The first is twelve

When I gave birth twelve years ago for the very first time, I had NO idea of the journey I was embarking upon.  I was young and naive and didn’t have a clue about being a mom.  And this little girl that they placed in my arms would be nothing like what I thought a little girl would be like.  From the start she was fiercely independent, curious about the world around her, strong… She was feisty and fun, yet headstrong and determined to do life on her own terms.

I had a lot to learn about raising a daughter, about being a mom, about parenting in general… a lot to learn about myself.  My patience has been stretched, and I’ve seen ugly come out that I didn’t know I had.  I’ve had to learn to humble myself and ask for forgiveness.  I’ve had to learn to stand my ground even when it hurts.  I’ve had to let her learn some lessons the hard way, and take the brunt of her anger to protect her from lessons she’s not quite ready for.

Each day with this freckle-faced beauty is a new experience.  We have to find that delicate balance between letting her spread her wings and fly while shielding her from some of the nastiness the world wants to throw her way while she’s still so young.  We’re always trying to let her be the beautifully unique individual God has created her to be, yet steer her in the direction of His good plan for her life.  It can be so hard to know how much is too much or not enough.

As my girl grows, our challenges grow.  She’s intelligent and inquisitive- sometimes too much for her own good.  These days we battle more than we embrace, and while I know she doesn’t believe me, it hurts my heart to make her angry.  Yet in spite of our differences, there are so very many things I adore about her… So many things that bring me such joy as a mom.  So, for her 12th birthday, that’s what I shared with her- a list of twelve things about her that make her uniquely her own, those things that I love most about her.

And she loved it… See, I’m learning more and more that my kids don’t always want all the stuff.  Yes, they come up with wish lists and there’s always some latest and greatest item they’d like to have, but most of the time they want me.  They want my attention.  They want my affection.  They want my words of affirmation.  They desire a mom who loves them and wants to be with them, a mom who is present.

As we jump on into this next year, our last year without a teenager in the house (*gasp!*), my goal is to work on that.  Less impatience, less rush, less busyness, less technology… And more being.  Being present.  Being involved.  Being attentive.  I only get one shot at this, and I’m a bit ashamed at the time I’ve wasted… But it’s never too late for a new beginning.  After all, His mercies are new every morning…

Happy 12th birthday, my Rae of sunshine… Thanks once again for teaching me a little more about life ❤️

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