Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Measure of a Momma

I used to say that if I was guaranteed only boys, I would happily have a football team and drive a 15 passenger van - and then I had her. This tiny and terrifying bundle of sweetness who decided to enter this world on the one day of the year I swore I would never have a baby.  She is fierce and funny, sweet and (sometimes) sassy, a dreamer and a daddy's girl and all she wants to be is just like me.  I have never known this kind of pressure and it frightens me.

As a woman who has struggled most of her life with confidence and self-esteem - who can't quite reconcile the Truth of who she is and who she was made to be with what she sees in the mirror, I feel completely inadequate to lead my daughter through this tough & twisted maze of life into womanhood.  I understand the enormity of the task and in so many ways all I really want to do is shrink away from the responsibility. As I have done in so many other areas of my life, I feel convinced that I am unqualified for the task ahead and it is all too easy to believe the lie that I am not enough. Not good enough, smart enough, patient enough, organized enough, thin enough - as if the size of my jeans has any bearing whatsoever on my ability as a mother - and yet I can believe it does.  Given enough time, and without proper evaluation, all lies can start to look like truth.

Here's the thing that strikes me though - the one thing my daughter hears most often (only second to comments about her ridiculous amount of hair) is how much she looks like me.  It makes her beam and it makes me cringe.  When I hear that my instinctual thought is, "Don't tell her that - tell her she's beautiful".  When I look at her I see freedom, joy, beauty and light - not things I typically associate with my own reflection...but God is using her to change me.  Through her, I am learning to seek out the good and give myself Grace for the rest.  I want her to grow into all the things I was never brave enough to be and she can't very well do that if in one ear she hears how much she is just like me and in the other ear she hears me tearing myself down.

I want her to try new things. I want her to fail and get back up, to forgive and be forgiven.  I want her to know that being kind is more important than being pretty because a gentle heart is the best kind of beautiful there is. I want her to know that God has a plan for her and that I will do my best to help her live it.  I want her to know that I am not perfect and she won't be either - and that's ok.  I want her to know her worth has nothing to do with her dress size or bust size or public opinion.  I want her to know that we are both loved by an awe-inspiring God who created us to be exactly what we are.

And so, He is teaching me first - and He is using her.  This wild-haired, starry-eyed, beautiful baby girl of mine has wrecked my world in the best way possible.  She will break my heart and cause me to cry out for His.  Through her, I am learning how to be a better me, not a perfect one.  And I am so glad God cared more about what I needed than what I wanted, because I would have missed out on the blessing of being her Momma.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Summer Is Not For Every Mom

So yeah, summers here and the craziness has begun - am I the only one who dreads this season? Maybe dread is too strong a word, but's a struggle.  Everyone around me is waxing poetic about how great their summer break is going to be and how they are so excited for lounging around the pool, lazing the days away and I feel like I can't breathe at the thought of it all.  I am a routine-loving, schedule-keeping, task-doing momma and summer is just NOT the season for that type of ambition.  Add in the fact that I melt at any temperature above 80* and we have a recipe for (potential) disaster. 

I'm not sure how exactly, but every year summer break sneaks up on me. Maybe it's because it's sandwiched between graduations, weddings, lamb show and Memorial Day campouts but it seems like we're cruising through our school day routine - and one day BAM! it's the last day of school and we all lose our minds. Figuratively, of course :)

Here's the thing - I really want to enjoy summer.  I dream of days at the local pool, trips to the library or Wildlife Safari, hiking the falls, swimming at the river, visiting the local produce farms, camping and on & on.  I have visions of TV free days spent playing outside, riding bikes, reading books in the hammock and sitting around the fire pit at night....and perfectly behaved lovely kids with clean faces, matching shoes and no fighting. YEAH RIGHT.

I did say I was dreaming.  I guess for me, the thing that's hardest about summer is, I gotta let go of the expectations and just make the effort anyway, because honestly - I am the only one that will remember the fights or the messy house in the rearview.  My kids will love knowing their crazy, tight-wound, type A momma made an effort to enjoy them for the few months of summer break.

So here's to all the other summer-loathing moms out there!  Throw away your list, ignore the laundry and grab an ice cream - it's gonna be a wild ride.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

If You Really Want To Be Rad {Like B-RAD}

This week has been hard.  I get so emotional thinking about the fact that you have just graduated high school - knowing all that we have seen you through over the years and it becomes hard for me to properly express everything I want to say.  I tried to write it in a card, tell you in a hug and let you know with a smile, but this is the only place that ever feels right. 

First, let me say I am so proud of you. It seems that's all I can really get out these days and I know you have heard it 1,000,000 times but it is true. You have made us all so proud!

I am a bit excited and nervous and anxious all at the same time to see what is coming next for you - and if I am being honest, a bit afraid. My heart breaks for all the heart breaks that I know this life can give. 

Weston was right when he said the next 10 years of your life are the most important. So many big decisions will be made in the coming years and all I really want is for you to have all that you really want.  But that's a tricky thing. Some of the biggest scars I bear came from the things I wanted most - or thought I wanted. It can be so hard to know at times.  And very often, the things we want most are the very things we should be running from. I think that's why God gave us family and community - to help us know the difference.

So here's the thing, I only want what is best for you and I will always be honest with you. Sometimes that will be hard...for both of us.  I know as a human and fellow finding-my-own-way-through-this-crazy-life adult you will not always (or ever) agree with me. I by no means expect you to heed every bit of advice or agree with every opinion of mine but I will share it anyway because I love you and that's what we do for people we love.  

There are so many things that have made you the "RAD" guy you are today - you are compassionate, genuine, loving and loyal. You pursue excellence with humility and grace. You are faithful, fiercely protective of those you love and (almost) fearless - {cause you know...needles} You are the kind of man this world needs more of.  I am invested in you and passionate for you to live the life you desire.

I am so thankful for you in my life & for all the championship moments I have been able to share with you so far.  I look forward to all the ones to come. Thank you for being a steadfast example and living an honorable life. I pray that God would continue to guide you and bless you with every good thing.

 Love, Ashley