Thursday, January 17, 2013


 I've been told I'm a writer, I've even gone so far as to call myself one. But I'm not sure. I know I write. I know I like to write. I know writing is like breathing to me. I know writing saves me. I know I can't imagine a day going by without writing.

I am especially not sure today, if I am a writer, because I am almost lost for words. I have a baby girl turning 18 today! Needless to say, it's been an emotional month leading up to it, and a very emotional couple days reflecting on it.

It's not that I'm exactly speechless, how could I be? It's just that I have so much to say that I can't seem to find the right words to get it all out. It's stressful people, stressful!!!

I think of all her "firsts". First words, first time sitting up, first time walking. First time she went off to Pre-K, first time she road her bike without the training wheels. First time she got teased. First time she got super sick where it scared me. The first time she read, or wrote her name. The first time she created on her own. The first time I saw her care for another human being. The first time a friend abandoned her. The first time she decided to live for God. The first time she liked a boy and they stopped being "Ewww". Her first kiss. (I am a lucky mom to have been a part of knowing that). Her first real boyfriend. Her first "A" at school. Her first heartbreak, I blogged about that here. And many many more.

Her first time out til 1a.m. Her first meltdown (and many after that). Her first time she accepted, and forgave a person. The first time she taught me something (and many times after that). The first time she saw how ugly and painful the world can be but also saw how incredible and beautiful it can be too.

My wedding

There will be a new set of "firsts" as she graduates from HS in a few months, and goes off to college in the Fall. It's been a tough year of transitions for me, as many of you have read. But I'm letting it teach me, I'm letting it grow me, stretch me. I'm letting it take me to levels of discomfort that I've never been before. And isn't that the most important lesson?

With every loss there is a new gain.

We will still have our precious moments, they will just be different. They won't be the sweet, funny, free spirited, care free moments you see in this photo, but that's OK. If we are given new moments even tomorrow, it's a gift.

There is so much I'll miss, and I am tearing up as I write this--there is so much I've missed in the last year while she's pulled away. I'm still mourning those losses, but each day I'm coming closing and closer to embracing what's ahead. The newness. There is death, there is new life. Life is ever changing and never stands still. It might seem like it for a while, but then you realize, it's all constantly moving and evolving, and so are we. 

I will miss and already miss the innocence. I remember when she asked me if she could get a subscription to these magazines, and I said NO. I didn't want this crap in her brain, but I also didn't want to have "rules" that made her rebel. She was going to look through it anyway at a friends house, so I let her subscribe. She realized after she had the magazines, she didn't care for it. It was a phase, an innocent phase. And I let her transition through that without being so strict. It was cool to see. Even then I was helping her become her own person, preparing for her to leave the nest even at 13.

I'll never forget when she ran for National American Miss! She was the underdog but was in the top 6! We didn't have a lot of money at the time, so we thrifted her dress and she was humble enough to wear it. She's a good sport that way and still is. She walked away with BEST PERSONALITY trophy! Great memories.

She may not rely on me or depend on me the exact same ways she use to, but she will always need me. Right now, she just needs me in different ways, (right guys??)! Our bond will never be broken, it will just loosen for a while, and I understand that. At least I've been trying to.

I think the letting go is always the hard thing in life. We never want to let go of anything, let alone our children. But we also know the truth that letting go is healthy and good, right? It causes pain and we sometimes don't expect to have to let go, but we find it in our spirit to do it. I'm not quite there, but making progress.

We will all miss her performances in theater!

And since she retired last year from dance, I've still been sad, and I miss it more than words can express.
But supporting her is what's important. So we learn to move on, and let go.

When your child looks at you with love, and grace, it's a gift no one else can give you. That's why I love this picture. I look forward to more of these.

What a blast it was helping her to learn how to drive! The whole process was stressful but it was fun! So exciting when she passed that test.

I think I'll miss running her lunch to her when she forgets it at home or I forget to make it the night before.
It's sweet seeing her precious face in the middle of the day for 10 seconds.

I will miss teenagers filling this house like crazy. It's been one of the sweetest things about raising a teenager.

When she had her 16 year old pictures taken, I knew, knew she was becoming a woman.

Show Choir has never been my first choice for her, but who am I kidding? I don't make choices for her! Another hard lesson learned in parenting. I adore seeing her up on that stage during the performances, she is such a natural born entertainer.


Who could forget or ever forget homecoming queen!

As a mother or a parent you are never fully prepared for what comes your way. But with an open mind and an open heart, we can get through anything. I think resistance can be our worst enemy. And worrying. We can not worry, we have to remember that everyday with our kids is a gift. Some people only get their kids for a year or less on this earth. Some get them for 20 years or 40, so every minute we get to spend with them while they are healthy and here, is truly a blessing. We do not own our kids. Our kids are humans learning how to live and survive as their own people from the moment we bring them home for the first time. 

I've learned to roll with the punches and learn as I go but remembering to always instill in her to love God and others more than anything. Loving the outcast, and the person sitting alone. To forgive well. That all life is character building. To be polite. To never give up, and to follow through when you start something, and that she can do anything! To build and gain relationships with people, because relationships our at the core of our being. We were made for them.Walking by this girls side for the last 18 years and being intentional with her in my time, words and actions. Leading her in a way that validates her search for humanity too, as she has grown into her own has been a privilege, honor, a gift, and extremely humbling. It's been fun, surprising, challenging, a struggle at times, but there has never been a dull moment with this dynamic girl! I pray for many many more years with her and look forward to what life will bring.

Here are some pictures from her Birthday (her parties are the last weekend in January because she's so busy).

First up, her first (another first) tattoo!!!



Dancing Branflake said...

You are such a wonderful example to her.

And seriously- you all look like sisters! Great genes!

Stephani - A Defined Life said...

She may be pulling away for awhile, but just remember it's only for a while. There is a full circle in a mother daughter relationship when mothers do their part and are their daughter's biggest fan. It happened between me and my mother. I pulled away, but I came back. She became my best friend all over again when I was approaching thirty. Now, I'm on that final journey with her in her twilight years. She has Parkinson's and we struggle together as she faces the unknown before her. Yes, the mother daughter relationships is mufti-faceted, but a beautiful provision of God. She took care of me when I couldn't take care of myself. Now, I take care of her. I have admired your relationship with your daughter from a far. This post is a beautiful tribute to that relationship. She must be something special!

Julie said...

Gina, it has been such a privilege and a pleasure to watch Madz grow up. You are an incredibly awesome mom, you taught her what was important, and it awes me to see the beautiful young woman she has become since I first met you. You did good Mom...

Elisha said...

PRECIOUS. Gina, I wish you the best with her.. As she grows I pray you continue to stay strong and learn. :) This is soo sweet!

Becky said...

Very sweet post and as a mom with a 20 something can relate! Enjoy and thanks for sharing and wish her happy birthday!

chambanachik said...

How sweet. <3 Tell her I love her tattoo!

Kelly said...

Your are such a graceful mother Gina.
I love this post. Happy Birthday to your girl.

Aimee said...

Absolutely lovely! And, I LOVE her tattoo!!!


Beautiful young lady, beautiful mom :) I especially love the photos of you at the lake.

Natalie said...

This is just too beautiful, and you're a wonderful mom (I can tell) =D

lindsay said...

Oh gina, what an incredible young woman you have raised. You truly inspire me in every post to be best future mom I can be...thank you for always sharing your heart <3

Cindy said...

Beautiful piece, bless you and your family.

fiddlehead said...

Oh Gina,
This is such a beautiful tibute to both your daughter and your motherhood. What a amazing gift it all is...thank you for this reminder today.
Love to you

Chrissy said...

Ah Gina, this is lovely! Congrats to your beautiful daughter! You guys are all so cute together! Beautiful photos! xxx

Autumn said...

Your relationship with your daughter really shines through in every post you write about her. I can't imagine what it will be like having her move out and go to college for you.

She is so talented too!

vintage grey said...

Happy Birthday to your sweet girl!! A precious gift from God you have been blessed with!! A beautiful post and photos!! Thanks for sharing! xo Heather

Courtney said...

Aw Gina this post is full of sweetness. Your daughter is blessed to have such a wonderful mom. Hsppy birthday Madeline!

Jean said...

It is like you never age, Gina! This is a beautiful post! <3

Life is bittersweet no matter where we stand. It's a learning process, some good, some bad.

Anyway, you both are so blessed to have each other. I love where you wrote, "She may not rely on me or depend on me the exact same ways she use to, but she will always need me. Right now, she just needs me in different ways, (right guys??)! Our bond will never be broken, it will just loosen for a while, and I understand that. At least I've been trying to." -- You know what? Not many moms are able to experience what you experienced w/ your daughter. I know now, how valuable family is that when I was a teen. It's a true blessing. You are a beautiful person, inside and out. I truly mean it.

Liv Lundelius said...

You are a writer and a wonderful mother and so much more!
This story was touching and lovely to read. What a great experience you had to be a mother to such a lovely young woman. You have done a very good job.
Loving the photos.

Corine said...

Awww this is sweet. I only read through some of it, but skimmed through it all and even at that I could feel the love and closeness you have with your daughter. Wonderful! :) I feel the same closeness with my dear daughter. :D I'm happy for you both. Keep her close to your heart always...

Barb Brookbank said...

Oh my gosh - your daughter is lovely! what wonderful memories you have and you can be sure there will be many more! :)

Ali of Dressing Ken said...

Congratulations! Ha at first in the post I thought you ment she was tuning 18 months!

Ali of:

Anonymous said...

simply stopping by to say hey

Erica said...

Oh, the big 1-8!! So fun to see your daughter grow. I know it's hard seeing her become a woman, but it isn't the end of the journey, but the beginning of a new one. And, trust me, no matter how 'grown up' she gets, she'll always need you... I still need my mom, that's for sure. :)

circleofchaos said...

Such a wonderful post.^^

Lindsey Louise Bales said...

Aw, this was such an inspiring post! You are a talented writer!
Lindsey Louise

trishie said...

What a beautiful post, Gina. I am feeling goosebumps just reading this, I can feel your very strong love for her. Happy Birthday to your beauitulf daughter.

sarah {on the brightside...} said...

Awe... such a sweet & special post! :)

christina said...

oh gina! so sweet! being a mom is so hard!! I know I have a while until 18 but I feel like time is moving so fast and i just want to

growing up is so bittersweet and daughter will never understand the craziness of letting go for moms until they have daughters of their own : )