Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Seventeen Again ~ A Letter to My Daughter


Seventeen means so many things to me. Seventeen has woven itself in and out of my life since the day I was born; and today, as you turn seventeen, it happens once more.

Your grandmother was Seventeen when she found herself pregnant with me and seventeen when she married your granddad and had me that August of 1973.

Seventeen years later, in 1990 on a warm August Saturday, your Dad and I got married and at seventeen, I was a wife. I cannot imagine how my mom felt letting me marry at such a young age, and I am thankful that you have your sights set on Jesus, schooling and career at this age instead of marriage. On that warm August afternoon in 1990 there were no doubts and no fears, only excitement for the future. I am sure that your dad and I could have made better choices and while there were things we both regret; you were were never one of those regrets. Three years later, on May 5th, 1993, you arrived; you were more than we had hoped for and we loved you with all we had in the best way we knew how.

Last night, like every birthday in between, we came together as a family for a birthday party that you really didn’t even want to have. We ate and laughed , had birthday cupcakes, virgin margaritas in pretty glasses and had our house full of love. It warmed my heart when afterward you told me that you were glad I had the party for you. This party, was admittedly, for me. I feel that this is the last chance to catch you in that divide between child and adult, and I wanted to revel in every second of it. If I had it to again, I would go back and even buy a piƱata.
When you were a baby, I pushed you to be independent, I pushed you to be your own person and on days like today, I wish I had let you be a baby more, let you lean on me more and ride on my shoulders instead of walking on your own. Today as you are on the cusp of becoming a woman, I have been observing how you are taking charge of your life and I am proud to be your mama. I am proud of the drive you have to go after a career that will be challenging and heartbreaking on some days, I am proud that you are learning much earlier in life than I did that your words have weight and meaning, I am proud that you love Jesus more than anything else in this world and that you have a heart for the hurting around you.

Where did this crazy-faced, cake eating baby girl go who was so happy to just have a Cinderella party? Gone is this little pigtailed girl and in her place is a young woman on the brink of first loves, first heartbreaks, first kisses, first car, first college experiences. Thank you for bringing me along on this trip with you. It's amazing to be your Mom. Digging through the photos of your life tonight, I cried as I saw those moments and faces that only come in certain stages of life. I am thankful that not only do you respect me as your mom, that you love me as a friend.

Don’t ever take the stages of your life for granted. It's okay to be single, it's okay to be in love, it's okay to be whatever you want. I am grateful for every fork in the road and every decision I have made because it brought me to today. Don’t ever worry about what others think of you, plow ahead into all that life has for you; and on the sidelines, I will be here, forever cheering you on as only a mama can. I hope some of these photos bring back the good memories for you that they brought me tonight.

I love you Cait, keep Jesus and your family first and be like me in this one respect, Make every Seventeen Count!


Monday, May 3, 2010

The Door

I came to the realization today that, in my heart, I am already a Nashvillian. As I sit in my house in Kentucky, with my yard dry enough that it could be mown today, I cried every time I looked at pictures from Franklin, Hermitage, East Nashville, Downtown, Hendersonville, etc. THIS is my city, this is the place I love and now, it has a lot of work before it to get it back to where it was before. The door of my heart is so open to Nashville, more so now than ever before I wish that I was there standing arm and arm with the sandbaggers and sump pump operators. Being able to tell people that we have extra room so come on over would at least feel like we are doing something.

My heart breaks as I think of children who don't have their favorite blanket or pillow and for moms and dads who have no idea what they will do because they have no flood insurance. Being an animal lover, I think of the many animals that are displaced. Being a small business owner, I think of people that if they lose their business, their whole world is turned upside down.

My heart hurts for the homeless person who's home is literally washed away. I think of how the two income family is not much different from the people who always reside underneath the Jefferson Street Bridge or have a tent or two off of Trinity Lane. Every Sunday and Wednesday, as we head down Trinity Lane to church, we will see a few homeless people, sometimes panhandling, sometimes walking their dog, sometimes just heading to the tents that you can see through the brush on the right hand side of the road right before the Pilot. The white & blue tarps are just visible enough for you to know they are there, and I wonder, as the brush becomes green with spring and summer, will we even see that? When we see these folks we always talk about it, how we are so blessed to not be without, how we are blessed for family that helped us when we could have been in that place, those tents on the side of the road.

As you watch this video below just put yourself there for a minute, for a moment in time and think of what you would do if this happened to you. This was swift and unimaginable and honestly, it will probably get worse for most people before it gets better. My heart breaks and my words move often today for God to show His face in this disaster, for Him to make himself known. Maybe He makes himself known in us, maybe it takes things like this for us to tap into the relationship with Him that we need.

Please continue to pray for Nashville families and businesses and homeless and churches that unity will bring us all together and that God will be glorified through this tragedy somehow. If you can help financially, please send to the red cross.

We have checked a few times and as far as we know, this door (and the house attached to it) is safe. This door makes my heart smile and gives me hope. It makes me aware that I will be there hand in hand with my neighbors through the summer and beyond, restoring a city to its beauty and wonder.

It's the door that will welcome us home when we get to Nashville in June. It's the door that many will go through for bible studies, cookouts, sleepovers, fellowship, yummy cup cakes and love. I am excited to share more behind this door with you but that will keep for another day. Just keep our friends and neighbors in your hearts and your minds and Keep Him First Always.