I was going to come here tonight and ask for all sorts of advice about parenting school aged children and tell you how absolutely tied up in knots I am after parent teacher conferences last week. Addie is almost 100% Cody when it comes to school and 70% him when it comes to personality. The 30% she got from me really is the best 30% she could have gotten but I sometimes panic about how to parent a laid back introverted child who lives, breathes and exists by the words (kind or unkind) spoken to her when I was just so different at her age and I am so remarkably different and similar to my mom in so many ways.

Parenthood, not for sissies.

Or worrywarts.

As I paced my bedroom with my heart in my chest after writing her adorable teacher a slightly long winded and neurotic email I started to think about everything I am probably doing wrong on a daily basis that could totally mess with her life in the long run. Maybe I don’t make her practice math enough. Maybe I should be more strict about her room being clean. Maybe I should take her to more cultured events or make her read more intelligent books. Maybe I should take away all those stupid Monster High dolls and maybe I should just stop doing a lot of things and replace them with a hundred other things I should be doing.

Choo choo Addie. #Ohio

Then my mind fast forwarded 20 years to the woman she will become. If I could foster, cultivate and nourish everything that is wonderful about her right now, at this very moment, I know for a fact that I would be sending a marvelous person out into the world. When I picture her grown I see her living in a tiny little cluttered apartment surrounded by treasures she has collected from all of her adventures with friends and hopefully some with me. Her fridge is full of funny photos of her with everyone she loves and her unmade bed is piled high with bright blankets and pillows in every color and texture. She would have friends around her kitchen table constantly because she knows that to feed someone in your home is to love them from the inside out, she learned that one from me. Chances are she’ll be covered with little bits of cookie dough and flour every weekend and her bathroom counter will be covered with a dozen different shades of lipstick and her closet will be full of ruffles and sequins. She’ll have at least one cat, one that will follow her around purring and most likely get away with jumping up on the counters. Her TV will be small and surrounded by half finished art projects and crafts, she’ll never know where she left her keys so she’ll end up walking or taking the bus half the time which is okay because she loves people watching, new adventures and meandering down different streets. I picture her to be an awful lot like my darling friend Jessie, curly hair and all.

She’ll write me funny little emails and texts, leave wonderful little notes on her friends’ Facebook walls and if she has a dream? She’ll figure out some way to accomplish it. Her dad will still tease her relentlessly when she calls or comes home and I will always hug her like I do now, as though I can transfer all my hopes and love for her through my arms and by simply burying my head into that magical spot on her neck I can somehow protect her from all pain and suffering.

Grown up Addie is kind, grown up Addie is funny, considerate and still believes in magic and fairy tales. Grown up Addie is still the best big sister Vivi could ever want or need, grown up Addie has found a job she loves, and she has learned to surround herself with the very best people from all over the world.

Addie's Fancy Hair

I just have to get her there, it’s sometimes overwhelming how much I love her.

I simply have to love her, fight for her and teach her to be kind and respect herself and those around her in the meantime. She will be fine, she will be more than fine.

She is magnificent, and her kind of magnificent can’t be taught by tutors or teachers.

 

Comments

  1. She is amazing, will be and it’s because of you my friend. (Wiping tears)

  2. Jenni Williams says:

    Now I am crying.

  3. That photo of her is breathtaking! I can’t even imagine Kaitlyn as a grownup, because I’m so worried about her just making it through her adolescence. Although she is the model student at school, at home she constantly bursts into real sobbing tears, and can never tell us what is wrong. We are a loud family, we argue and yell because everyone wants to be right, and I worry so much that we’re screwing her up. That she’ll be the girl that all the other girls pick on – I can’t even breathe when I imagine someone bullying her. I don’t know if I’ve taught her to stand up for herself. I don’t have many IRL friends so I worry she’ll be a loner. I worry she’ll be the girl who invites everyone to her birthday party and then no one shows up.

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE your predictions for Addie as a grownup. I’m picturing her sort of like Meg Ryan’s character in You’ve Got Mail :)

  4. Amazing! Just amazing…as a teacher, I try to foster as much of this as I can!

  5. so…..
    tears

    My heart, my friend.

    God has blessed you with the ability to speak what so many of us feel, but cannot articulate.

    You are such a gift.

    Addie is a gift. Addie will change the world, because of you and your love and insight and your fears and insecurities. All of these make her who she is and who she’ll become.

    Thank you for being you. I. Loves. You.

  6. Can I join your worry-wart club? ‘Cause I’m there, too. I have my son is quite similar and I worry daily that I am the source of his problems. xo

  7. Oh, the tears!

    Grownup Addie is going to be so cool.

  8. I think you got it right: “foster, cultivate and nourish everything that is wonderful about her right now…” Our areas of strength are also the areas where we have the most potential for growth. Striving simply to remove our weaknesses makes us merely frustrated and painfully average. Grow her strengths and she will be EXCEPTIONAL!

  9. I know you…and I know her. Besties you will be ;)

  10. She is magnificent. Absolutely magnificent. And she will be okay, and you will be okay, you will both be better than okay.

  11. Hi Casey, I’m new to your site having found you through your “holiday hair dos” on Pinterest. This entry caught my eye and I wanted to share this link of books…your post just reminded me of this list. Hope it helps (if you haven’t already came across it!)

    http://carrotsformichaelmas.com/2012/01/29/10-books-you-must-read-to-your-daughter-or-how-to-keep-your-daughter-from-ending-up-like-that-horrid-girl-in-twilight

  12. She really is, they take on a life of their own… and it all turns out okay.

    Steph

  13. thank you for this!

  14. I have lost so much sleep to wondering and worrying if we’re ruining our daughter forever because of the choices we have made regarding her education. I have finally come to the conclusion that what she does or does not learn is nowhere near as important as allowing her to be herself. She is amazing and if I shut myself up I will see that she’s got this handled. My job to to gently guide her and remind her of her awesome when she falters.

  15. Wow. Your heart. It’s there on the page. And it is beautiful.
    I, too, have a daughter who is so different from me in so many wonderful ways. She’s about to turn sixteen and, let me tell you, this parenting young girls into young women thing? It’s pretty amazing. Don’t get me wrong, I still have to remind myself at times to stand back and let her be who she is, let her be “not me.” Sometimes it’s frustrating. Some times it’s confusing. But it is always the most gut-wrenchingly wonderful thing I have ever been a part of.
    Your daughter is beautiful, as are your words of love and acceptance of her.

  16. You are an amazing mother and person Casey! Addie is going to do fine! I have the same challenges with actually knowing how well mine is doing since they grade using standards based, which I still don’t really understand LOL! I only have 1 child and feel like it’s my ONLY shot at getting her to where she needs to be and that’s a lot of pressure on me. I have to let go of perfect so many times and just go with the flow and remind myself I went thru same school system and I’m doing pretty good.

  17. What a gorgeous girl. The pressure we have on us to turn out good little human beings can really overwhelm sometimes.

  18. That was such an incredibly beautiful and powerful post! You are an AMAZING mama and never let anyone make you doubt that. Your daughters are truly MAGNIFICENT now and always will be because of your infinite love and faith in them!

  19. This is so beautiful, and so true. We just had conferences last night, and what a necessary reminder that our children are going to be wonderfully themselves someday. Thank you!

  20. This is a magnificent love letter. Something you each will cherish in years to come. Just beautiful, thank you for sharing.

  21. You are so right. Parenthood is not for sissies or worrywarts! This post went straight to my heart because I feel this way. Often. A lot lately. I laughed about your vision of her future apartment (because I can see both of my girls like that!) and I cried at the thought my babies getting big enough to have their own apartments! Time goes too fast. But we have to give them our best and send them out into the world and let them show it their best! It’s hard though.

  22. As an introvert I’ll have you know you’re doing a stupidly good job with her.

  23. There you go, being all wonderful again.

    Keep at it, C.

    She’s one of the luckiest little girls that I know of to have you as a mom.

  24. I love this post, I love you, and I love her. Don’t stress the addition, she’ll get it eventually. I know grown adults that still add on their fingers and they have good, full lives.

  25. You, my friend, are amazing and wonderful and beautiful. Your words and your very being are a role model (or should be) to so many

  26. Doesn’t it feel good to just step back sometimes and remind yourself that you’re a good mom?

  27. I don’t think I ever thought about how my girl would turn out. But looking at my 18yo in the middle of her exams; and her dream job (animation) and the means in which she is getting there; and the fact that she never has, and never will, fit into anyone’s ‘box’ of what she should or shouldn’t do or be or like; and she is her own person with her own opinions and dreams and sense of humor….makes me realise that maybe we didn’t do such a bad job of raising her, surrounding her with love and people who love her and who are creative and love Jesus and love life and love people, and have hopes and dreams and visions. I think we did ok.
    Our 17yo son, I’m still waiting to see what comes out of him. He is similar in some ways, but oh so different in so many other ways. :)

  28. We do the best we can. I’m convinced that being loved is the absolute best thing a child could ever have as a building block. If she feels loved and safe with her family, no matter the rest of the junk she runs into, she will always know that she’s not alone.

  29. Oh Casey, I love it. Grown up Addie sounds amazing and I think she will be just like you imagine her. (and she’s already pretty darn amazing)

  30. Casey my dear… How absolutely lovely in every way imaginable. I can imagine my own mother writing something like this and knowing that she would think she raised me pretty well. Once again, your words strike a chord in me that brings me to tears in the best way possible. I hope that one day, Addie will look back on this post and smile and probably cry herself; just realizing how very much you love her. This is a special one indeed. Much love to you and your dear, sweet Addie.

  31. Oh Casey, you write what I feel. I just cannot seem to get my head around how big my love is, I just cannot get out the words for my daughter. But you, Casey you get the words out so very well! Not only have I read this three times a day since you posted it, but I have a warm glowing spot in my heart for you…which i guess sounds a little weird because we dont know one another…it’s just that anyone who loves someone else so much is so very easy to have a warm glowie spot for.

  32. Delurking to tell you I simply love this post. You are an amazing writer and spot on. My daughter is now 14 and my son 15, and my internal parenting ‘anxiety’ is at an all time high not because of any issue other than encouraging them to continue to find and be true to themselves when I am not sure I am grown up enough myself to guide them. Follow your instincts, love her as you do today with all your heart and she will be the very person you describe! At least that’s what I am telling myself. ;-)

  33. Parenting is oh so hard some times. The best thing I’ve learned so far is just to teach them to look to God (and Mom and Dad) for love and acceptance and answers, instead of those around them. And the things that they get from you that worry you? just means that you understand them and can guide them better than anyone else ever could. She is beautiful and will grow up to do amazing things in this world…just like her mom.

  34. I just had this same panic after conferences last night. How do I parent someone so much like me and so much not like me? How do I not screw this up? (I am going to screw this up) Oh, but dear LORD do I love her. My heart hurts so much I love her and want to protect her. Addie is lovely. You are a great mom.

  35. Yesterday i posted about how much Eddie is like me. Like ridiculously so. And how it terrifies me.

    This made my heart parts happy.

    And reminded me that Eddie is also all the awesome parts of me too. And if he can take those things into manhood? He will be one heck of a great partner, father, and all around spectacular guy someday.

  36. Oh, what a week it’s been over here. I love the reminder of the big picture, because honestly, I really think that’s all that matters.

  37. this post is amazing and made me cry. you have a way with words, friend!

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  2. [...] As I learn more and more about the person she is becoming, I am learning to let her lead more often. That our relationship is less about me making little decisions for her, but rather me supporting the everyday choices she makes for herself. Only once have I forced her into something, and that something was the Caribbean Sea to pet a stingray, the experience ended with a chokehold of terror around my throat, but I don’t regret pushing her one little bit. [...]