My ladybug has officially completed her tenth trip around the sun, and I’m feeling both happy and incredibly sad. Enter the cliche that time moves much too fast when you’re a parent and all of that stuff. It’s said so much because it’s true, but you still aren’t prepared for the force in which the statement smacks you in the face.
My first daughter is now a card carrying, double digit holding, member of the decade club. She’s 10. I’ve been the parent of a little girl for 10 whole years, and we didn’t die.
Wrapped up in this person is empathy that I’ve never been able to have. I don’t think that I had the privilege to do so at 10. I mean, I wasn’t cutthroat (I don’t think) but I was often the butt of jokes and the last person spoken to while in school simply because of how I was born. It didn’t matter that I was intelligent, or that I belonged where I was. So I decided early in life to cut folks off at the knees and deal with circumstances later.
Not her. She cries with you. Laughs with you – not at you, unless you want her to, and she finds ways to help you out of situations that you may be in, even if you’re at fault. I strive to have her sense of compassion, and her ability to always see the good in people, even if they don’t deserve it. She’s always up for a game of anything dramatic, and her video skills far outweigh her mother’s.
We switched up our parenting styles with our children. We don’t react as much as our parents may have when we were younger (no condemnation y’all – they did their best) and we let our kids be kids longer. I don’t WANT the ladybug babysitting the twins because she HAS to and I have to be out of the house to earn money to keep us afloat. I want the ladybug to have self-esteem so strong even the meanest of schoolyard bullies can’t penetrate it. I want a smile to stay on her face forever, and I want her to be as empathetic as she is now, so that she can change the world.
Now, we don’t reward her just for being. I’m still old school that way. There are no participation trophies, or acknowledgement for being a good human. That’s your responsibility for walking this Earth. We DO however encourage exploration, questions, and hard work. She’s learning that everything doesn’t come easily, and that if you want it, you have to work for it. In her short time here in my charge, she’s shown me what perseverance looks like, and what heartbreak does when supported properly. We give her room to grieve, but push when necessary, and in turn she gives her best, and walks a bit higher because of it.
A couple of months back, I noticed that she and her sister would always come to me with their heads down. Something I noticed their brothers weren’t doing. It caught me off guard. So we’ve been working on the hold your head high mantra, and so far, so good. As you can see, this kid is holding her head high, and going places!
Happy Birthday to my sweet daughter. May the Lord richly bless you, and may you continue to soar.