over to Him. He has His hand on them; He is with them no matter how far they travel – no distance is too great.
Thank you God for your faithfulness even when my faith is little. Thank you God for Your strength even when I am weak. Thank you God for Your Spirit that guides me even when I am lost. Thank you God for Your freedom even when sin holds me captive.
Did you wake up this morning feeling like an adult? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
I don’t know that my heart is ready to let you go. You’ll always be my little three year old with the smudged glasses and pigtails. I have so many wishes and dreams for your future.
I want you to be optimistic and hopeful. The road ahead of you will be filled with twists and turns and curves and bumps and detours. Don’t despair; remember where your Hope comes from.
I want you to be kind and loving. People will mistreat you, they will be rude and mean, they are hurting and broken. Don’t stoop to their level; remember who Loved you first.
I want you to be faithful. Stand up for what you believe in. Don’t settle for less than the Truth; remember who is True.
There is so much more I want for you – much of it you have already accomplished or already are… intelligent, funny, compassionate, confident, beautiful. Travel, try new things, explore, be daring (but safe). Change the world, leave your mark!
I am incredibly proud of you. I love you with my whole heart.
Today you are an adult, my daughter, my best friend.
Happy 17th Birthday Chickie!
How is it possible that you’re 17? When I picture you in my mind you’re about 3 or 4 years old, with chubby cheeks, short red hair, and smudged glasses… I guess the only difference is that you’ve gotten taller 😉
You are a beautiful young lady. There are so many things that you are passionate about… your cave, animals, music, friends, Netflix, reading, Dutch Bros, sarcasm, babies <– not your own, other people’s babies! People often tell me how impressed they are that you volunteer in the toddler room and that you’re good at it. I love to see you interact with them.
This year the training wheels are coming off. That’s scary for me. I want to shelter and protect you from all the nasty, hurtful stuff in the world. But, I love you. And I want to give you time and space to encounter the world while still in the safety of our home. A chance to try new things. I know that you will fail. And I want to be the safety net that will catch you, reassure you, and help you get back on your feet. I am praying for grace for both of us this year. I’m trying to let go – I promise. Just try not to fly too fast or too high – okay?
Have fun your senior year. Get involved. Try new things. Don’t have regrets. Be fierce.
I love you so much. I am incredibly proud of you.
I read this blog post today:
Jenny and Victor lost their dear Meemaw and Jenny wrote a beautiful post. Her story so reminded me of my own Grandma… She used to tell us stories all the time. Stories about growing up as the daughter of the town sheriff… One year for her birthday she didn’t have enough friends to play a game of softball so her dad let out some of the guys in jail to play ball with her and her friends. Or another time when her mom was out of town and she was the one responsible for cooking the meals for the prisoners… they asked when her mom was coming back! Lol! Or another time when she was watching her younger brother, Cliff, while her parents were out on a date. They came home after everyone was in bed and they couldn’t find Cliff. They finally found him in the “drunk tank” curled up with the town drunk. Yes, she grew up in a very small midwestern town.
My favorite story involved my brother and a snake. I always used to ask her to tell me the story of Johnny and the Snake. Sadly, I don’t remember much of the story any more. Just that my brother got bit by a snake that my grandma wasn’t familiar with so she walked down the road with him asking random people (?) if the snake was poisonous.
Towards the end of my Grandma’s life she lived in a care home. On one of my last visits with her she laid down on the couch (or davenport as she would say) and put her head in my lap. I gently rubbed her face and closed eyes in a manner that the two of us called The Sandman. She used to do that to me to put me to sleep and now it was my turn to love on her. As I rubbed her face I asked her to please tell me the story of Johnny and the Snake. She replied to me, “Oh, I think you remember it better than I do… you tell it to me.”
I have so many wonderful memories with my grandma but I think that one is my favorite.
In honor of “labor” day….
How long were your labors?
Kid #1: 16 hours
Kid #2: 5 hours
Kid #3: 9 hours
How did you know you were in labor?
Kid #1: I was out to dinner with my hubby when I felt the first contractions. We started to time them and when our waitress popped by the table she exclaimed, “Are you in labor??!!” and then promptly left to get our check and didn’t return for a really, really long time. Um, hello?!
Kid #2: I was induced 1 week after his due date.
Kid #3: I was induced 1 day after her due date.
Where did you deliver?
In the same hospital for all three kiddos. Loved, loved, loved the staff!
Kid #1: Epidural! Easy peasy.
Kid #2: Epidural – but only one side went numb.
Kid #3: Epidural – mostly worked great until the end when the pain got ahead of the drugs.
Nope. I was so terrified – and relieved that I never did.
Same doctor for all three 🙂
Kid #1: My doctor was scheduled to go on vacation. I had my baby on her last day at work! I had my hubby and my mom coaching me.
Kid #2: Same doctor. This time I had my hubby, my mom, and my sister by my side.
Kid #3: Same doctor. Switched it up… had my hubby and my BFF.
I can hardly believe that you’re 15 already. In 6 more months you can start learning to drive. And in 3 more years you’re outta here! Yowza!
This last year with you has been fabulous. You rocked your freshman year – even your college class! You are so smart and amazing. I love that you know what you’re passionate about and that you’re pursuing it. But at the same time you’re flexible… you’re willing to explore other classes – like the history of rock ‘n’ roll. I can’t wait to see how you do next year.
You continue to have a great sense of humor. I love that you’re willing and able to laugh at yourself. Never take yourself too seriously.
Every year when I write your letter I try to define who you are… it’s not easy. You’re bigger than life. Passionate, caring, sensitive, strong, smart, beautiful, funny. You’re amazing.
I remember the day that we brought you home from the hospital. I put you on my bed and just stared at you. I couldn’t believe they let me leave the hospital and take you home… I mean, I had no idea what I was doing. I was now responsible for another human being. That’s huge.
I think I did okay. You’re alive. You have all of your fingers and toes. You haven’t eaten anyone or set any fires. So we’re good. And now you’re figuring it out for yourself. Learning to set your own boundaries, building your own relationships, being responsible and trustworthy. And you know what? You’re doing okay. You’re alive. You have all of your fingers and toes. I’m so proud of you.
I love you Chickie!
You are officially a teenager. Actually, you have been one for a little over a week now… I’m late in posting.
I swear that if you sit still I can literally watch you grow. You love that you’re taller than me – than your older sister – than your oldest cousin… Just waiting to outgrow Daddy now. And it’s close… maybe 3/4 of an inch? You’re still all arms and legs but those arms have some muscle definition. And don’t get me started on that caterpillar on your upper lip. When did I saw it was okay to start growing facial hair?!
You also have a man voice. I love to tease you by quoting whatever you just said and then adding, “…he said in his man voice.” It’s such a weird thing to hear this deep voice coming out of your mouth.
You aren’t so quick to jump out of bed any more. You still wake up pretty early but now you snuggle down into your blankets and moan and grumble before finally getting out of bed. And once you’re up you start eating. and eating. and eating. I’m pretty sure you don’t stop until you fall back into bed at night. I fear this is just the beginning…
You played three sports this year; flag football, soccer, and basketball. It was fun to watch you play in all three but I have to say that basketball was my favorite. You just came alive. You were aggressive, you thought out your moves, you rebounded…. and you hesitated. You would get the ball with a clear, open shot but, instead, you would pass it; not sure of yourself. Since Daddy and I were your coaches this year we really harped on you to take those shots. Bam! Three pointer! You said that next year you want to be “the Cedric” of sports. Cedric is naturally good at any sport and is the team leader. I’m excited that you’ve challenged yourself to fill his role.
Still no interest in girls – although they are all making goo-goo eyes at you. I’m glad you haven’t shown any serious interest yet. Too much drama. That’s fine… take your time.
You continue to be well mannered and polite. At least to everyone that isn’t your sibling. You love to taunt and tease your sisters. One of these days they are going to figure out how to gang up on you and then you’ll be in trouble.
I’m proud of who you are and I can’t wait to see how you grow and change in this first year of teens.
I love you!