It's another beautiful fall morning, here in my world. Despite it being a bit chilly, I'm sitting on my porch wrapped up in my fleece robe enjoying my morning coffee. Daylight Savings happened last night, so it's only 8AM right now. I love fall daylight savings because I feel like I have an extra hour in my day to enjoy.
It's day two of my Thirty Days of Thankful posts, and even though I don't plan on doing them in any specific order of importance, I figured I really needed to start out with being thankful for the people that are the most important people in my life: My children.
They really deserve a day individually, because there's just too much to say about them when I put them all together. The post would end up being WAY too long. So, I figured I'd start with the oldest and go from there.
Even though today is just about Peanut, I thought I'd say this: My children are my world. My everything. They give my life purpose and meaning. Everything I do is somehow related to or for them. I couldn't even imagine what my life would be like without them, what I'd do with myself, or how I'd spend my days. They keep me on my toes, keep me inline, and keep me extremely busy. The years of joy they have given me can't really be put in to words. The only words I do have are the fact that they have been the most amazing 14 years of my life. Regardless of what struggles I go through, what hardships I may encounter, my children have always been able to put a smile on my face. The love I have for them is unconditional, and nothing will ever change that.
I gave birth to my first bundle of joy at the age of eighteen. While I was pregnant, I was young, unsure how I'd support a child, and scared out of my mind. During my 36 hours of labor, I worried what on earth I'd possibly be able to give a child. I had nothing. I was in no financial state to support a newborn, I was barely in a financial state to support myself. But, the minute my sweet Peanut was placed in my arms, I realized that none of that mattered. It wasn't about what I had to give to her, it was about what she was going to give me. The overwhelming sense of love, pride, comfort, and fear. This tiny person in my arms would be my everything, and it was now my job to love, support, and protect her. The material things weren't important, as long as I woke up every morning determined to show her how much I loved her and how much she meant to me, the rest would fall in to place.
Now, fourteen years have gone by, and my little Peanut is no "little" Peanut anymore. She is an amazing young lady. She has a smile that can light up an entire room, she has a laugh that is contagious, she is absolutely BEAUTIFUL, and she is smart, oh my is she smart. And "smart" doesn't really do her justice. She has the ability to problem solve, think critically, and whip through any assignment or problem that's given to her. Peanut loves to read, loves to learn, and is actively involved in school. Her matureness is well beyond her years, and I can have conversations and debates with her that I'd never think to have with any other 14 year old.
I have always considered Peanut my "mini-me". I see a lot of myself in her. The way she acts, her personality, and her devotion to her friends and education. You couldn't really ask for a more committed friend than Peanut. When her friends need someone to lean on, they can always count on her. She'll gladly give her friends someone to talk to, and she'll gladly give her advice and opinions on the matter. She won't sugar coat nor hold back what she's thinking, and is still figuring out that some people don't necessarily want to hear the truth, but prefer to hear what they want to hear. And that's something that I don't think she'll ever understand, and that's OK. She's an extremely honest person, and I think that's an amazing quality that she has.
The one thing that I'm extremely thankful for, when it comes to Peanut, is the fact that she tells me EVERYTHING. And, I know that some people will doubt that statement. I mean, what 14 year old girl tells their mother everything? Mine does. When she's got something on her mind, I'm the person she comes to. Whenever she needs advice, or just someone that will listen, I'm that person. And, I truly think she comes to me because she knows that I'm going to tell her what I think, regardless of whether or not she wants to hear it. I'm going to be honest. Brutally honest. And that's a quality we both share. We want people to be honest with us. But, it's not just when she needs advice. I get to hear about her day, what she's been up to, how her classes are going, and what's going on in her social circles.
That kind of trust and open communication doesn't come easy. I had to first and foremost explain to Peanut that I am her mother, not her best friend. When she comes to me, she expects to hear what mothers would say in certain situations, but I also have to be cautious how I handle the information that she shares. Thankfully, there hasn't been too much that has caused this type of dilemma, but it helps reassure her that if the time comes that she needs to share something that she knows I'll freak out about, I'll react the same way I do about anything she shares with me: With advice, brutal honesty, and work with her on a plan to get through it. She knows that what she shares with me is kept confidential, and unless the information is related to some form of illegal or dangerous activity, will be kept between us.
But, I think the one thing that has kept this line of communication open and made it stronger is the fact that I never take anything she says as if it's not important. I vividly remember what it was like being fourteen. I remember trying to talk to an adult about stuff that was going on in my life, that I thought was very important, only to be brushed off. Adults sometimes forget this. When the boy she likes doesn't like her back, or a friend says something mean about her, or a girl flirts with her boyfriend, I don't blow off what she has to say as being "teen drama". I'll actively listen, give my opinion, share some of my stories of when I was in that position, and let her vent it out. I NEVER make it seem as if what she has to say is insignificant or unimportant. I never give her the lecture about "just" being a teenager and how she'll have much bigger problems when she's older. And, I truly believe that's the reason my daughter still comes to me with everything.
Something else I'm extremely thankful for is the fact that she actually enjoys spending time with me. Peanut loves Mom & Me days when just her and I spend the day together. We have frequent shopping trips where she and I hit the town for some new clothes or accessories. But, we can also spend the day driving around and never buy a thing. It's not about the shopping, it's about the time we spend together. Peanut actually enjoys my company, and that is something I'm very thankful for. While she has an active social life, she still manages to fit time in for me. She always checks with me before making plans to see if I had something planned to do with her, first. She will gladly rearrange plans so that she and I can do something together. She also wants me to attend school functions, such as debate competitions, with her. While most teenagers cringe at the thought of their mom chaperoning an event, Peanut is the first one to volunteer my services. I get along very well with all of her friends, and that's important to Peanut. She knows I have no trouble picking up a friend or two and taking them for a day out together.
With all of this I can share about Peanut, I hope I'm making the point that I absolutely adore my oldest daughter. Despite her coming in to my life at a time of uncertainty and doubt, she paved the way for me to make my life worth something. She unlocked a part of me that released the determination and willpower to make sure that my life meant something. She still keeps me on my toes and reinforces the fact that I am important, and that I have people counting on me. While being a parent isn't about what my children can do for me, but what I can do for my children, Peanut does so much for me. She makes me want to be a better parent, a better person. I see so much dedication and commitment in her eyes, and I know that she is destined for greatness.
I was truly blessed, fourteen years ago, when a 8lbs 1oz bundle of joy was placed in my arms. Little did I know how much of a blessing she would truly be. And what a blessing she continues to be each and every day.
So, today I say I am thankful for my Peanut. My Mini-Me. My oldest daughter. For she has taught me so much about love, honesty, commitment, and loyalty. She continues to amaze me each and every day. She has brought so many blessings in the past 14 years, and I know those blessings will continue to multiply each and every year.
Have a wonderful Sunday, everyone!!