Thursday, January 02, 2014

To Teenage Girls Who Belong to Me

 I have dozens of pics on my phone of Bryn and Madi being funny

sometimes they let me be in the pics...

Dear Bryn and Madi,

When I was growing up I wanted to be an awesome mom. Being a teenager was hard, even for me, and I thought I would be one of those moms who was adored by her teenage daughters because she would UNDERSTAND them.

When you were little you used to hug on my legs and tell me you wanted to be a mom when you grew up. I told you how much I love you. I loved being adored by you. I felt such a great responsibility to show you what it means to be a great person, a good woman and an awesome mom.

So I guarded you from music with lyrics that taught you things you weren't old enough to know about. And I set a standard that when school was in the TV was off…I tried to make you healthy meals and pack healthy lunches so you wouldn't develop cravings for foods that would steal your health and rob you of the active life I wished for you. I read to you, I read story after story with moral lessons to help you see that as you grow older you will have to stand up for yourself and your beliefs. We read scriptures, said nightly prayers and I tried and tried to be there when you needed me.

There have been times as you've grown that you have had to be there for me. You've tended your younger sisters and brother, learned how to clean a house and even have taken over packing your own lunches. You've stepped in where I could not, and helped those smaller than you so I could help them (and you) in other ways.

I appreciate all you have done, and all you continue to do to give back to the way our family runs.

A month or so ago you each gave a talk in church. You mentioned your family and your parents. Dad and I were so surprised to hear your words of support for the feeling we are trying to create and the things we are trying to teach in our family. I was so touched. Thank you for publicly stating that you see some good in our efforts and philosophy about what it means to raise a family in the world we live in today.

Its a muddled time for us; for you as the daughters and me as the mom. I watch as you close yourselves to my affection.not only do you not hug on my legs any more, but you push away hugs I try to give you. I see the rolled eyes when I ask you to do those things you know you need to but just don't want to do. You tell me in many ways that you are ready for me to step back and watch you go - and you communicate in so many ways that when you go and go my job is not to coach nor is it to critique, its to support and smile and let you do your own thing. And when life hits you with one lesson or another, and especially when those lessons are hard to learn and humbling to experience I need to hug and hold but never EVER add to the lesson that's going on within your own head. 

Its muddled right now because I so deeply desire to impress upon you how much your examples LEAD the ATTITUDES of the children who come so quickly after you. Your 'I don't want to' or 'why do we have to?' attitude rubs off like slick black oil onto young minds and hearts, making it hard for the 'can do' attitude you used to have to stick to their little minds. I need you to continue to be the help you've been but not so much in holding little ones or changing diapers like in years past, now I need a 'yes mom' and an 'ok' when its time to clean up or come to scriptures…I just need a willing attitude; more now than I think I ever needed a willing dish washer or babysitter. You have more influence in our home than you could ever know. The music you blast now, the shows you sneak during the school week and the outfits you put together in front of the mirror scream a message louder than the books I read to the little ones or the tunes I play while driving them to school. The way you approach your snacks and lunch making scream messages to those little ones who make their lunches after you and carry them off to the elementary school.

So often I'm proud of the things you are saying with your attitudes and choices, I just don't think you realize how loudly you are saying them and to who. 

As time goes on you'll continue to grow. You'll become amazing women and someday amazing mothers. And, in the jolt of a moment as you walk from being a kid into being an adult, things won't be so muddled for us any more. You'll 'get me' and I'll 'get you' because we will have not given up on each other. We will all emerge from these teen years and love one another better and know one another more. 

Thanks for being patient with me. I hope I'm being patient with you. Even more, I hope you know that I'm not giving up on my greatest desire; to be a great mom to you. I'll continue to guard your music, blare out our standards and tow the line when it comes to our beliefs because I know it matters. Because I love you fiercely I'll fiercely defend what I know is right, and I'll expect you to understand and respect it. Because I'm devoted to you I'll stay devoted to good books, good music and good media. Because you matter so much to me, not just as a teen but as an adult too, I'll be sure that you know our first priority is that you be honest good citizens and that you know and can chose for yourselves to follow the beliefs we know to be true. Because I adore you I'll try so hard to have fun with you, even though it sometimes embarrasses you. 

I'm so glad you belong to me. I'm so glad for all I'm learning from you and all I see happening in your amazing lives. I'm so thankful every single day that I get to be your mom. You mean everything to me. I promise I am giving everything I am and everything I have through these muddled teenage years with you - 

with all my love,

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