How is it Possible that I have a 20 year old???

Tomorrow is a big day in our household.  Our oldest child, my baby girl, is turning 20 years old.  It’s funny that we are surrounded by all of this snow right now!  About 2 weeks before our daughter was born twenty years ago we had the Blizzard of 1996.  When we brought our little one home from the hospital, it was sooo cold!

The last twenty years with our little girl have been nothing short of an adventure.  From day one, we were first time parents, navigating all of her firsts right along with her.  I can remember a time when she was very little that it seemed like she would always be that little, always need us to read her stories before bed, always want to be right by our side.  I knew she would grow up some day, it the distant future, a long time away from now.  A long time from now has now arrived.  What happened???

I am so very proud of our little girl.  She has grown up to be such a talented person, who writes and tells stories that can mesmerize a person.  She is so creative and sensitive, and so compassionate.  She makes me laugh, and her sense of humor is unique and brings a lot of joy to those around her.  I cannot wait to see what is in store for her in the next twenty years!

But still….how is it possible that I have a 20-year-old?????

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Why is it that when my husband pays me a compliment I get all weird and self-conscious?  I am a blessed woman in that my husband tells me regularly that he finds me attractive, beautiful, and desirable.  Part of me loves it, and I am very glad to hear it, but there is a part of me that pushes it away and hides from it.  Why do I have such a hard time believing it of myself?  Why do I struggle to accept it and be confident in it?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately because I have a daughter.  I have been thinking about the kind of mom I have been over the years and how I have modeled womanhood to her.  She is now 19 years old and is developing into a woman in her own right.  I see her struggling with confidence and I wonder how much of that is because she watched me struggle with my body image and with who I am?  Just what did I vocalize in her presence?  What response did I give to my husbands praise while she was listening?  How did I dress and carry myself in her presence?

I think that one of the many mistakes that I made as a mom was to model for her a woman who was not confident and who did not believe in herself.  A women who did not realize that my weight and my other physical attributes did not make up the whole of me.  Yes, I struggled with my weight for many years, but that did not detract from the beauty that I had (and have). When my husband looked at me he did not see a fat woman, but a funny woman, a beautiful woman, a loving woman, a desirable woman.  He saw his best friend.  I think I placed too much emphasis on the physical and not enough on the qualities that made me who I am.  If I could go backwards, I would show my daughter that physical stuff is not all important.  Even though I was a bit heavy, I was beautiful and I had a lot to offer.

I guess it isn’t too late for me to model a better attitude for my daughter.  The things that make me beautiful are not things like weight and my make-up.  It is my attitude toward life, my sense of humor, my compassion, my faith and my giving spirit that matters.