I look at my daughter and her friend, here, and remember when I was eighteen. It doesn’t feel so long ago. I realized that I am not grieving her leaving our home anymore, but have had a tightness in my stomach remembering when I left home and wishing it had been different for me. I was not like my daughter. I didn’t know I was lovely. I didn’t speak with confidence and easily accept when I was ignored. I didn’t feel very useful and wasn’t joyful unless I was running (literally and figuratively). But, I held onto the promise that maybe, one day, my life would be “good”. Good meant joyful, wanted, useful, and part of something that “worked.” Somewhere along the way during a family tragedy I had missed the message that I was already capable of being those things, and it wasn’t until my own daughter was born that I began to realize God meant that for me all along.
It’s not enough to have food and shelter, or companionship and things to do. Not really. Just as it isn’t enough for some children to feel so special and at the center of everything that they lack humility. My desire as a girl and for these girls, is that they feel their place in something larger than themselves, in God’s plan. There’s the responsibility of acting their part along with the joy of being an integral, wanted participant. They need to hear about this from us when we “sit in our house, when we walk by the way, when we lie down, and when we rise up.” (Deuteronomy 11:19) It should be a natural, extension of who we are and everyday life. I hope that I have given enough of this to my children.
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These are gorgeous photos and lovely words. 🙂
Thanks, Vanessa! I can't believe how much easier it was to take portraits the second time around.
Beautiful! I love what you wrote. I am honestly a little choked up right now, because it just speaks so much to me.
Thank you, Jennifer. It's bittersweet to remember my youth, but only sweet when I see what it caused me to do for my own children. I am so thankful for that.
Oh, Michelle, from the very little I see from here, you are very lovely and your blog is a cozy place to visit. I'm happy that you finally realized the value in yourself.
Thanks, Elena. And I did finally understand in my early twenties. I don't think people realize that not sending a clear message to our kids about who they are is, in fact, a message. I probably go overboard talking to and guiding my children. Sometimes I can tell they are suppressing an eye roll and saying, "Ok Mama, I get it." But its good for me to right some of the things that were wrong in our family history, so they put up with my many conversations.