Texting Trumps Talking

This week I've been appreciating texting and the way it has helped my relationship with my teenage daughter. In fact, I'm not sure we could have navigated the middle and high school years without it! There are so many things to say and so many of them are better received in written form.

Mornings can be hard for us. Stress over getting up and out the door early doesn't lend itself to pleasant conversations. It's so nice when I see this after a less than ideal interaction before school.

Texting also allows us to discuss things that could easily escalate into a full blown fight if we were face to face. I feel like I can say no to requests easier over a text because there's an opportunity to write out an explanation and a chance to consider each other's words before responding. Curfews, for example...

Much easier to negotiate like this than with whining, begging, and shouting...


Want to make a request that you know is not going to be well received? Try this...

Need to find out the dirt on a sibling? Maybe that new driver needs a little more instruction...

Last minute requests for school never get any easier...

Yes, texting can sometimes get a bad rap, but it certainly has provided a valuable tool for communication in the teenage years. It might seem impersonal, but there's a lot of our "voices" in there. I can "hear" her...

And can't every relationship benefit from another way to be heard?


Getting Fit

It seems like January inspires everyone to eat healthier and take better care of their bodies. Time to start new routines and make changes. We joined our local YMCA in November and I can see that the classes are much more crowded now that the new year is here.

Working out, a necessary evil that must regularly occur! I have no problem walking on a regular basis, but that's really the only exercise I enjoy. Now that I'm getting a little older though, I want to exercise in a way that builds muscle strength a few times a week. Lifting weights at home or while I watch TV?  Just not going to happen. I'll let those weights sit there for an eternity, finding excuse after excuse not to pick them up. No, I definitely need external motivation. That's why we decided to join the Y. I really needed to have accountability and a reason to get there consistently. Class will start with or without me, so I'd better be there, and everyone in there will keep going whether I'm actually doing the work in class or not. Plus when you're paying a significant monthly fee, you're more motivated to actually take advantage of the services.

I've found that the best time for me to get it done is right after the kids walk out the door in the morning. If I wait around until a later class and start doing things around the house, I get less and less motivated to go. Also, making myself get dressed (including putting on sneakers!) before the kids walk out the door just seals the deal. I'm going. The first 15 minutes of a class are mentally the hardest. The classes go for an hour and that just sounds like such a long time!  But, after 15 minutes and definitely after 30, my mood improves. By the time I've finished, I'm happy. Thrilled, even, to be done for at least two days. I give myself guilt-free permission to only go 3 times a week. Otherwise, I get burned out.  Gotta have some kind of reward for going!

So...that's what's working for me right now. I think I even see some muscle developing in my arms! What works for you?

Eighteen Candles

Today my oldest child turns 18.  This is a day that I've both dreaded and anticipated since the day we brought her home.  Obviously, I had an incredible amount of mommy hormones flowing through me, but I still remember lying with her on the bed listening to lullabies and tears starting to flow.  Three days already gone!  How could time already be moving so fast?  I can remember thinking, we only have 18 years with her.  That's not nearly enough time and how will I ever let go.

The years have indeed passed and I've continued to marvel at each stage.  What a gift God has given me to raise my daughter and see her move from baby, to girl, to now young woman.  There have been many days where mothering hasn't felt so magical, but my overall feeling when I look back is always one of awe and gratitude, full of an incredible love for her.

This is a big year for her, and for us.  She'll graduate from high school and begin the college adventure.  She will not live in our house full-time anymore and she'll have more parts of her life that are separate from us.  Now that the time is approaching, I view it with both excitement and trepidation.  I'm excited to see how her future will evolve and all that she'll become, while also wanting to hold onto the daughter I know today, right this minute.

Eighteen years.  It's a milestone for both the child and the parents.  It's a chance to reflect on all that goes into the parenting journey, all the hard work, sleepless nights, sacrifices, and sheer determination. It's also a chance to celebrate all the wonderful memories and moments that make life worthwhile, all the ways that having a child enriches your life and completes you in ways you never could have imagined.

Happy Birthday, my sweet girl!  You are a treasure and a blessing in our lives!

Twenty Years Together

This weekend my husband and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary by going back to the town where we bought our first house and had our first child.  It was amazing to be transported back in time like that.  When we sold that house and moved to another state, our oldest child was just 15 months old and we had been married for three years.  We were YOUNG!  So young, too young to even know that we knew next to nothing about life.  This weekend, as we walked the same streets where we'd pushed our first child in a stroller, I remembered the old feelings, the conversations, the dreams, the fears, the plans, all of it felt so close, so close that I could have just walked right back into that life and picked up right where I was at that time.  Things I hadn't thought of in years came flowing back into my mind and I was overcome by waves of emotion and nostalgia.

It was easy to play, "What if?", wondering how our lives would be different today if we had made different decisions.  At this point, I can see how easily our lives could have followed many different paths and even feel a sense of regret that we didn't get to see how some of those other phantom lives would have turned out too.  There were so many things I would say to my younger self. People may have even said some of them to me at the time, but I wasn't paying attention.  Mostly, I would have said to relax and savor these moments more, that the clich├ęs are true, time really does fly and some day you'll miss this.  

We were also struck by how much our world has changed since that time.  No computers, no cell phones, no easy access to the happenings of distant family and friends.  We had only one car, no cable, and little money. Now the little baby in that house is a senior in high school.  The young parents have owned four more houses since then and have moved to two different states.  They have five children and are busy with school, sports, and church activities.  Four cars sit in the driveway.  Media from cell phones, computers, and cable invade their lives at all hours of the day.  The husband travels a lot and the wife juggles the kids and home.

But deep down, those young twenty-somethings are still the same people they were all those years ago.  They still love each other and want to experience their lives together. Twenty years sounds like a long time to be married.  We don't feel it though.  We don't feel as wise as we thought we would. We're still learning how to love, to sacrifice, to support, to share.  There have been hard times and times when we may have wished to quit, but those times are far outweighed by all the blessings, all the laughter, and all the experiences we've shared.  I hope we're privileged to enjoy many more walks down memory lane together.  May we look back on where we are right now in another 20 years with as much love and gratitude as we did this weekend.