Tuesday, January 19, 2010

T-bone -- My Daughter, My Friend

"Watching your daughter being collected by her date feels like handing over a million dollar Stradivarius to a gorilla." ~ Jim Bishop
So yesterday was T's photo shoot. As previously mentioned, she is participating in a local pageant and needed some new photos to submit for the Photogenic category. We really lucked out weather-wise. The weekend had been so gray and dreary but MLK Day was gorgeous!
These are NOT the finished product. These are just some pics I snapped with my own little camera while trying to be unobtrusive and not irritate the photographer. http://www.robertnorrisphoto.com/ He was fun and low-key and really let T do her thing. She had 3 outfit changes: denim/white T/cowboy boots, black leather and a tutu, a skirt and shirt w/ black pumps.
T-bone or Daughter #1 as I fondly refer to her, is an amazing, resilient young lady. She had a rough year (a bad break-up with her boyfriend of 1-year, her first "real" serious boyfriend), she had some friends "issues" . . . found out the hard way who she could trust, who she couldn't and who will ALWAYS have her back. She survived it all but it left her a little gun-shy, a little afraid to put herself out there again and like someone. So, basically, the little f**ker who dumped her messed her up for a bit but I think she's back on track now and better than ever. I think yesterday's photo session brought back some of the confidence T had lost. I caught a glimpse or two of the "old" T-bone (or, as I commonly refer to it as: "pre-breakup T"). I saw that twinkle in her eye again, that confidence in her step. As a parent there's nothing you won't do for your child and I just want my two girls to grow up to be fun, fearless women. T is very unusual for her age . . . she's smart, she's pretty and she really knows what she wants to do with her life. She has very specific opinions and ideas about what she will and will not do. Words cannot possibly express how I incredibly proud I am of her. She truly is a shining star and I know whatever she decides to do in life, she will do with class and grace (with a little bit of sass thrown in for good measure).
"A mother's treasure is her daughter." ~ Catherine Pulsifer, Inspirational Words of Wisdom
She is so sassy and so much fun to be around. She truly is a joy to me. I think we have a wonderful close relationship now and think we will only get closer as she gets older.

A daughter is a little girl who grows up to be a friend. ~Author Unknown

“Find a guy who calls you beautiful instead of hot, who calls you back when you hang up on him, who will lie under the stars and listen to your heartbeat, or will stay awake just to watch you sleep... wait for the boy who kisses your forehead, who wants to show you off to the world when you are in sweats, who holds you...r hand in front of his friends, who thinks you're just as pretty without makeup on. One who is constantly reminding you of how much he cares and how lucky his is to have you.... The one who turns to his friends and says, 'that's her.'”
"Daughters are like flowers, they fill the world with beauty, and sometimes attract pests." ~ Author Unknown

"A daughter is a mother's gender partner, her closest ally in the family confederacy, an extension of her self." ~ Author Unknown

To My Daughter at Fifteen:
Beloved daughter, we have arrived at the time of life where I cannot give you everything you want and need. We have come to the time where you must learn to walk alone. That is hard for me, but it is right and good. It is the way things should be.
Listen to me now, for there are things I want to tell you as you stand, trembling, on the edge of womanhood.
I know that boys have become fascinating and mysterious to you. They live in a strange world of their own, the world of young men. It is a world of new muscles and deepening voices. It is a world of astonishing energy and physical movement. I know your eyes are drawn to them. I know your heart beats faster when you watch them. And I know you dream of a boy who will love you.
I also know there are girls at school who giggle and fawn over the boys. They lean in close, laughing hysterically at something he said and letting their shoulders bump. They know how to let their hand rest gently on his shoulder or his thigh, just for a moment. Just long enough. No, I do not know where they learned to play this game so well.
Now, my young woman. Now have come the days of your choosing. You are both discovering and deciding what kind of woman you will be. You are deciding what of your life will be hidden and what you will show. Choose carefully, for what shames you now may serve you one day. And what serves you now may one day make you ashamed. Many girls will lose themselves in this time. They may find themselves again someday, but many years will be lost.
Hear me now, daughter, for my place in your life grows smaller every day. And I would give you a blessing while I am able. Come to me, because I know you. I know that you still sleep with your blanket. I saw the Dr. Seuss book laying beside your bed. I know you have one foot in each world. Come to me now and receive my blessing.
You are a strong young woman. Your mind is strong, as are your opinions. Strong and well-formed. You have not traded what is precious for what is fleeting, though life these days would have been easier in some ways if you had.
You are a tender young woman, compassionate and kind. You believe in goodness and work for it. You care about the feelings of others. You are a loyal and faithful friend. You are brave enough to trust others, and others are not afraid to trust you.
Your faith in God is not simple or falsely stated. Your understanding of God is a growing, hurting, questioning, struggling thing. This too is as it should be.
You are a young woman who knows what love is. You have been loved and are loved. You understand love and will settle for nothing less. You will accept no facsimile, reasonable or otherwise. Listen to your heart when it comes to love, because your heart is as soft now as it was when you were young and your heart rested gently in my hands. I guarded that heart as long as I could.
Those are the things I know about you. Here is what I think you should do:
Walk the halls of your school with your head held high. While others may worship at the altars of camouflage, conformity, and compromise, you stand above those shortcuts and soul slayers. Rise up, young woman, and do not be afraid. Rise up and be true to yourself. Let the strength of your presence transcend hair and clothing and music and boys. Let your true colors show in the halls and know that many in high school have scales on their eyes. They only see what they want to see. Many will not see you. There will be times when you walk the halls and feel invisible.
But here is a secret that I know. One boy will see you. He will see you in the middle of the noise and the energy and the hype and the crowds. He will see your strong walk and your eyes. He will listen to the answers you boldly call out in class. He will hear your voice and know your power. He will watch you until he knows you, and then his heart will fall into his stomach, for he will understand that there is only one like you.
Look for him. He is the only one that matters. Do not listen to boys who say they love you. Instead believe in the boy who wants to cherish you. If you hide now, ducking into the crowd like so many others, dressing and looking and acting and praying for safety, you might indeed be safe, but the only boy that matters will miss you. He will miss you because he is looking for a girl like no other. And you will have become just another girl in the crowd.
Your heart now rests in the hands of those who might hurt you. That’s hard for me, but it could not be any other way because you would not leave your heart in my hands. If I must give up your heart, then listen to my words.
Stand up. Stand out. Be smart and strong. It may be some time before you find the one who can appreciate who you are. So be it. Settle for nothing less. Because if your heart must rest in the hands of another man, I want him to be a man strong enough to love a strong woman.
Go into the world, my string of pearls. Go into the world and make me proud.

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