Tag Archives: daughters

Sunsets.. 

The number one reason people give for NOT hosting an exchange student? It’s that the “good byes” would be too hard in the end.. 

..and today I would agree..

..the good-byes when I send home an exchange daughter are hard.. 

..beyond hard.. 

But the alternative would be hard as well.. 

In order for me to never hurt.. in order for me to never cry.. never hesitate.. or miss someone? 

Yup.. 

I would have to NEVER grow close to any one .. not a pet.. not a child .. and not an exchange student.. 

I would have to NOT live.. 

…and BOY have we lived.. 

Today my 3rd exchange daughter carried her luggage out of my house and loaded it into her mother’s rental car.. 

A year’s worth of memories and living were packed into those suitcases.. A year’s worth of holiday gifts and souvenirs… and some chocolate covered pretzels too.. 

..but what weighs more than those suitcase?

The love that we shared over the last year.. the laughter … the inside jokes.. the memories.. the songs we sang in the car.. the movies we watched.. the hugs.. and the tears we shared.. 

I can’t say that I would give back that “living”.. just to save a few tears .. (ok.. a LOT of tears)… 

I thought about that as I watched the sunrise this morning… 

..sometimes we only appreciate how beautiful the day was as we watch the sun set at night.. and sometimes we are sad to see it end.. 

..but then? 

Then if we watch carefully (and get up early enough).. we can watch the sun RISE on a new day.. a day full of promise and full of new possibilities.. 

So today as the “sun sets” on the time my exchange daughter stayed in my home.. I am a little sad that it’s over.. and I am spilling more than a few tears remembering how much we have lived this year.. 

..my cup runneth over tonight.. 

..but tomorrow morning?

Tomorrow a new day will dawn. A new chapter with my borrowed daughter.. a new life where we exchange pictures and video calls.. and ridiculous snapchats… where we continue to share in each other’s joys and sorrows.. and plan visits.. and I think that day will be just as beautiful (in its own way)..

So tonight I will enjoy my beautiful sunset.. with a few tears of love.. 

I loved my “day” with you here Bea.. can’t wait to spend tomorrow with you.. 

Turning a page.. 


You know that feeling when you are in the middle of a great book? 
One of those books that is SO good ..you just can’t wait to see what will happen next or how it will end.. 

And it is so good that you don’t want to miss a single word.. 

…no speed reading this book…   

NOPE.. You read each sacred word and savor them all… 

But then? 

YUP.. Then you have to put that book down because life is going on around you… The dishes need to be done, the chickens need food.. the kids need to be socialized …

…but all the while you are being a responsible human being? The whole time ALL you can think about is that book … ??

WHAT is on that next page? What will happen to the heroine? What adventures and mishaps are in store?

THAT is how it feels to drop your daughter off at college.. 

.. I can’t wait to pick that book up again and see what is written on those pages… I can’t wait to hear about her adventures .. 

… but I admit.. It is hard to walk away from her beautiful book… 

Into the future…


One minute your little girl is knocking over bookshelves, breaking priceless souvenirs, throwing rocks at Scrooge on tv, writing on walls, putting pop tarts into the VCR, serenading the neighbors as they stroll past your front porch, trying to defy gravity, writing stories that don’t make sense, reading encyclopedias to get out of cleaning her room, reading books thicker than her arm, breaking lamps with her imaginary friends, performing lion king in a bathing suit and a scarf, wearing underwear on her head, and asking endless awkward questions in her endless pursuit of knowledge… 
.. and the next minute you are dropping her off at college.. Wondering what kind of trouble she can get into there.. 😳😳😳😳

Seriously love this girl of mine… And so stinking proud..

The thought of not hearing her practice her operettas in the shower EVERYDAY? It almost makes me miss the times she used whole bottles of conditioner in her bath time experiments.. 

…almost…

Actually I don’t… I don’t wish that time back.. I enjoyed it all while it happened.. 

But I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this magnificent blessing God entrusted to me.. 

Love you Princess Tiger Lily…

Eyes wide open.. 

While I was pregnant with my first child.. my strong willed daughter.. we could not decide on a name. So my husband and I struck a deal.. 

When our daughter was born.. If she looked like a “princess” then we would name her “Sabrina” .. 

..and if she looked like a “little ruler” we would name her “Ryanne”.. 

THEN? 

Lol.. Then I prayed to God He would send her into the world boisterous and crying.. 

When that moment came? The moment I laid eyes on my girl? I had been awake for 40 hours.. And in labor for 28 hours.. 

FYI .. They call it labor because it is REALLY hard work.. 

Someone placed that beautiful baby in my arms.. 

..and.. 

Well? She stared right back at me. Her eyes were wide open .. and so curious. She was taking in the world around her without saying a word. 

When her Daddy commented on something? She turned her head toward him and listened. When I laughed at her serious expression..? Well.. then she turned back to me. 

The nurse commented that she had never seen such an alert baby.. And our girl turned toward her and listened carefully. 

We quickly decided that her serene and graceful personality was more fitting of a “princess”.. And her birth certificate was filled out.. 

The last 18 years have sped by so quickly.. But she has remained much the same.. Always looking at the world around her with her eyes wide open… Curious and alert.. Learning as much as she could.. Holding her eyes so wide, as if she could soak in knowledge faster that way.. 

Lol.. But she also learned to express her opinion.. And negotiate.. 

Soon? Yup.. Her father and I wondered if we should have named her “little ruler”.. 
Recently I looked up “Ryanne” again.. Wanting to use it in a new book series.. And I realized the technical meaning was “a feminine version of Ryan”.. And Ryan means “little King”.. 

So Ryanne would mean “little queen”.. A mature and educated ruler.. 

Hmm.. So my husband had chose to name our daughter EITHER a queen OR a princess? Both of these names mean a natural leader.. 

And a leader she is.. An educated, empathetic, observant leader.. 

Maybe we should encourage her to run for President.. We could use more leaders like her.. 

But my little princess has dreams of her own.. And she will go on being a leader in her own world.. Clearing her own path.. 

Always with her eyes wide open.. 

She lived…

We never saved money for my daughter’s college.. We started to, but then…?

Well..?

Well..  then life happened.

As I was pulling pictures for my daughter’s open house last week.. I saw snapshots of that life …

First there were gymnastics classes and dance.. To give her socialization skills.

Then it was off to preschool .. To give her a headstart in school.. After all, she was already so smart.

Then came trips to museums and zoos.. Nature centers..

As her desire to perform evolved.. We added Performing Arts camps and classes..

Add in piano lessons, Girl Scout camps.. Community college Musical opportunities..

Yup.. Pretty soon her college fund was history..

But that isn’t the end of her pictures..

No sir-ee.. Then comes to the cross country trips that my husband and I took our kids on..


To New York to see family.. And to see Niagara Falls..

To California to see family.. and a quick stop at the Grand Canyon..

As we added each new state to our map of “places”? Yup.. More pictures.. Each picture brought a smile to my face.. Remembering the adventures .. the life lessons.. the laughter and smiles..

Along the way…?

Along the way paying for college became less of a priority.. and preparing her for life took its place.

Now don’t get me wrong.. We have always TALKED about college.. and her future. That part was never a question. With her reading before Kindergarten? It was just a given..

The only thing that changed was our focus on saving money FOR her future.. instead of PREPARING her for that future.

What we didn’t realize in making this subconscious shift?

Our daughter has lived a very full. And she learned to live IN TODAY.. although the while working hard toward her future. She enjoys her life where ever she is.. Whether it’s tutoring.. or creating a set.. babysitting twins.. or swimming in the moonlight.. she always has a smile on her face.

Even (occasionally) she will smile while doing dishes.. (hey.. she is human after all)…

So today when I look at my daughter .. and realize that soon she will have student loans..

..and I know that we (her father & I) can’t prevent that…

I realize that .. with those student loans?

She will also have memories of moonlit kayak rides, kayak adventures to find hidden islands, cousin sleep overs (aka stay up overs), many hide n seek adventures in the dark, science experiments growing what’s in our mouth (yuck), science experiments with coke and Mentos, reading millions of books, watching “books” we have read come ALIVE at the movie theaters, doing chores, earning her own money, getting pets, saying good-bye to pets, taking 30 hour driving trips to see cousins, seeing beautiful landmarks in our country, welcoming exchange sisters into our lives, sharing a room with someone you don’t know LONG enough to know them by heart, having to hug those exchange sisters good-bye at airports, art lessons, piano lessons, acting lessons, voice lessons, summer camps, theatre camps, family camps,  swimming in waterfalls, getting leaches, putting band-aids on little ones, having surgeries, playing board games all night, designing her own prom dresses, learning how to eat gluten free, saving money for Disney World, going to Disney World, learning how to drive, making her first solo trip, being center stage in the spot light, being backstage supporting someone else’s spotlight, singing songs on stage, singing her grandpa’s favorite song around the campfire,

Loving others,

laughter,img_1214

Faith in God,

Yes.. my baby girl will do amazing at college..

because she has lived a full life!!!!!!!

……I Love you Princess Tiger Lily…..

On her own… 

Once upon a time.. About 13 1/2 years ago.. a little girl (with lots of curls) headed off to her first day of kindergarten. 

And like EVERYthing in her life? Yup! She wanted to do it on her own. 

She did NOT want me to drive her to school that first day.

She did NOT want me to walk her into her class and help her get settled.

She wanted to ride the bus like EVERYone did.. 

She wouldn’t even let me hold her hand.. 

I was a little hurt I guess.. I do make plans in my head.. You know those plans, right? Plans on how to be the best mom.. 

But neither me nor my husband were suprised that she simply announced she would have none of my plans.. 

Why? Well you see.. Everything in her life until that point had been the same.. 

When she was 3 weeks old? She simply refused to let me rock her to sleep anymore. She wanted to be put in her crib so she could go to sleep ON HER OWN.. 

At 6 months? She clamped her mouth shut.. Refusing to be fed anymore. She wanted to do it ON HER OWN. 

Doing puzzles? She would gently move my hand away.. She didn’t want any help. 

Now this “on her own” attitude did get her in trouble.. Because it often slipped into.. “Let me do it my way”… 

Lol.. Once that attitude had her preschool teacher telling me she’s be better off with younger kids.. My beautiful, smart, strong willed girl…. was demoted to a younger class.. 

.. and well? Let’s just say her ballet teacher was so relieved when we moved to Missouri before recital.. I guess having my girl “co-teach” the class (only when she felt the teacher was being boring) wasn’t as fun as it sounded.. 

Sigh.. Honestly I knew how the dance teacher felt.. I wondered often why my daughter couldn’t just do it my way FOR ONCE.. 

Last night my daughter gave a speech at graduation.. as Valedictorian. That same stubborn pride.. The same frustrating determination to do things her own way.. ??


It would keep my daughter up until the WEE hours of the morning doing homework after a long night of Musical practice. 

It would have my daughter going the extra distance to do a project the way she wanted.. Which was often more than her teacher had asked for. 

Yes .. My daughter’s determination to do things ON HER OWN and in her OWN WAY.. is the very reason she made it to the top of her class .. 

So even when I retell stories of her childhood around the fire.. Tales of her stubbornness and the frustration I had endured… And laughing  until I have tears in my eyes.. 

.. Even when  I act like it was awful..  I am actually so very proud of the young lady she has become…

.. and I don’t really worry about her future.. I know she will get there ON HER OWN timing and in her own way.. 

Luckily I have God in our corner.. Watching out for her along the way.. because it’s going to be great. 

Skin deep… 

I don’t write about my daughter a lot.. Probably because I prefer to tell her tales of “terror” around the campfire … Where we can all laugh until we cry.. 

You see? The “legal adult” you all see before you? The beautiful, polite, smart, sweet, politically correct, top scholar? She was once a beautiful, smart, sassy, stubborn, strong willed, test-every-rule kind of girl… 

Yup.. 

I was so glad she out grew that Last year… 

All kidding aside? She has always been a great kid to raise.. (Except that time when she accused a kind old gentleman of trying to kidnap her.. Or the time she tipped the bookshelf over.. Sigh.. Or the time she screamed in the store bathroom that the dinosaurs were going to eat her.. Sigh.. Or the time she dumped all the shampoo, conditioner and body soap into the bathwater as an “experiment”… )

Ok .. Ok.. There were times that I questioned my ability to parent this child successfully.. 

And I think THAT is one of the reasons I don’t write about my daughter as much as my son.. 

I made a ton of mistakes.. 

One of the worst was the day my daughter told me she KNEW she wasn’t pretty.. 

Frustrated I asked her how she could KNOW that she wasn’t.. 

Her answer?

She stated (very matter-of-factly).. “Because YOU have never told me that I was pretty. Everyone knows that mothers ALWAYS think their children are beautiful no MATTER what .. So if my own mother doesn’t tell me I’m pretty.. Then I must be pretty ugly.” 

I remember my world froze in that moment.. 

After a moment of silence, my daughter shrugged her shoulders like the whole thing was no big deal.. 

… it WAS a big deal to me.. 

But it was also true.. 

Why? 

Why wouldn’t I tell my daughter she was beautiful? 

Well… This world is so hung up on our girls BEING beautiful.. That I wanted to emphasize everything that was below the surface with my girl.. Her intelligence.. Her kindness.. Her empathic heart.. Her natural leadership .. Her imagination… 

I wanted her to like who she WAS on the inside no matter what her outside looked like.. 

I was too intent on keeping her confident, humble and successful… And kind..

But in that moment I knew I had failed.. 

Every child likes to feel cherished by their mother.. And I had not given that need a thought.. 

So with tears in my heart (and in my eyes), I told her I thought she was the most beautiful girl .. And that I also thought she was beautiful for the girl she IS on the inside.. I explained that I hadn’t told her she was beautiful because I didn’t want her to think Beauty was the most important thing.. 

I told her I made a mistake.. That I should have told her both.. 

And then I hugged that beautiful girl to me.. 

I don’t know why God trusted me with this strong willed, stubborn, beautiful girl to raise.. 


But what a Blessing that He did…