Next month my girl will be 13. I’m trying to figure out how that is possible since it was just yesterday we brought her home from the hospital. But, the calendar assures me on February 17, 2013, my baby will slide from tween to teen. Like most moms at this stage, I have mixed emotions. On the one hand, I wish we had more time … but, for the most part, I’m just excited.
I have willed myself not to rush through any of the stages in her life. From midnight feedings to teddy bear tea parties until now, I have been intentional about loving every season. If I’m totally honest though, those years of play dough and Polly Pockets were not my favorite.
Last night my girl fixed the waffles for our Sunday night breakfast for dinner. She’s nearly as tall as I am and wears bigger shoes than I do. She’s preparing for cheerleading try-outs in March and will get her braces next week. She’s funny and beautiful and now, more than ever, I really like her.
But I’m increasingly aware she is watching everything I do. She’s paying attention to what I say and if it matches how I live. She’s watching how I manage our home, how I handle conflict, and how I use my time. She knows what I watch on television and what books I read.
She’s paying attention to how I manage relationships. She sees how I treat her daddy and how I handle both my family and my in-laws. And, while she may not even realize it, she’s learning lessons about all of that.
She sees my friendships … who they are with, how much time I spend investing in them, and what sorts of things we do together. And she’s learning … what godly friendships between women look like. Our daughters see us and how we interact with other women. They model their own interactions after ours. Truly, in this way more than many others, it is very much “like mother, like daughter.”
These are some lessons I hope my daughter is learning.
- Give grace. Above all, I hope she sees me accepting my friends as they are and giving them the benefit of the doubt. I want her to know that the best friendships are all about allowing one another to grow and mature and realizing sometimes failure and hurt can be a part of that. But I want her to know that above all, my heart is to have healthy relationships and even to see broken friendships restored.
- Give time. My daughter is learning that friendships require time. Some of that time is about doing fun things together but sometimes friendships require sacrifice. When our friends are hurting or in need, we give our time to be with them, to encourage them, and to show them love in action.
- Give hope. I want to be an encourager in my friends’ lives. My desire is to see the best in them and to be a supporter of their dreams and goals.
Being a good friend is hard work. But it’s definitely worth the effort … and when we are good friends, we are also teaching our daughters by example to be the same. That’s a legacy worth pursuing!
How do you invest in your friendships?
We love (in)courage around here … our own Stacey is the head (in)courager! And one of my favorite things (in)courage does is invest in community between women … both online and in real life. Speaking of in real life, today registration opens for the 2013 (in)RL conference! Developed to give women the opportunity to connect with other women in their communities, (in)RL is all about friendship, connection, and community. Watch this video and then go sign up for the (in)RL meetup in your community. Get a group of your friends together and invite some others to join you for a weekend of encouragement, laughter, and connection. We promise, you’ll love it!