I grew up with two brothers. Well, actually one of them arrived (Surprise!) when I was already practically grown up. So, I just kind of always assumed that when I got married someday and started having babies, I would have boys. When I was pregnant with Hannah, my first ultrasound was inconclusive...they could not tell if she was a boy or a girl. By the time I had my second ultrasound, her arrival was only a couple of weeks away, so we asked them not to tell us...we wanted to be surprised. And I was definitely surprised when the doctor said, "It's a girl!" a few weeks later. And I was surprised again a few years later, when an ultrasound confirmed that I was having another girl. But what a joy raising two girls has turned out to be!!
So, without further ado -- "The Top Ten Joys of Raising Girls"
1. Dressing Them Alike. My girls were about 3 1/2 years apart...just the right age difference to have fun dressing them alike. That probably lasted until Hannah was about 7 or 8 years old, when she figured out that it really wasn't that cool to be dressed like her little sister!
2. Fixing Their Hair. When they were little, it was so much fun buying the big hair bows, and experimenting with all kinds of different hairstyles. Both of the girls had naturally curly hair, although Hannah's was much more thick and curly. Bethany's hair was very fine, and white-blonde. I remember a sweet little old lady in the grocery store telling me one time that she had "angel hair." As much fun as it was to fix their hair for them, it was also nice when they got big enough to fix their own hair. Then there's the seemingly constant search for ponyholders and bobby pins...."I don't know -- Have you checked the floor? Or the vacuum cleaner bag?" Can I get an Amen?
3. ______________ Lessons. You can fill in the blank here. I believe at some point or another, we've done dance, gymnastics, piano, and drama lessons. And what does Mom do while her daughter(s) are being trained in the fine arts? Make a flying run to Wal-Mart, balance her checkbook, grade papers, fill up the gas tank, get caught up on her reading. Nowadays, Moms have iPhones and Kindles...makes sitting and waiting much nicer, doesn't it? And the expense of all these lessons! My piano lessons back in the early '70's were 50 cents. No, I am not kidding. I would bring in my two quarters and lay them on the piano right before my hour-long lesson. I don't think Brad has any idea to this day how much turning our daughters into well-rounded people cost him. But it's all worth it at recital time. It's so much fun to see your child perform after they have worked so hard. Those recital home videos are priceless!
4. Shopping! First, the fun part is shopping for them...then the fun part is shopping with them. I've always loved shopping for the girls...the aforementioned matching outfits, those white lacy socks, the Easter dresses, shoes, prom dresses. And Bethany and I had a great time shopping together yesterday...we even found this awesome little shop with cheap costume jewelry and purses. Hannah and I were really good shopping buddies...the last year or so that we shopped together, she seemed to take it upon herself to move her mom out of
5. Texting. I never would have thought I would enjoy texting. I fought getting the girls texting plans on their phones for a long time. Why pay to type when you can talk for free? Then Hannah went into the hospital, and her phone practically exploded with incoming texts. All of which we were paying ten cents apiece for, whether she answered or not. And, of course, we wanted her to be able to answer, so we sprung for the texting plan. And now Bethany has unlimited texting, which is a good thing, because her texting capacity certainly seems to be unlimited. Bethany and I text each other several times a day (never during school hours of course, just in case Brad reads this...he's her principal!) and some of the best conversations we have are via text.
6. Watching Pageants. The girls and I have had more fun watching the Miss America pagent over the years...talking about which dresses we like the best, who has the best talent, which girls totally flubbed the interview question, and of course, pulling for our favorites. Good times.
7. Eating. Stopping for a Krispy Kreme doughnut is a perfect example of this. I would never do that with Brad. We are far too practical when we're together. We don't have time to stop, and who needs those calories anyway. But with my daughters, practicality is out the window. If we want a doughnut, or dessert at a restaurant, we go for it. And nobody knows but the two of us, so the calories don't count, right?
8. Chick flicks. Who better to watch a sappy romance movie with but your teenaged daughter? As long as it's clean, anyway. And unfortunately, those kind of movies are a little bit hard to find. But when you've got a good one, there's no one more fun to share it with than your daughter.
9. Listening to Music. Hannah and I spent a lot of time in the car together during the year she was receiving cancer treatments. For nearly that whole year, we drove either daily or every other day to Little Rock (50 miles one way) for radiation treatments or platelet infusions. We passed a lot of that time listening to music. We talked about the music we liked and didn't like and spent lots of time singing along with the radio. I've put several of those songs on my iPod now, and every time I hear them, I'm transported back to those fun times in the car. And Bethany always has a new favorite song that she wants me to hear. Somehow, my girls have never quite picked up on my affinity for '80's music.
10. Inside jokes. "Jokes" isn't really the right word here, but I can't really think of another one that fits better...maybe "secrets" would do it. Both of my girls and I had our share of inside jokes...we could say one word, and start each other laughing. And then there are those secrets...like the three hand squeezes that say, "I love you" and the four squeezes in reply that say, "I love you, too."
I love my girls. I'm so thankful for the assurance that I'll get to spend eternity with them. And if we have had this much fun together on earth, how much greater will our joy be in Heaven? I can't wait!