Posts tagged #Letters to my girls

Letters to My Girls: On Starting School

On Starting School

My babies,

The time has come for you to be released into the world in a way we’ve never done before. It's really just the beginning, I know, but it feels like an awfully big launch since I'm sending two of you out at once. 

In a few weeks you’ll be walking into our local public school where you’ll spend 35 hours of your week with peers and teachers. For the last 6 years, we have spent our days together and I’m not going to lie to you, my heart aches a bit at this first launching. But I’m also so incredibly excited for you. I have zero doubts of how much you’re going to love it because YOU, my vibrant girls, were made for this.  

But with this huge milestone also comes some uncharted territory, so I wanted to give you some words of advice. Consider this some of the many mom lectures you’ll get over the years. After all, if I’m nothing else, I’m wordy. But I’m hoping that one day (many decades later) you two can laugh at your bossy mom, but maybe also look back and see my fierce love for you (and that maybe I was right about at least one or two things… Eh, a mom can dream!).

So without further adieu, here are some words of advice on starting school:

Be kind to everyone. And when I say everyone, I mean EVERYONE. Be kind to your close friends, be kind to your acquaintances, be kind to those who are mean to you. Because being kind doesn’t make you a doormat, it makes you, well, A KIND PERSON. And the world needs more kind people these days. 

Don’t be snotty. Along those same lines, don’t be a snot. Don’t be a snob. Don’t be manipulative. Don’t be a gossip. Don’t laugh at others’ expense. You’re only 6, but we’ve raised you better than that. If it won’t fly in our family, don’t do it at school. 

Respect others. Respect your teachers and school administrators, and remember how we’ve taught you to interact with authority figures. As for your friends, when someone asks you to stop bothering them, even if it started out as play, STOP immediately. Respect their words. Respect their property by taking care of their items better than you take care of your own. And respect yourselves and each other. If someone is bothering you, stand up for yourself (or your sister) and ask them to stop. 

Cheer your friends on. Listen, there are going to be some things that your friends & sister will be better than you in. You can't be the best at everything, and truth be told you might not be the best in anything. When this happens don’t get catty. Don’t get jealous. Cheer your friends on! On that same note, your friends will get to have and experience different things than you. Instead of letting envy creep into your heart, choose to be genuinely excited for them. Comparison isn’t only the thief of all joy, it’s also a cancer to almost any relationship. And the way to cure that cancer is to take joy and celebrate others’ wins, even if their win results in your loss.  

Stand up for what’s right. Girls, this world is full of people who would rather not rock the boat than do the right thing. Never be afraid to do the right thing. Stand up for what’s right, even if it costs you something (especially when it costs you something). That kid being made fun of? Befriend them and do the right thing. If you’re tempted to take a short-cut? Do the right thing. If your friends laugh at another classmate. Stand up for them and do the right thing (and maybe find better friends who treat others with respect). Doing the right thing will cost you something, but it’s worth it EVERY TIME. And just so you know, your mama will always have your back  

Social Media. UGH. You don’t know these words yet, and you won’t for a good long while. But this is for when you do. When the day comes when you have access to this: BE A GOOD FRIEND ON SOCIAL MEDIA. If you wouldn’t say it in person, don’t say it online. And don’t use social media for blatant bullying or passive aggressive social out-casting. We see this even in adults today, people are either BLASTING EACH OTHER with great vigor or withholding likes or engagement as a modern day silent treatment. Don’t be that person. Also, the world OFFLINE is grander, bigger, and better than anything you can find online. Always remember that. 

Tell the truth. This is a good lesson to start learning now, but the truth will always set you free. Things kept hidden are rarely for your good. If you give your friend your word, make it count. If your teacher asks you a question, tell the truth. Live a life in the light, open and honest, because your integrity matters and it starts now. 

Always check your zipper when leaving the bathroom. Nothing further here. JUST SOUND GOOD ADVICE. 

It’s ok to be different. The world is full of conformers. Don’t let that be you. BE YOU. FULLY YOU. Be the smart, creative, goofy girls that God made you to be. The world doesn’t need anymore cookie cutters; it needs unique, confident, smart, engaging women. That’s who you are. Don’t you dare change yourselves to fit a mold. And when someone else looks differently, acts differently, or learns differently than you, celebrate that! Learn from them! See God's beauty in how diverse and wonderful our world is!

Say I’m Sorry. Don’t be afraid to admit when you’re wrong. WHEN you mess-up, tell a lie, or are mean to someone, go apologize and make it right. The best kind of friends aren’t the perfect ones, but they’re the ones who know when they’ve done wrong and are humble enough to go back and try to restore what’s been broken. And on that same note, saying I’m sorry doesn’t erase the consequences, but it does begin the restoration process. Don’t fear the consequences, face them bravely because they help us learn from our mistakes!

Don’t Be a Social Ladder Climber. Listen, even when you’re an adult there will always be pressure to be in a particular group of people. Don’t be a social ladder climber; no one ends up liking those people in the end. Find people who you enjoy spending time with and knock yourselves out BEING GOOD FRIENDS to each other. Be LOYAL. Be kind. Be truthful. Show up for your people. And don’t abandon them when something “flashier” comes along. 

Don’t worry about failure. My babies, don’t be afraid to be try new things and fail, because your identity doesn’t rest in your successes or failures. Some of my greatest lessons learned were birthed in failure. I really need you to hear this: Whatever you try, wherever you explore, whenever you fall, you will always have a family cheering you on. We don’t care if you’re the best or the worst or just average. We are proud of you for WHO YOU ARE, not what you do! Try things out, find activities that you love, and then do them with passion. Don’t let success or failure be the driving factor. Paint because you love to express yourself, sing because the music leaves you no other option, play a sport because you love the game, and run because you love the wind in your hair and how the ground feels beneath your feet.

Keep your privates private. No peeing on the playground like you pee in our backyard. Lame, I know, but again it's sound advice. BUT for real though, we respect our bodies and the bodies of others by keeping our privates private. If anyone asks to see, touch, or if they talk about privates in a way that makes you uncomfortable - tell your teacher AND me as soon as possible. We will always believe you.  

Be a diligent student. The disciplines you develop in school will help you in life. Work hard. Develop good habits now. Learn to love books. But also have a TON OF FUN! As women, I also need you to know that for centuries our mere gender denied us the honor of a formal education. Every day you walk into school, you stand on these denied women’s shoulders. Never forget that you GET to go to school because there were women who broke down barriers and fought for your right to receive an education. Do not waste their work. 

And lastly don’t worry about being a good girl. Just be a girl who loves Jesus, who is journeying and learning and living and failing and getting back up again. Perfection and/or Good is never the standard, because we rest in a Savior who has met the standard for us. So when you mess up royally (and like your mama you absolutely will), I want you to remember who it is that defines you. It’s not your grades. It’s not your friends. It’s not your goodness. It’s not even your family. It’s the blood of Jesus Christ. You are rescued and redeemed and there is NOTHING you can say or do that will make God love you more or less. 

And on that note girls, GO KNOCK ‘EM DEAD. And as our former church used to say at the end of every service, “YOU ARE SENT!” This world is lucky to have you.

You are so dearly loved,

You Mama

 

 

 

 

Posted on April 28, 2017 and filed under Letters to my girls.

An Anthem on Women's Day

It's Women's Day, and since we're in a season when what it means to be female is a hot topic, I wanted to spend a little time writing out a prayer here for you and the women in your life. I'll be honest, this originally started out as a prayer for my daughters, but as I began to think about it I realized I was praying for all of our daughters, our sisters, our mothers. All of us. So without further adieu, an anthem for my girls on Women's Day.

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Happy Women's Day 2017,

May we be women who relish in who God made us to be, women who don't adhere to stereotypes, women who live lives full of joy, generously giving away the gifts that are entrusted to us.  

May we be strong women.

May we find that strength, real strength, isn't in getting our way or being right; it's found in being rooted in something greater than ourselves. May we learn that strength is both the grace to admit when we're wrong and the formidability to stand firmly for what is right. May we spend our strength and power for the good of others, rather than hoarding it for our personal gain.

May we always know that we are at our strongest when we are locked arm in arm with one another rather than pulling each other down to get to the top. 

May our steps be guided by a faith that knows that all things were created to worship. Our creativity, our gifts, our very breath was made to bring glory to God and point to His goodness. May we lead, write, sing, engineer, teach, dance, study, lift weights, run, paint, create, analyze, heal, assess, counsel, fix things, and fight for justice with our utmost. May we give our best not because we want to be better than whoever is standing to our left or right, but because we know that when we bring our best we lift each other up. We work hard to the glory of God, not man or woman's praise.  

May we LOVE our bodies and personalities and know that all of our quirks and differences make us beautiful. They point to a brilliant creator instead of a flawed design. 

May we cheer each other on, recognizing each other's gifts without a sense of jealousy. And when envy arrises, because it inevitably will, may we fight against it, ultimately choosing the betterment of others over ourselves. 

May we be women who love and know God's word and as a result are able to know and love each other fiercely. I pray that we are people who learn how to forgive and give grace like it's going out of style. What a world we could create if we loved and forgave like Jesus did!? 

May we be faithful with the lives and gifts we've each been given. I pray we look back at the end of our days and see a life well spent. May we be generous with our time, money, emotions, energy, and resources and spend them on things that matter. May our investment in each other and this world grow in generations to come. 

May we love God above all other things, looking to Him in every situation. Knowing that the highest highs and the lowest of lows were all ordained by Him. Because of that, we rest. We rest in a good Father and know that we are loved by Him. When suffering comes, we are grieved but not destroyed. We stand firmly rooted in truth amidst the torrential storms that life throws at us. 

May we do all this and more because we are women, made in God's image. We have gifts to offer our churches, our communities, our families, our schools, our politics, our world, because we were designed and gifted by the most loving and creative God on High.

Let that fuel us! 

In a generation that strives for recognition and the stage, let HIS LOVE motivate us to be faithful in both the little and big things, wherever He has placed us. 

We are women. Hear this roar. Our battlecry is not our own; it is soft and loud and humble and strong, and it proclaims that our God is GOOD. He restores all things. There is nothing too broken He can't fix. And one day He will right all wrongs. THIS IS OUR ANTHEM. It is our life's work. It is every thing we are working towards. 

We are women, smart, strong, beautiful, creative women. May we continue to be strong women with eyes focused on Jesus, looking to Him in all things. 

This, this is my prayer for you, for us. Happy Women's Day, my sisters!

Much Love,

Things I want to remember... 2+ years

Because time flies and you blink and all that was big and important becomes small and distant. 

I was looking back through old photos... bless it... I should never do that unless I'm prepared to ugly cry uncontrollably. But alas, I did and I was remembering the things about the girls at that stage and laughed and cried and was like... oh my gosh, how could I forget these things already?! And WHAT ARE THE THINGS THAT I DON'T REMEMBER? to which I had a mini panic attack at the thought of me not remembering EVERY LITTLE DETAIL... So here I am. Tired from potty training bootcamp... and I'm making a list of the things that I want to remember. 

It's not gonna be a fancy well written blog post bc I aint got time for that. But if I never jot these things down, I'll regret it later. So here we go...

Noel 2 years 10 months:

  • You are joyful and goofy. You just learned that you are funny and can make us laugh... and you totally use that to your benefit. Keep up the good work. You've gotten out of many spankings that way. 
  • You have a way with words and sentences. Both you and your sister were a little slow to the speaking game and y'all talked in your twin language as long as you possibly could... but you my little one started figuring out syntax and word structure quite quickly once you got started. We DIE laughing at the things you say. Our favorite of your phrases right now is your "I like..." series. We never taught you how to say "I like," but one day out of no where you said, "I yike chocyate," (which is very true) and then you started saying that for everything you see. So now, usually at least once a day you tell me that you "yike candy/cookies/cake/table/games/the y/Daddy/Chikayay (Chick Fil A)/baths/Kiki/Grammy/Papaw/GDaddy/Sissy" and whatever other random food or object that you can currently see. It's the best. The other day, a friend's mom brought in chocolate tomatoes (who know those were a thing? not me!), and she turned and asked you, "Do you like tomatoes?" And you promptly replied, "No, I yike chocolate." Touché my little one. Well played. 
  • You wink and raise your eyebrows to make us laugh... you especially like to do this to Uncle Dub. 
  • You like to kiss boo boo's. 
  • You still sleep with Po (hippo), but you're not quite as attached to him as you used to be. 
  • You are very independent and like to make your own decisions, but it takes you FOREVER to do so. Ie. You have strong opinions on WHAT color of popsicle you want, but you stand there FOREVER trying to decide and if I interrupt that process and just give you one, or coax you towards a color... glory heaven help me. Your independent and stubborn streak flares, because bless it, nobody puts this toddler in a corner. 
  • Speaking of colors, you know your colors, how to count to 10, and your ABC's. Of course, you frequently intermingle the ABC's and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star when singing them... "ABCDEFG, How I wonder what you are..." It's another fav of mine. 
  • And on the lines of singing... you LOVE to sing, and we LOVE to hear you sing. And surprisingly you and your sister have really good pitch for 2 year olds.
  • You're still the laid back one. But don't get too proud, you still have a feisty streak and can throw a mean temper tantrum. Your fuse is just longer, UNLESS you don't get your sleep... and then bless it... bless us all. You need your sleep or we ALL pay. 
  • You've stopped saying "Papi" and now say "Paci." You also usually don't call me "Baba" anymore and either call me "mama" or "Maba." Which... is entirely your dad's fault because he's been working with you on saying things correctly when I'm not looking. 
  • You LOVE people and aren't afraid of strangers AT ALL. You'll wave and talk to just about anyone at the grocery store. You especially love your sister. That makes me OH SO HAPPY to hear you ask for "Wisity."
  • You're very expressive. 

Felicity Hope 2 years 10 months

  • You are curious and sweet spirited. You are our little engineer wanting to know how everything works and what goes where. You love to figure stuff out and are SO proud when you accomplish a task. I can see it now, you will be the one most likely to color coordinate your school notes and have a planner... It's pretty adorable. 
  • Like I mentioned above, you're sweet spirited and it melts our hearts. You love to snuggle at night and if I'm not giving you enough attention you come up and put both hands on my face and turn my face towards yours and gently say, "Baba look" and smile.
  • You still say "papi" and "Baba" and I love you for it. Hold on to that baby talk as long as you'd like... (unless we get to middle school and you still have a papi... then we'll have other issues to resolve... but you get the idea). 
  •  You still sleep with doggy, but mainly because I keep putting him back in your bed at night (I have issues... i know). You go through phases when you want him, but right now, you like him but aren't too attached. 
  • But you know what you are REALLY attached to? Papis. We tried to take them all away and after 2 days of constant screaming... we finally caved and gave you back one. I mean you screamed for HOURS and wouldn't sleep. It was really quite impressive. I've read a ton of things on toddlers sleeping and almost all of it says that eventually you'll cry yourself to sleep. Nope. You proved them all wrong. On night #2 after HOURS of screaming (I think we were pushing hour #4...) we shoved a papi in your mouth and your eyes closed instantly. I wanted to scream and kiss you all at the same time. 
  • Speaking of tenacity. You are a fiery little one. Both of you were born red headed, but y'all quickly turned blonde. Yet I'm pretty sure that fiery red head is still in you. You have spunk, and sass, and when you set your mind to something, you're going to see it through. And as a result, you can throw some pretty legit temper tantrums, but in time that passion and tenacity will serve you well if you learn how to control and outlet it correctly. 
  • You're strong baby girl. You will move mountains. 
  • You are tender hearted and also love to kiss boo boo's. 
  • You love to clean and organize things. 
  • You love Mr. Hanks, a lot. Like a whole bunch. You love to give him treats and climb on him and pull his tail and roll around on him and hug him and feed him and... you get the idea. You like him a lot... and he's really good to you too. 
  • You're hesitant to people in the store, but you warm up quickly. Usually with people at the grocery store, you watch and observe them for a few seconds before you start talking to them. You're outgoing, but you usually have to assess the situation first before you just jump in. It's actually really fascinating to watch because you'll watch Noel, and sometimes you'll go along with her, but then other times you assess the situation and are like... nope. Not for me. Not gonna do that. And other times you're all in. I wouldn't classify the hesitancy as fear, rather it's more of an assessment. It'll be interesting to see this part of your personality develop. 
  • You love your friends big. You ask for "Hawee" (Holly) and for the grandparents often. I love that about you and Noel both. You also love your sister so well. When you ask for a cookie or snack, you almost always ask for two so you can give one to sissy. I can't tell you much my heart explodes whenever you do that. 
  • You love car rides and Target, and almost EVERY MORNING you say, "Baba, caw wide? Tawget?" Yes baby yes. Almost always... yes. 
  • You just discovered Mickey Mouse and are borderline obsessed. I'm not mad about it. 

You both are such a joy. People ask me all the time if I have a favorite... which COME ON PEOPLE... dumbest question ever (and we get a lot of dumb q's about having twins). And I always answer the same... Of course I do. But it changes every day and USUALLY the deciding factor is who is screaming less and let me sleep the longest. And that changes daily. So just for the record I love you both a lot and equally and... I like you both a lot and equally too. I absolutely LOVE that I can see clearly how God has gifted both of you uniquely and how He formed you both as twins, but individuals. He's given you a gift in each other, but I love that He has given you each different giftings to bless each other and the people around you. 

You won't remember these days, but I want to. I want to remember everything (thus the post). But I pray that what you do remember is the feeling that you have always been loved, adored, and cared for. You have two parents who think the world about you, who pray for you, who kiss your boo boo's and light up at your smile. And you have one parent who has serious issues and boohoos at milestones, and a sane parent who has to find the crazy parent ugly crying while digging out the papis out of the trash can and putting them in a keepsake box. Lucky for you... you have at least one normal parent. I apologize in advance for how my BIG LOVE for you will embarrass the snot out of you when your teenagers. But for real... you're loved oh so much.

XoXo,