Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Joys of Raising Girls

This post is #49 in a year-long series ... Through this series of posts I plan to share our family's experiences during our 17-year-old daughter's year-long battle with brain cancer, which began in February of 2008. My desire is to process through the events of that year from the perspective that a decade of time has brought ... for myself, really. But if you'd like to follow along, you're welcome to join me.

I grew up with two brothers. Well, actually one of them arrived (Surprise!) when I was already practically grown up. So, I just always assumed that when I got married someday and started having babies, I would have boys. When I was expecting 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 about a month 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.  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 turned out to be!!

And these are just a few of the joys I've experienced in 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 decided 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 thicker.  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.

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 the expense of all these lessons!  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, especially now!

4. Shopping! First, the fun part is shopping for them ... then the fun part is shopping with them. I always loved shopping for the girls ... the aforementioned matching outfits, those white lacy socks, the Easter dresses, shoes, prom dresses ... but shopping with them was even better.  Bethany and I still have a great time shopping together. Hannah and I were also 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 the '90's the '80's. She seemed to really enjoy critiquing my outfits as I tried them on and giving me fashion advice.  I loved it.

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 blew up with incoming texts. All of which we were paying ten cents each for, whether she answered or not. Of course, we wanted her to be able to answer, so we sprung for the texting plan, and it was a great way for her to stay in touch with her friends when she was in the hospital.  Bethany and I now text each other almost daily, sometimes multiple times a day, and I love it!

6. Watching Pageants. The girls and I had a lot of fun watching the Miss America pageant over the years ... talking about which dresses we liked the best, who had the best talent, which girls totally flubbed the interview question, and of course, pulling for our favorites. Good times.

7. Eating.  If we were shopping, and we got a craving for a Krispy Kreme or a treat from Sonic, we would stop and get one!  And nobody knew but the two of us, so the calories didn't count, right?

8. Chick flicks. Who better to watch a sappy romance movie with but 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 today, if Bethany and I are riding somewhere together, she introduces me to her new favorite songs and I love that.  Somehow, neither one of my girls ever 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!

No comments: