Wednesday, October 11, 2017

It's About the Relationship

At Christmas I gave my oldest daughter a journal book for us to write to one another back and forth in and I will probably start this tradition with my second daughter next Christmas. My hope is this is something we continue through their teenage years. At only eight years old I can already see both hers and my emotions getting in the way of being able to effectively communicate with one another at times. I want this journal to be a place where we can go after our emotions cool to reopen the door of communication between us.

We're only a few months into this third grade thing and I can already tell we've turned a corner here. A fellow mom of a now fourth grader warned me third grade was a big transition year. As Ave and I have talked about how school is getting much more intense with more homework, actual letter grades and so many tests it seems like, and more competitive sports, I've mentioned how this is just the beginning of things getting harder.

It makes me sad on one hand to think that already the easiest part of her childhood is already over. I know as she's stepped up onto the more competitive soccer field she's struggled self esteem wise with it, I've seen her hide the one poor grade out of about a dozen other A/B papers she brought home and then burst into tears when I asked her what she was hiding because she didn't want us to know she struggled with something the first time, and the friend drama already started in second grade and I imagine that's only going to get crazier from here. Though she hasn't hit puberty yet, I am afraid to see how much more emotional she's going to get in the years ahead.

I know we have high expectations of her, and my dad so kindly pointed out to me sometimes as parents we don't have realistic expectations of our kids. He's right. She's only eight, and I've always treated the girl as being older than she is. Though we may butt heads, she's a really great kid.  But she's my first and there are going to be so many growing pains between us as we figure out this preteen to adolescent to grown daughter thing in the next ten years.

Here's the thing, mommas, I'm going to make a shit ton of mistakes. Probably way more than her, but because I'll push her to excel, push her limits so she can reach her max potential, hold her accountable even when it breaks my heart because she thinks I'm the most awful mother, and I'll try to do what I think is best for her in the long run even if it temporarily makes her angry and frustrated with me because I'm her mother first and her friend second, the years ahead aren't always going to be easy. Her emotions are going to the get the best of her and though I'm the adult mine will probably get the best of me too.

I wanted us to have a safe place to be a calm center for us, a place that was for building our relationship, not adding to the tearing down of it that can result in those heated arguments between mothers and daughters. The constructive criticism and redirection and "parenting" would all happen as the moments unfolded but this would be a place for us to reconnect and rebuild our relationship with positivity and gratitude for one another. Despite all the trials and emotions of this phase of our life together I want there to be no doubt in her mind of the depth of my love and admiration for her in those tough moments now and for her to hold onto years down the road when maybe I'm not there to remind her despite her struggles she is loved and will always being amazing in her momma's eyes.

She loves our little journal, and I can always tell when she's read it as the encouragement I leave her in there seems to remind her despite mistakes and struggles she may be having I still think she's amazing. It was from starting this with her that I decided to create Letters to a Daughter. Whereas my writing at first started as an opportunity to do something I have loved since the third grade, it has become so much about building relationships. First I wrote here on the blog to build relationships and connections with other moms. That's been an amazing experience for me.

But as a mother and a daughter myself, as I've watched friends my age start to lose their own mothers; as my cousin, sisters, and I had a smack in the face with our own mortality with a cancer diagnosis to one of us last spring that thankfully is in remission now, and our newsfeeds too often remind us of tragic losses of young mothers I wanted to create something that was for us as mothers and daughters. I didn't want my writing this time to be about creating a relationship between me and other moms- this blog has already done that- but I wanted to give something back to readers that would give them the opportunity to build two of the most valuable relationships they have- the one with their daughter and the one with their mother.

It will be for sale in paperback for $13.99 and hardback for $21.48 next Tuesday. I hope you can attend the the facebook launch party that is next Tuesday through Thursday. Join the event to see how you can enter to win a free copy and there should be publisher coupon codes I can offer throughout the event to get the book discounted. My goal is to sell 125 books in these three days so I can hopefully donate $100 to three different families medical needs- two of which have been readers here since the beginning in 2012.

As always, thanks for reading!

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