Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sister Meetings

I came home from my last work trip for 2015 to find that estrogen overload had hit the house.  The girls were super moody with each other and Charley, who has an incredible amount of patience, said I am not sure I can handle one more discussion with the girls about their attitudes.  He tagged out and I tagged in as the lead to what we call episode #579 of Emotion Overload: Teen Edition.  We tried to do some grocery shopping and made it about 55 minutes before the text messages started flowing in from two of the teenagers who had each decided that the other one was being irrational.  Off and on throughout the day the "let's be kind" reminders became more and more frequent but I was determined not to let them wear me down.  At about 11:30 pm I decided it was time to end the episode, but not just for the night.  After some quiet thought and contemplation, I decided to take a trick from their own book, a "sister meeting."

Sister meetings began when the girls were little.  We would find them fully clothed sitting in the empty bath tub with the shower curtain pulled shut.  They would talk and giggle for hours.  When we would try to check on them they would politely tell us that we were interrupting their "sister meeting" and to please go away!

It was so fun to see them happy and enjoying each other.  As they grew up, they moved the meetings out of the bathtub and into other places in the house or yard.  They would plan all sorts of fun things together.  One time, they even made up a restaurant and menu for Charley and I to have a special dinner prepared by them.  They kicked us out of the kitchen and made sandwiches.  Then Sierra played the hostess, Sydnee the waitress, and Savannah was the chef.  

These sister meetings then grew into fashion shows, make-overs, photo shoots, movie nights, dance parties, and sleep overs in each other's rooms.  Seeing them plan a sleepover and getting all excited about the movies they want to watch, the snack foods they need to make, and the things they wanted to do made my heart happy.  They would put together power point presentations with background music to present their vacation ideas and friend party requests.  

These sister meetings changed when the older two started high school and started to be replace by emotional breakdowns.  Occasionally, we would have something happen that would pull them back together and we would have months of good times.  I had to help them find one of those reasons to reconnect.  So at 11:30 at night when they walked in the door all angry at each other over whose turn it was to ride in the front seat of the car, I decided it was time to call a sister meeting.  After an hour of sitting on the floor taking turns talking about what makes us mad, cranky, angry, feel left out, hurt, or [insert other feeling here], we finally got to the point where I could see their loving side come back out.

These are the girls I love, the ones that know how to come together and focus on what is good and right.  This picture is of them with Charley after he was moved from the trauma unit at KU Med to the rehab floor at Lawrence Memorial Hospital a few weeks after the car accident that he and the older two girls were in on February 10, 2012.  This moment, when they were finally all together again at the same time, recognizing that their dad was going to get better and he was one step closer to coming home.  These girls had been truly afraid that they were going to loose their dad and they pulled together and got each other through it.  

It made my heart so happy to see and hear them finally break down the walls that they had built up over the last few weeks and really talk.  They listened, they accepted fault, they apologize, they forgave, they loved, and they laughed.  They made me laugh so hard I cried from the silly things that they said and did and also from the pure joy of seeing them love each other.  I am so blessed to have shared that moment with them, I am thankful they were able to share their pain and fears in such healthy and healing ways.  Nothing makes me happier than seeing the three of them love each other, serve each other, and laugh together.  

So thankful for these mostly lovely ladies!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

For My Daughters

Traveling for work is getting old and exhausting.  I am thankful that I will be home for several weeks soon.  I have been so busy that I have failed to post a blog post and the girls have asked a couple of times when I will do the next one.  They didn't know that I have been working on a writing project for them, but I am giving them (and you all) a sneak peak at the project tonight.  I am writing out my thoughts, feelings, and quotes on a variety of things that I wish I had better understood when I was their age.  If there are any topics that you would like to have heard from your mom or a trusted adult about when you were a teenager, please leave a comment.  I would love more ideas.  This collection of writings starts with a letter that I have written to my girls:

My (not so) Little Ladies,

Often as I travel, I find myself with time to think and so much of that time spent thinking I end up thinking about you.  I think about the silly happy moments we have shared and memories we have made as a family.  I think about how much I feel truly blessed to be your mom and that despite all of my short comings, you still love me.  I think about what makes you happy and how much you have each grown.  I think about what troubles you and what makes you sad.  My heart aches when your heart aches.  I hurt when you hurt and I often wish I could take away all of the negative things in life so that you would only have to experience the joys and pleasures.  Then I remember, most of what I love and appreciate most has been formed by my life experiences both good and bad. 

I love and appreciate your father because of the role he has played in my life.  He is the first man that made me feel truly safe, protected, and loved.  Neither he nor I are perfect.  We had our fair share, maybe a tad more, of trials in our early married life.  Working through those trials together, growing together and choosing to forgive and love is what has made us so strong and happy together.  If we stayed at the same level of love that we had when we got married, we might be happy and fine together but that love I felt for your father when we first got married is nothing compared to what I feel for him now.  Because we have experienced the ups and downs of life and trials together we have grown together and our love and bond is stronger than I had ever imagined.  I am thankful for those trials that strengthened us.

We haven’t always made the best parenting decisions, I am sure you each would agree, but we try our best every day to be the parents you need, not necessarily the one you want.  We have always and will always love each of you.  You are all three very different from each other, unique in who you are.  I cannot describe the amount of love I feel for each of you.  I have spent hours trying to put into words how I feel and the best that I can come up with is that each of you holds a place in my heart that will forever feel empty if I lost you.  I love that you occasionally still ask to be snuggled and sometimes even let me sing to you even though you are teenagers. I love you to the moon and back, more than you love me, times 5 hundred million thousand, and all of those silly things we used to say.  I am truly thankful for the knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ and our belief in eternal families.  An eternity with you is not long enough. 

In all my time thinking about you and trying to find a way to communicate all that I think and feel for you, I have come up with a list of things that I hope to share with you.  These are things that I have either learned or wished I had understood when I was younger.  These are things that have become very important to me and things that strengthen me.  They are things that I know will bring you a balance of peace and harmony in your life so you can find and embrace true happiness and love.  There is no amount of money or possessions that will bring you greater happiness than finding peace with yourself and those you love.  I hope this collection of thoughts will bring you that peace in hard times, remind you of your infinite worth, and the potential that you possess.

Thank you for the love you share with me, teaching me how to be a parent, and all of the happiness you bring to our family.

Love you forever,