Hard work, fun and campfires

Dear Lauren and Lydia,

You are 15 and 17 years old. An age where it’s easy to start thinking that you should be cool and not play like a kid anymore. Somewhat of a natural transition I suppose and necessary in some ways. But last night we had our first camp fire and you two played and had a ball and I realized that I hope you always have that playful spirit in you.

Something happens when we get outside. Something happens when we let ourselves just have fun without worrying about what others think. You created your own games. We talked openly and shared stories. You let go of normal inhibitions.

I will always remember singing the ABC song at the same time as Twinkle Twinkle Lauren, while Lydia hid in the yard for you to go and find/scare! I will always remember sharing our most embarrassing moments from the past, our dreams and just random bits of conversation. I will always remember you two going around the yard pulling off random branches of trees and putting them in the fire. Everything needs trimmed so bad it didn’t hurt a thing and you two had a ball.

Such a great family memory. And all after you worked to make the fire pit in our yard in the first place. That’s how it should work…hard work leads to a sense of purpose and contentment which leads to fun and a life well lived.

Simple things are the best…always. I look forward to having many camp fires in our yard over the years. That first one will definitely always stand out to me :)

Love your momma who took delight in watching you two play last night. It was a flash back to when you were about 6 and 8 years old :)

Adjustments…

Dear Lauren and Lydia,

Oh my girlies…this season of life has been a really huge one for us. Thankfully I can tell God has been there meeting us with what we need at every turn even before we had time to realize we would need it.

I’ve been your mom now for a long time and for a good part of that time a single mom at that. Honestly, that’s who you think of when you think of me, it’s probably hard to even remember me as married to your dad. I’ve centered my life on you two for the past 8 years. It made sense. I wanted to. I have no regrets.

Things have changed lately. I met Dane. I fell in love with Dane. I’m marrying Dane. And things are not quite the same around here.

I know it’s left you trying to figure out what this all means and what normal is anymore. All I can tell you is…stay open and I know with confidence that you will be amazed at how this whole thing is going to turn out.

Dane loved you from the start. It had to be a God thing really.

You girls have craved needs to be met, needs that can only be met by a significant man in your life…I have hit that ‘ball’ figuratively back into God’s court countless times over the past 8 years. Every time I felt overwhelmed with the holes you two carry and the injustice of it I just slammed it back to God and said…”ok God, this is your job…not mine.” I’ve always felt that God could and would handle it somehow, someway.

And he has and is and wow…I could’ve never dreamed it all up this good.

Adjustments are being made. Life is changing for us at a fast a furious pace. Some adjustments are smoother than others. We will make it. I believe in you two.

You are amazing girls. Amazing daughters. And I know we love each other.

You are not losing me…or my time and attention so much as you are gaining the love of another…a man who will love you as his own. Give it time. We are just on the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the goodness of God.

Through all the changes…I love you. As in I would walk over hot coals, swim an ocean, plummet from a cliff or some other crazy thing if necessary to show you my love. Thankfully, that won’t be necessary today :)

Trust. Trust that our love and bond will hold even in the addition of a new face at our table and in our home. Trust that this will be awesome. Believe the best. Don’t let hurt, resentment, anger, or self pity grow.

We are seeing answers to prayer in our home in a huge way in this season. Let’s embrace it together.

Love your momma who is unbelievably grateful to no longer be single parenting you girls.

I know this is going to sound old fashioned…

Dear Lauren and Lydia,

I know this letter is going to sound old fashioned and maybe things aren’t done this way anymore…but I’m going to say it anyway.

When you start to date, which believe it or not is probably not far off…

1. Let the man make the first move. Sure…be friendly, welcoming, open, encouraging, etc. But…let him make the first move. If nothing else someone around him is bound to pick up on the fact that he should make a move and give him a nudge…but let him be the one to initiate.

2. Let him open the door for you…every time. It takes longer…it’s not necessary. It’s old fashioned, but let him do it anyway. It’s good for him and good for you. Starts that whole cherishing thing agoing. And believe me you are going to want to be cherished.

3. He doesn’t have to pay all the time…but yeah that’s kind of part of the deal too. I know we women are strong and independent…but some of these age old traditions have great value.

4. Listen to him. Take an interest in his stories and then share a few of yours too.

5. Do simple things. Not expensive things…not huge. Once in awhile a nice night out on the town is good…but honestly the simple things of just taking a walk together or watching the sunset together are beautiful and help you to focus on what’s important…getting to know each other.

6. Take the physical stuff slow. I’m not a person who says wait for your first kiss until your wedding day or anything…but let all things crescendo naturally…you will sense it, there is no need to rush. Delight in small touches…holding hands, a hug, an arm around your shoulder. It’s amazing how lovely the smallest of gestures can be when we really savor the moment and don’t rush.

7. Give each other space…trust that the relationship can handle not having constant contact and that it’s large enough to fit friendships and family in too. The more you try to cling the more the other person will want to flee. Let air into the relationship and you’ll be surprised at the attraction that happens naturally.

8. Tell each other the places where you’ve been hurt, the hard stuff…and then be trustworthy with that kind of information. Everyone on the face of the earth has hurts and hard stuff in their past. Give honor to it all, mourn where needed and rejoice too.

9. Be kind. Do the best you can with the outside…look pretty, etc. but even more so be kind to one another. Kindness is incredibly attractive.

10. Serve together…do things for other people where it has nothing really to do with you or him…

11. Take it one moment at a time…try not to weight the relationship with thoughts of next week, next month and next year. No one can predict where life will take you or him. Enjoy this moment and eventually the moments add up and create a whole story.

12. Be honest. Real. Authentic. Share your feelings and be vulnerable. Hopefully he will do the same…it’s harder for guys but if you give them your authentic self it’s likely they might as well. It’s all about trust.

13. Give grace…no man will complete you. No man is perfect. 

14. Anchor on God every day. He is your hope. He is your Source. He is the One who will never leave you or forsake you. Don’t confuse the issue and put that kind of expectation on a man. He can’t meet your deepest needs.

I could probably list so many other things…things that I’m still learning for myself, honestly, but at least this is a start. 

I pray that you two will find guys someday who will love you extremely well, that will cherish you and make you feel beautiful inside and out. In the mean time I also pray that you two will be secure in who you are, aware of your own worth and value, confident to move through life in peace and trust that God will provide just what you need and desire.

Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart…

Love your momma