Monday, April 4, 2016

Set the World on Fire: A Birthday Roadtrip

North Texas Bluebonnets

This weekend, my daughter and I went on a road trip.  It was her birthday, #13.  The boys both had commitments and trying to plan a weekend for all 4 of us would have postponed the celebration for several weeks.  The disappointment in her eyes at the thought of having to wait that long was enough for me, so, we packed our bags, she and I, and headed to the big city.

Loaded up and rolling down the road, we had several hours of time to talk about her plans.  At first, that meant just what stores she planned to visit and what she wanted to see.  But eventually, the plans stretched out a little further in the future.  What classes did she want to take next year?  What did she really love and was there something else she wanted to do?  What would she do if she could just do EXACTLY what she wanted and not what she felt like she was expected to do?  These questions are perfect for a newly-minted teenager trying to find her place in the world and for a forty-something mom doing the exact same thing.

We spent our time exploring fancy neighborhoods, fun chain stores and the makeup counter at a big department store.  We rounded out our shopalooza with the icing on the proverbial preppy birthday cake: the Lilly Pulitzer & Vineyard Vines stores.  We ate exactly what we wanted to and stayed up late in the hotel watching Clueless and Pitch Perfect.  And the best part of all?  We didn't set an alarm to get up in the morning.  As if...

I spend a lot of time with my kids.  Most of it is spent driving them from one place to another or cheering them on for whatever they're performing or competing in.  Archery?  A more quiet sort of cheering.  Tennis?  Politely clapping.  Dance?  Smiling and waving from the wings after the drama of the dressing room.  This weekend, though, had nothing to do with anything she was DOING.  She was just being.  Just herself.  We celebrated the person she is and the person she is becoming.  Away from the busy-ness of our routine, I was reminded of what a precious gift her dad and I were given in this beautiful child.  I want to hold on to that, to remember that in the weeks and months ahead.  She is a unique and sweet soul and we have been entrusted with her care for such a short time. My prayer is that we are able to help her find her own way in this world.  The world doesn't need more people following a trend, following the herd.  It needs more people standing up and standing out.  It needs her being who she really is and it needs you being you and me being me.  I want to give her the tools to be that confident and sure of herself.  And in helping her, I hope I can renew that same confidence for myself.  Let's do this.

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