Monday, April 21, 2014

10 Things I Want My 10 Year Old Daughter to Know

April 21, 2004. Parker Elizabeth is born and her new journey begins.
My husband knew a family several years ago around the time Parker was born with 4 amazing kids. Dumbfounded with how polite and mature these children were, my husband was drawn to ask the Dad what was their secret to having such great kids. The answer he gave my husband was branded into my mind the minute I heard it. “You need to teach your kids everything they need to know by the age of 10.” True or not, it became a constant record playing in the back of my mind and the mental ticking clock began.
After Parker’s 9th birthday last year, I began to feel the hour glass sand slipping even quicker. One year to go. Have I taught her what’s important? Does she grasp how important her faith is? What have I left out? When push comes to shove, what are the “nonnegotiable 10” that Parker needs to know? Hence a blog was born.
April 21, 2014. 10 Years Old & so grown up!
Parker Elizabeth, this is my love letter to you on your 10th birthday. To be who you are and the amazing, unique girl that God has created with a purpose. My spiritual light.
1.Your faith is your own. The baton is handed to you on this race of faith. And although we hold the baton together for a short time to make sure you have a good grip, Mommy and Daddy do eventually let go so you can take it and make it your own on this race. It is your Bible to read, your prayer time, your relationship, and your opportunity to live each and every day for God.
2. Confidence in yourself. You are truly “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalms 139:14). Your long legs and love of dance and volleyball. Your secret curls underneath your hair that you wish no one would ever know about. The way you can spend hours reading and still beg for just one more chapter. Your beautiful voice that only your bedroom walls have the privilege to hear.
3. Puberty! All this body changing stuff is fortunately and unfortunately perfectly normal. And I know it’s difficult to navigate your way through it all and to know how to adjust to each and every step. But I need to let you in on a little secret. Although you may feel like you are the only odd ball having to go through this, I am confident that every other girl in your class is tumbling down the same path. I also want you to know that every time you scream my name from the bathroom, my heart stops for a brief moment wondering if this is the time it begins.
4. Boys. Ugh. I know you say they are gross. But believe me, one day there will be one that catches your eye and you will realize that maybe not all of them were as gross as you had originally thought. And for the record, that’s ok. We will giggle together over how he makes you laugh and we will even cry together on the nights when hearts are broken. But know confidently that God is already preparing your husband for you even now on this day as you read this letter. It's never too early to pray that he has a heart for Jesus.
This automatically leads me to my next thought.
5. Always, always, always be true to yourself and who God created you to be.  Let no boy, friend, or person make you feel the need to act, talk, or live any different than who you know you are meant to be. Protect your body and keep it for yourself. Your “likeability” comes from your character and not an action, an outfit or how much skin you show someone else. Your body is YOUR body and no one else. Don’t ever accept a comment or inappropriate touch. Let the chameleons be chameleons and let your true colors stand out amongst the rest, even if you stand alone, stand firm.
6.You are not me. Day after day it is as if I am reliving my own childhood through your eyes. I struggled then with how to make it all work and I struggle even now watching you go through similar situations. Many times I lack confidence to help you the way you may need to be helped. Although situations may be similar, I also need to recognize that my life is not your life. You are your own person, your own set of hopes, dreams, and goals. God has a plan set apart from your Daddy and I and one that I yearn more than ever to see each and every day play out.
7. Listen. I have no doubt that God has set you apart for a special purpose. You have taught me how to sit, soak up, and listen. He is speaking to you. Teachers and friends may think you are gazing off into space and not paying attention when I know without hesitation that you are soaking in every sound, conversation and moment around you with nothing left unturned. You can recount who was in a room, what they were wearing, where they were standing and the many conversations that were taking place as far back as your earliest years. Make sure you continue to create the space to listen to God and not allowing anyone to conform you to a different way of soaking up the world around you.
8. It’s ok to be wrong. I can appreciate your need to be the best at everything you do. Truth is you will get it wrong more times than you will get it right. One of the hardest things to learn is to not just recognize when you’ve made a mistake, but to figure out how to make it right. Much like ripping off a band aide, it’s painful at first. You’re worried someone may think different of you or be disappointed. But truth is, many times the worry involved in admitting we messed up is from ourselves and no one else. Admit when you have messed up, say sorry when you need to and move on to make it better next time.
9. Be the one. Be the one that speaks to the new student no one else will approach. Be the one to greet someone with a smile even when smiling is the last thing you want to do. Be the one that stands up for the child being picked on while at recess. Be the one that helps pick up the books that have fallen out of the students backpack, even if you don’t know them. Be the one to hold the door open for the person whose hands are overloaded. Be the one that offers a part of her lunch (even her favorite fun snack) when your classmate forgot their lunch at home. Be the one that can sit quiet and not feel the need to defend the truth even when kids make up lies about you. Be the one that is good to friends. Be the one that doesn’t say mean things to other girls just because it seems to be what the group is doing. Be the one for one other person.
10. I am doing my best. I may not get it right every day. There are plenty of opportunities missed, harsh words spoken and regrets of how I should’ve handled it differently. But please know that every day I consider it an incredible miracle to know that you call me Mommy and that God has entrusted someone like you into my care. I promise you one thing, I WILL ALWAYS try my best.

Happy 10th birthday Parker Elizabeth. As hard as it may be, don’t be in such a hurry to grow up. Your future IS exciting and full of wonder but YOUR TODAY is where God is hidden in each and every mundane event from car rides to school, bed time routines, and movie nights. Each moment is a memory and a time together and one I will forever be so grateful!
I love you!

2005, 1 Year Old

2006, 2 Years Old

2007, 3 Years Old

2008, 4 Years Old

2009, 5 Years Old

2010, 6 Years Old

2011, 7 Years Old

2012, 8 Years Old

2013, 9 Years Old

2014, 10 Years Old


  1. Happy Birthday Parker!! You are such a smart, beautiful girl insode and out. Dont' ever change.

  2. So well written...Such a wonderful girl with a wonderful momma!