10 Wishes for my Daughter

Dear Daughter,

There are so many hopes and dreams I have for you tucked away inside my heart.

I know I don’t tell you these things, but I hope one day you’ll understand just how much of your mama’s thoughts and prayers were invested in your life as you grew.

Watching you grow is both terrifying and beautiful.

I love seeing you come into your own, even while I stand gasping for air at the edge of our nest.

I would give you the world if I could,

but because I can’t these are…

My 10 Wishes for You

  1. I wish for you to always feel beautiful in the eyes of those you love most.  I mean the kind of beauty that makes you glow inside and that lights up your eyes with happiness.
  2. I wish for you to learn the power of saying no.  Your heart bends toward nurturing and serving and pleasing those around you.  It is breathtakingly beautiful…but it can also be your curse.  Learn to say no to the things not meant for your story.
  3. I wish for courage when your heart is breaking; strength to stand up again and dust yourself off.  Life will break your heart sometimes, Babe.  The hardest part is choosing to believe that those painful moments are meant to build character, perseverance, hope and beauty inside of you.
  4. I wish for kindness and gentleness to reign in your heart, and that you would hold fast to those qualities.  The world would love for you to believe that you need to fight hard and conquer it all…but kindness and gentleness are the fruits that will grow peace inside yourself and teach you wisdom.
  5. I wish for you to have at least one friend who you can always be yourself with.  Someone you don’t need to filter your words with or try to impress.  Someone you can be honest with, and someone who will give you honesty in return.
  6. I wish for you to find love.  A soul mate.  A man who will carry your heart gently in his all the days of his life and love you unconditionally.  A love that will teach you to understand the height and breadth and length and depth of your Father’s love for you.
  7. I wish for you to enjoy your own company, and not be afraid of solitude and quietness.  Loving yourself is the first step toward loving those around you well.  It’s in those quiet moments of rest that you will hear the Spirit’s soft whispers in your heart.
  8. I wish for confidence to follow your dreams, pursue your passions and be yourself.  You are enough and those passions and dreams were placed lovingly inside of you by your Creator.  Little glimpses of Himself in you.
  9. I wish for people to love you as much as I love you…the real you, with no conditions attached.  You are enough, sweet girl.
  10. I wish for you to find your purpose and peace in the knowledge of your weaknesses.  The world would love for you to divide your soul in a thousand pieces and places trying to do it all, have it all, be it all.  I wish for you to find rest in the God breathed purposes your Designer entrusts to you and know you are doing what matters.

I hope you know I will always be here for you.

I will not always understand and sometimes I will hurt you in my attempts to love you.

But know that I will always be so proud of you and nothing you do could ever make me stop loving you.

Love,

Mom

-AF

This One’s for the Moms

Parenting is hard work.

Nobody is perfect but somehow we still expect perfection, especially from ourselves.

It doesn’t help that we have access to so much information.

Every day we as moms are bombarded with hundreds of messages of what we should and shouldn’t be doing, wearing, saying and eating.

Sometimes I feel like no matter what I do, it’s never enough.

How do I know if I’m doing this well?

What are the most important things?

Am I getting it right?

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But God gave those children to you for a reason, Mama.

The best parenting moments often happen when we are confidently parenting in the ways that we instinctively know are best for us and our children.

Here are a collection of some things I have told myself and other moms.

Because we could all use some grace.

***

Dear Moms,

Your child will not die if they eat Kraft Dinner tonight…or three times this week.

Your integrity as a person does not depend on the cleanliness of your home.

It is ok not to breastfeed your baby.

Not all immunizations are good and not all are bad.  It’s ok to make your own choices and its ok to just follow the immunization schedule your doctor suggests.

Colds and flus happen and there is very little you can do to stop them.  They will run their course and be over soon.

Some of the best days happen in pajamas with unwashed faces, bare feet and dirty floors.

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Having devotions every day is not always possible when you are a mom.  You are not going to hell for being busy caring for the little people He entrusted to you.

Sometimes your child will be the bully and other mothers will misunderstand you and yours.  Take it as an opportunity to develop character in yourself and your child…and remember in detail all the times you were mean to others as a kid.

Most children do not enjoy church.  This doesn’t mean they will never be Believers, it just means they’re regular children.

Sleeping through the night for babies, toddlers and mothers is a myth.  Few nights will go by that both you and all your children will sleep for 8 hours with no interruptions.  Lower your expectations and you will all be happier.

Sometimes bribes are the perfect solution.

Don’t turn everything into a lesson.

Babies cannot be spoiled by being held…but it’s also ok to put them down so you can take a shower.

You don’t always have to give a reason other than “Because I’m the mom.”

Co-sleeping can be wonderful…or terrible.  It really is YOUR choice.

Follow your instincts…but don’t expect to be a super-human.  You never did or will know everything about everything.  Sometimes it’s better to call the Doctor.

Pretending you did not hear or see something is a coping mechanism every parent will use sometimes.  Stay sane!

Siblings will fight, and sometimes they will hurt each other.  This is normal.

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Every parent does hundreds of things they will later regret.  Say sorry, do what you can to resolve the situation and then move on.

When the dentist says your child has cavities it does not necessarily mean that you are not brushing your child’s teeth well enough or often enough.  Also, no one expects you to have time to brush and floss three kids’ teeth for them every morning and night.

Living off the grid and growing your own food is probably not a good option for most of you.

Whichever way you choose to educate your child has worked for hundreds of other children on the planet.

DIY sometimes just means that it looks like you did it yourself.  Don’t let Pinterest fool you!

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Love really does cover a multitude of sins.

The TV is a good babysitter and its ok to use it some days.  If it provides you with the breather you need then it is probably worth it.

Children under 5 rarely handle social situations well.  They hit, they bite, they scream and they grab.  This is perfectly normal.

Sometimes you need to put your own needs ahead of your children’s and practise some self care.  Don’t be a martyr.

No matter how hard you try, there will be some things you do badly.

It’s okay if you’re aiming for just OK.

Life is not fair, and your kids should know that.

Children love time with you.  It doesn’t always have to be quality, it doesn’t always have to be quantity.  Both have value and significance.

Your kids will not always be happy and they will not always like you.  That doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong.

It’s ok to say no.  It’s also ok to say yes sometimes.

Adolescents will be grumpy a lot.

You will not enjoy your children, or parenting, all the time.

God loves to fill in the gaps that we miss as parents with His perfect, extravagant, more than enough love.

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Keep your chin up and your smile on.

You.

Are.

Doing

Great.

With Love and Grace,

Another Imperfect Mom

~AF

*Photography credits to Unfrozen Photography

 

 

Don’t Grow Up So Fast

I am transitioning into a new phase and it’s taking the wind right out of me at times!

My daughters are now 9 and almost 7…and they are growing up so fast.

Last September I was walking my girls down the hill to school every day and watching until the last possible second as they would go inside with their classes.  If I turned my back too quickly my oldest daughter would have a meltdown, crying and screaming at the sight of me walking away.  She was terrified I was leaving her forever.  I will never forget the hard knot in my chest having to walk away as she screamed and cried, trying to run after me down the sidewalk.  It was one the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.  My littlest A didn’t struggle with anxiety over me leaving, but her little soul was still struggling furiously to figure out what had happened to the safe little life she’d loved so well.  We had a long year full of discouraging ups and downs, never being quite sure what was going on inside her little mind.  Daily check ins with an incredible teacher were my lifesaver.  I needed to know what was going on in her world so I could figure out what was going on in her heart.  It tore me apart watching her struggle and feeling like I had no idea what to do!

This September, we are walking triple the distance to a brand new school that all the kids from two old schools in town have moved to.  The old school just down the street is sitting vacant and quiet, and it takes a lot more work for me to wander by my daughters’ school at recess time just to make sure they’re ok.  As if the distance alone isn’t enough to discourage me, the load I’m carrying on my feet these days is substantially more as well!  At 8 months pregnant, walking is getting less and less appealing.

So this August, as the first day of school approached, I was in a pickle.

Last year I spent tons of time at school; volunteering, checking in, bringing whatever it was that had been forgotten.  Barely a day went by when I wasn’t in the school for some reason or another, and it was reassuring to be able to check in on my daughters while I was there, even if they didn’t see me.  With only a bit over a month to go until Baby arrives, I knew that this year was going to look very different than last!  All summer I heard murmurs about bussing schedules and numbers to call to check if your kids were eligible for the bus.  I, however, pushed them aside and firmly stuck to my guns.  We would walk or bike or drive.  I didn’t want to lose that daily connection and I couldn’t quite fathom sending my kids off on the bus every morning and very possibly never walking into the school yard at all for weeks at a time!  On top of that, we weren’t able to find out who my kids’ teachers would be until the first day of school.  I tried to stuff down the worry, but I was concerned.

A week before school started, I got a call from the board of transportation, letting me know my daughters were eligible for bussing and that Bus #534 would be stopping at the bottom of Logan’s Lane every morning at 8:15.

I kept this news to myself, knowing in my gut what both my daughters and my husband would say if I were to bring it up.  Until this point I had not known for sure if we were far enough away to be eligible for transportation.  Now I knew and the picture suddenly seemed pretty clear.

By mid October I would have a newborn, and shortly after that the weather would turn cold.  Snow would bog up the sidewalks and I would be leaving the house twice a day with an infant to pick up the girls in the van.  This would mean lugging a car seat in and out of the house twice a day, leaving the house on time and still only really gaining a peek at the school, not connection with the teachers.

Or…

We could enjoy the nice weather while it lasted, walking and biking, and have a short walk down the hill to the bus stop all winter long while the snow and cold took over.  Baby could stay snug and warm inside as the girls walked up and down the street to the bus twice a day.  No car seat hauling, baby bundling, or interrupted naps…unless I felt up to it.

Sigh.

But oh I fought it.

When I finally admitted to my husband the call I’d received he laughed out loud and said with no room for discussion the girls would indeed be taking the bus all winter and that I had better get them on it ASAP so they know how to use it when Baby comes on the scene!

The girls were thrilled!  They loved the idea of using the bus and immediately wanted to try it out!

So that is how I found myself watching them climb onto that big yellow bus on the second day of school…the first I insisted on walking them!  Big smiles, calling “I love you”, all excitement and confidence.  Since then they’ve gone on the bus a handful of times, though I’ve encouraged that we enjoy this beautiful weather and walk or bike most days.  I need the exercise even if they don’t, and even though they enjoy their independence they do love having me there, too.

Since my ever-growing weed of a 9 year old is a pretty fast biker, I’ve even cut the apron strings and let her go ahead of us all the way to school!  There are two small, quiet streets to cross alone and then one busy one that has a crossing guard.  It nearly made my Mommy heart panic the first time she sailed off out of sight alone, but I also knew in my heart that she was completely capable and I needed to let go!

What amazes me every single day is the huge difference I see from last September, and every day I go away absolutely in awe, praising God for what He’s done for us.  It’s incredible!

Akeisha is thriving on her newfound independence and wants to bike to school alone every day!  Her confidence and enthusiasm makes me so proud.  She is so not my little girl anymore.  In her words, “Mommy, I feel like I’m growing up so fast!”  She truly has grown and matured so much in the last year and the security she feels now has given her wings to soar!  It is beautiful watching her thrive.  I know she is going to love being a big sister to our newest little addition, and I am enjoying watching her grow up even if it tears at my heart some days.  Happiness looks gorgeous on you, my girl!  You have no idea how my breath has caught in my throat these past few weeks as I watch you take on the world with all the confidence and grace you possess.  I will always be cheering you on, and I’m trying hard to keep up to you!  I’ll try to give you the wings you need to fly!

Since Akeisha wants to bike, Alexa sometimes goes on the bus all by herself, which makes her feel about 10 feet tall!  I have to admit I am holding on to her for dear life seeing Akeisha take flight from my little nest!  It’s nice to still have someone who wants me to be there with her, and she readily admits she needs Mommy to be there at the bus stop morning and night.  I love seeing her happy little face beaming at me through the window and waving furiously as the bus pulls away.  Admittedly this is enough to bring a few tears some mornings, which we will definitely blame on pregnancy hormones 🙂  On our walks I revel in those moments when she takes my hand in her little one and squeezes our code: 3 squeezes for “I love you.”  Then I look down and she’s looking up at me with those big blue eyes so innocent and vulnerable and my heart skips a beat.  She is so happy these days, and even though life and especially school will never be bump free for Alexa, I love seeing her so happy.  For 15 min all the way to school and 15 min home she chatters non stop to me and I just keep thinking that too soon it will end.  Too soon she won’t want to hold my hand or squeeze me so tight it hurts.  Too soon the chatter will change and knowledge will take over that sweet innocence she carries.  Maybe when it comes I’ll be ready, but for now I am so in love with my little girl.

Both girls are learning how to help pack their lunches, bike and play out on the street without me there watching and sign out books at the library all by themselves.

The first year of adoption we cling so tight, struggling to learn how to be a family and that we belong to each other.  Now in this second year, I see it is changing so much.  They are so much more settled.  They’re ready to grow a bit.

Life looks pretty bright these days.

We are so excited to meet our baby and become 5.  My nesting instincts have kicked in and I am trying to prepare as much as possible on the limited energy I have.

We are so blessed.

My heart feels full and overflowing with gratitude for the grace God has shown to us this past year.  Only He could have accomplished this.  There is nowhere else I’d rather be than here.  Part of me wishes we could just freeze this moment in time.

My girls laugh when I sing this song to them, but it’s one of my favourites these days.

Don’t Grow Up So Fast

You want it all right now, let’s hurry up and wait
Girl, you’re right on time, trust me, you’re not too late
I hate to see you rain, those mascara tears
But you can drown in the water beyond your yearsJust don’t grow up so fast
You don’t want to know what I know yet
Maybe on paper it looks better way up here
Don’t you hurry, try to take it slow
You will get there before you know it
Ain’t just the bad times, the good times too shall pass
So don’t grow up so fast

The world will turn, shadows fall
There’s your pencil marks in the corner on the kitchen wall
Yeah, to remind us all

Just don’t grow up so fast
You don’t want to know what I know yet
Maybe on paper it looks better way up here
Don’t you hurry, try to take it slow
You will get there before you know it
Ain’t just the bad times, the good times too shall pass
So don’t grow up so fast, ooh

Just don’t grow up so fast
You don’t want to know what I know yet
Maybe on paper it looks better way up here
Don’t you hurry, try to take it slow
We all get there before you know it
Ain’t just the bad times, the good times too shall pass
There’s only so much sand in the hour glass
So don’t grow up so fast, ooh