Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Birthday, Junior High Girl

Fourteen years ago today, I fell in love for the third time.

First there was my husband...and then four years later, a son. Twenty-two months later, on a Sunday morning, I gazed upon a tiny, pink bundle of femininity and began a new love relationship--with a daughter. And I was a little bit scared.

I had always known that I could be a mom of boys--I had two younger brothers growing up, and I could manage them just fine. But I don't have a sister and didn't have many girlfriends as a child, and during my second pregnancy, I realized that I actually was uncomfortable--afraid, in fact--of the idea of having a daughter.

Junior high was a tough time for me. It was then that I formed the opinion that girls--with the exception of my best friend since grade school--were not safe. My experience with junior high girls was that they could be sweet to your face, but make fun of you as soon as you left. They preferred beauty to brains. They were fake, insincere, moody, manipulative and sometimes downright mean. Maybe these girls improved during high school, but I wouldn't have noticed. I didn't trust any of 'em. (Though I wanted to and tried to.)

At the Christian college I attended, things totally turned around and I made wonderful girlfriends. And I've been blessed with rich female friendships ever since. But a daughter of my own...what if she was like a junior high girl? Or like I was, as a sister, bossy and controlling? Would we get into fights like my mom and I did sometimes when I was a teenager?

During my pregnancy, I faced these fears squarely. I prayed with a healing prayer minister about the wounds to my own femininity, and we prayed for me to be able to accept and take joy in a daughter, if the Lord decided to give me one. We didn't even know, at that point--I just had a strong feeling.

Well, that tiny little pixie in pink captured my heart--and brought new challenges into my life. I expected a daughter to be compliant, as I had been as a child, but Blondechick had a will--and a charm--of her own. When she was three, Daddy put her to bed and sat down to have a little talk with her about an earlier disobedience. At the end of his little speech, she reached up and tweaked his nose.

Fast forward 11 years.

She is a junior high girl...and she is a joy.

She is beautiful--inside and out. As a sister, she is trusted by her nearer brothers and adored by her youngest siblings. She loves babies and is highly regarded as a babysitter outside our own family. She has many friends, of both genders, because she is fun to be with and she knows how to draw people in--it's been a talent of hers since she was a toddler. She is a singer, a dancer and an actress, who's becoming a reader as well. As a Christian, she is sensitive to the Lord and to what He wants to teach her.

And as a daughter? We have grown so close that she seems like a sister. Of course, there are times when that will of hers pushes hard against her parents' authority and we have to draw the hard line. Of course, she still needs discipline and direction. But we talk, we shop, we cook, clean and eat together. We "mother" the little ones together. We trade shoes, jewelry and clothing. We pray, sing and listen to music together. We discuss her academic subjects as well as her hopes, fears and dreams.

What if we had put her in school for junior high? We thought about it.

I would have missed out on the joy of having a junior high girl around all the time; the constant companionship (taxing though it is sometimes on an introvert) of a daughter, a "sister," a friend. She might have turned into one of those junior high girls! And I would have missed out on the healing of this experience. For my fears--through prayer, obedience, and God's grace--have turned to joy.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! (Ephesians 3:20-21)

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of a junior high girl.

Happy Birthday, darling daughter!


Anonymous said...


Deborah said...

What a sweet tribute to your little girl! I also have feared having daughters...God has blessed me with just 3 boys so far, so I think He may have the same fears :) (tongue-in-cheek humor here)
I always liked girls, actually, and I do have a sister. It's just that after my first little boy, I decided that boys are EASIER and threw myself lock,stock, and barrel into being a "boy mom." I am not sure what I would do with a girl if I had one :)
Anyway, your post made me tear up! Very sweet! Happy birthday to your daughter!

Jennifer said...

your post is so sweet. Clearly your relationship with your daughter is one that brings you great joy, that shines through your writing.

As my oldest has neared the middle years, I've been alittle afraid. My junior high years were very rocky, and I had no one to help me. I've been afraid I will be unable to help guide my daughters through those years of emotional upheaval and confusion. Prayer has sustained me so far!

thank you for sharing your sweet relationship with us.

Jenny in Ca

Islandsparrow said...

Happy b-day to your beautiful girl!

And Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family! May the Lord bless and keep each one of you.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Blondchick!! That was a beautiful post - it allays some of my own terror at the thought of someday having daughters.

Also: I can't believe how grown-up she looks! That is a great picture.

tonia said...

Beautiful tribute! My sweet oldest boy turns 14 this coming week....booo hoo! But he is a blessing just like your blondechick! :)