Sweet Sixteen

I’ve started this post about a dozen times. It’s odd, as a writer, to not be able to find the words I’m looking for. Words that can tell of the past, sweet, sixteen years. You see, on this date sixteen years ago, I became a mother for the first time. At 4:32 pm my baby girl came into the world and breathed her first breath. She was 7 pounds, 9.6 ounces, and 19 1/2 inches long. She had blue eyes and a whole head full of jet-black hair. She was healthy and perfect in every way and I was completely in love!

She is about 2 or 3 weeks old and she’s being held by her Popeye (my dad)

Truth be told, Dear Ones, I’ve been in love with this child since even before that moment. This child was prayed for, wanted, and loved from before we even knew we were pregnant. Daddy prayed over and talked to my belly, every day, long before the positive pregnancy test. I joke and say that if I didn’t know how babies are made, I would have thought he spoke her into existence. Lol!

During these past sixteen years, she has grown into a great many wonderful roles. She is a daughter, a granddaughter, a sister, and an aunt. She is an amazing friend, a smart, capable student, a hard-working employee, and a dependable co-worker who isn’t afraid to share the load.

These years, that I have been blessed to be Priss’ mom, have been the best, and yes, most challenging of my life. She is all of the things that we’ve prayed she would be; kind, generous, driven, brave, smart, creative, and witty (just to name a few). She has a heart to serve others and loves people, but would much rather be hanging out with animals of all kinds.

Her and her horse from riding lessons

This child of mine has not ever met a stranger. Ever. From the time she was a toddler and made “friends” with every person in the Wal-Mart bathroom, to her climbing up in a booth across from someone at a restaurant and beginning to chat their ears off, to now when she strikes up a conversation with someone and proceeds to divulge her entire life story in the first few minutes. It matters little to her what your skin color, background, sexual orientation, etc. are. She is kind and she is kind to everyone. It never crosses her mind NOT to include someone. Honestly, in this area, I strive to be more like her.

Being silly at the store with Daddy

She is generous. She is a “gift giver.” She is always thinking about other people and she has an uncanny ability to pick exactly the “right” gift for people. She pays attention to people and their little details and gives extremely thoughtful gifts. Often, she buys gifts for people, just because she can and she wants to. It doesn’t have to be a “special occasion.” One day recently she said “Mom, I’m expecting some packages from Amazon in the next couple of days. Don’t open them, ok?” Turns out, she had bought sweet little individualized gifts for each of the other four of us. No reason. She just wanted to.

She is driven. Last year, when she turned fifteen, she decided to get a part-time job. She wanted a year to save money towards her own first car. She has this goal of going to a wildlife rescue program when she is 17-18 years old; so she is working and saving now. She makes it hard to argue with her logic…because it is perfectly sound logic. She wants to get a job where she actually gets to work with animals in some capacity; because “If I’m going to work, I might as well work somewhere that will help me towards my goals, Mom.” she said.

She is smart, creative, and witty. She loves to draw and paint and write. She has a knack for cooking/baking and enjoys exploring in the kitchen and trying new recipes. Her wit is unmatched by almost every other teenager I’ve ever met. She has some of the most epic “one-liners” and can “talk smack” with the best of them. Have I mentioned that she is also HILARIOUS?!?

Dancing with Daddy at her Aunt’s wedding reception

This daughter of mine is brave and bold. Oh, so much more so than I was at her age. Or heck, even now! She has always marched to the beat of her own drum and really could not care less what most people’s opinions of her are. I had to become very aware and very careful not to project MY own experiences and MY insecurities onto her when she was still pretty young. We used to have these battles about what she was going to wear to school. I wanted her to look “cute” and put together and have nice things to wear. She wanted to wear the rattiest, most mismatched stuff she could find. I would be thinking “If you wear that, you are going to be made fun of/bullied.” I wanted so much to protect her from that. Ya’ll; she just didn’t care. The other kids could say whatever they wanted. She was brave enough to be comfortable in her own skin. It is one of the MANY, MANY lessons that SHE has taught ME over the years.

When she was 12-13 years old some of her friends’ parents let them get social media accounts. Priss came home desperately wanting them too. We had a conversation with her and told her that if she continued to do well in school, help around the house, etc., basically keep growing into the responsible young adult she was on the way to being, we would revisit the idea when she was 16.

Well, she’s 16. The other night at dinner I asked her “Sister, we said that we would revisit the idea of you having social media accounts when you turned 16. Do you feel like you want them? Do you feel like you are missing out in some way by not having them?” Ya’ll, she said “Nah, I’m good! That’s just too much drama and I don’t feel like I’m missing anything by not having it!” Oh! I wanted to jump up and kiss her all over her face! This child of mine is wise; wise beyond her years.

Sweet 16 Party!

It has taken me a full month past her birthday to get these thoughts out of my head and in written form. I still don’t feel like I’ve done any justice at all to my girl. I love her beyond what any words would ever be able to describe. As I watch her grow and handle different stages of life with such maturity and grace, I am blown away.

Don’t misunderstand me, she has her faults, just like every single other person on the planet. She’s stubborn and hard-headed, she’s overly emotional sometimes, and I really wish she was just a little bit more like me in the “keeping things clean and organized” portion of life. She has exponentially more positive things about her than negative. They say you are supposed to “pay for your raising,” but I really don’t feel like I have with her. I’ve gotten stupid, crazy, blessed, and been able to really develop a friendship with her. Again, don’t misunderstand; I am MOM first and foremost. She’s also one of my most favorite people to hang out and do things with. We have a blast together more often than we butt heads or have conflict.

My girl and I.  Not sure where we were or what we were doing, but we were together.

Baby Girl,

I pray that you continue to let God lead your steps. He will never lead you astray. God has great plans for your life. Be still, listen for His voice, and KNOW. You are turning into one of the most amazing humans I have ever met. You are absolutely, positively, one of my most favorite people on the whole dang planet! I thank God, literally, every day for entrusting me with you to raise for Him. Love, Mom

Ya’ll, the world is going crazy and there is much uncertainty. Please take the time to slow down, enjoy some rest, really LOOK at your kids, and spend time with them. Get to know the amazing people they are becoming, right before your eyes. It happens so much faster than any of us want to admit or believe. We are not promised tomorrow, not even for our babies. Don’t take their presence for granted. Choose love. Choose grace. Choose mercy.

Sincerely,

LB

Like a Boss

Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.

— Oscar Wilde.

What does that mean, anyway?! “Like a Boss”?? This phrase started being pretty widely used a few years ago. Everyone was doing everything “like a boss.” There are memes for days that have the phrase, accompanied by pictures of everything from reading books while doing a handstand to sleeping at work; all being done “like a boss.” To everyone else, it probably means something to the effect of “like a pro.” Maybe?! I don’t know.

I can only assume, that like most things, it means something different to different people. In my little corner of the world, the family I married into has Boss as their surname. This particular family of Bosses have not always taken the “easy way” in life. We have made poor choices in life, we have struggled with all kinds of “bang ups and hang ups,” we have let ourselves and each other down. BUT, we have always pushed through and came out on the other side better than when we started. We have always been able to count on each other and we are all striving to do things differently; better, for the young ones we are now raising. Bosses don’t quit, sometimes to a fault.

I have officially decided that my “Like a Boss” means that I will not let anxiety (or the other host of issues I deal with) control my life. It is a part of my life, maybe forever, but it will not control me or keep me from living my life to the fullest. My “Like a Boss” means that I will invest my time, effort, energy, resources, in the people and the causes that are nearest and dearest to my heart. I will do my best to live this life in a way that empowers my children to grow into THEIR calling, their future, their own life.

So, I guess that means that “Living This Life Like a Boss” means never quitting, recognizing how far you’ve come, overcoming your “bang ups and hang ups,” doing better for the next generation, and not letting LIFE make you quit.

Forever In His Grip,

LB