Sunday, August 27, 2006

The beginning of a new era


This weekend I quietly changed my profile. I am now not just the mother of five "from toddler to tween." Now I'm the mother of toddler to TEEN.

That's right, our oldest daughter turned 13 last week.

This is the child that came out at birth with her hands in tight fists and announced to me, “WAH.” This, of course, meant, “Buckle your seatbelt. I am going to challenge you on everything.” It all started with her utter refusal to nap as a baby, was made dramatic when she acquired the vocabulary of a trial attorney at age two, and continues to this day when she dares to ask tough questions on moral and theological issues as a teen. She is athletic and funny. This girl was born to lead.

Through it all, I am so glad she is who she is. This child has sharpened me in a way I could never have imagined. She’s made me think about the “why” of things I take for granted.

In between the challenges, every now and then I get to see little glimmers of the woman she is becoming. I see it when she’s taking care of her two-year-old sister. She is completely devoted to her, dependable and responsible. I see it when she hugs me in front of her friends or kisses me goodbye in the carpool lane. I see it when she occasionally asks forgiveness, without any prompting. I see it when I’ve held my ground on something (the topic is usually irrelevant). After a time, she eventually comes around. We laugh and hug and she tells me, “Hey! We didn’t kill each other!”

My husband took her out for her first date last night. I mean a real date - suit, nice dress, the works - to a fancy restaurant. He even got the car completely cleaned out (and found that debit card I lost last year!), washed and waxed. After a small family party with a few presents here, they got dressed up (so glad she got another wearing out of that dress!), he opened her door for her, and off they went. While they were out, and he was treating her like a true lady, he gave her a True Love Waits ring.

I'm still not quite sure what to think about being the mom of a teenager. In many ways, she seems so much more grown up than I was at that age. And yet she's still my little girl. I lived in dread of this time when the kids were little -- I guess that fear of the unknown -- but now that I'm in the thick of it, I'm enjoying her so much (that is, when the sparks are not flying between us!) I find myself wanting to hold onto this special time.

All I know is that this is one precious girl.

I’m hopeful.

14 comments:

Wendy said...

That sounds like a great first date! I love that your husband does that. I also love the idea of the TRUE LOVE WAITS ring. We plan to do that too. What wonderful parents she has!

Beck said...

What a beautiful 13th birthday idea. I think that the kids who are going to be horrors as teenagers are easy to forcast - good kids stay good kids. Even good kids sometimes sharpen their claws on their moms occasionally, but so do 2 year olds! Your daughter sounds like a lovely young woman and someone you should feel truly proud of.

Sabrina said...

How inspiring! Thanks for sharing this!

MicheleinNZ said...

Please tell your daughter that one of your readers wants to really encourage her to treasure that ring. I was one of the first cohort to go through the True Love Waits programme back in 1990 (I think) and when I got married in 1999 (at age 22) I remember thinking -whew! I made it. Only by God's grace. I am encouraged to know that it is possible to raise daughters that are different from crowd. Well done.

Heather said...

Your eldest is only a year younger than my youngest brother. (Of course I was 18 when he was born so I do more mom type stuff with him than sister stuff.) Have you all read "The Princess and the Kiss" yet? My girls and I love it.

She looks like a lovely young lady, happy borthday to her, and "good job, Mom" to you. It sounds like you are doing well with her and the Lord is blessing it.

Susanne said...

Welcome to the land of teenagerhood parenting! Happy Birthday to your daughter!

Christine said...

What a wonderful daddy-daughter time. I'm sure she felt incredibly special. Now she knows how a real man should treat her! Way to go and happy birthday to your young lady!

Lauren said...

I love that your husband took her out on date. I've always thought that would be a great way to show your daughter how a man should treat her. Happy Birthday to your daughter.

GranolaGirl12 said...

I'm wiping away tears, Katherine. What a beautiful tribute to your oldest daughter.

voni said...

What a great dad to take his daughter out! What a blessing to see your daughter growing in chariture. She sounds like one amazing young lady.
Happy 13th!

Jen said...

What a great tribute to your oldest. How blessed you are.
Jen

org junkie said...

Hi Katherine, happy birthday to your daughter. I've never heard of a True Love Waits ring. Could you explain. Is it any kind of ring you attach the message to or a special ring? I'm intrigued. Laura

Jennifer said...

What a sweet tribute. I think and pray that I will still be enjoying my daughter when she's 13 and up. It can be hard, but when they have a good head on their shoulders, as yours seems to, they will come around to our way. I just pray that I can parent in such a way that she will allow herself to see it.

You've got me thinking here--can you tell?

Paulette said...

My husband did this with our daughter at 14 as well. It was such a rich memory for her. She is 21 now and never removes the ring. She still is not seriously dating yet is always reminded of her comittment to true love waits and she has. Our son just turned 16 and I took him out for a date and ring as his father left our home and I am now on my own. Caleb said he would always honor his comittment even though his father is out of the Lords will. I am grateful for this Godly tool.