So Proud of My Girl…She’s My Hero!💙💪🏻🤓🙏🏻

We just got home from our family vacation to Yellowstone. It was beyond beautiful, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to share the wondrous scenery of that place with my parents, husband, daughter, and niece. My Girl is 13 now, and going through many changes and growing pains. We’ve navigated them pretty well so far, including a few middle school lessons in dealing with disappointment. I’ve taught teenagers for ten years now, and I’ve long anticipated (sometimes excitedly and others anxiously) my daughter’s arrival to this stage. She is intelligent and kind, strong-willed, and has a confidence that it took me decades to gain.

I don’t write about her much because she’s her own person, a lover of reading and writing, and her story belongs to her. However, today we received notification that the scores for this year’s standardized tests were available; she was so excited to see the results because, well…school is her “thing”.

(And books…part of her prized collection👆🏻📚✔️)

I must interject here and say that as a teacher, I’m not a huge advocate of standardized tests, nor am I a fan of the stress placed on students with challenges who struggle to answer enough questions correctly to go on to the next grade or graduate. But that’s another can of worms I won’t open right now.

While I’ve been busy and many times ridiculously preoccupied with all things breast cancer related for the past 5 years, she has immersed herself in books, allowing stories to whisk her away from a reality that was at times just too much for her to process or understand. Her friends and many of the kids around her have spent the past several years developing a passion for sports or other activities, and she’s been reading and enjoying meeting with her church’s youth group. Sports are given a huge amount of attention where we live, so I have seen the struggle she’s faced of not necessarily fitting “the mold”. Next year, her horizons will expand at school to include Theatre Production, Student Council, and Leadership duties with her church Youth group.

So, today, when my girl looked at her scores and beamed with pride when she saw that she scored in the 98th percentile in Writing, and ONE-HUNDREDTH percentile in Reading, I couldn’t help but burst into tears. Her Lexile score is 1600; equivalent to what is required for Grad Students in college. Remember, she’s only starting 8th grade next year. She wishes to be a journalist, and is already researching the best colleges for her area of interest, and plans to become a Foreign-exchange student during her senior year in high school. Although she’s grown up in a rural community in a Southern state, she longs for a life in a bustling urban area on the East Coast, with plans for extensive travel.

While I know that life is not always easy, and she’s sure to have her share of challenges along the way, today I am beyond proud of her determination and dedication to living God’s intended purpose for her life. What a beautiful thing to witness her strengths and hard work aligning with her goals. I believe in her more than anything, and I cannot wait to see her journey continue to unfold.

What a blessing it is to be a Momma to My Girl. Wishing all parents the blessing of seeing your kids achieve all of their dreams. Prayers for all of our children to have the faith, strength, and confidence to pursue whatever they desire that is good. 🙏🏻💙

Here’s to a life that’s peaceful ahead for us andthem.

What is a Dad?

Throughout my life, I’ve been blessed to have the opportunity to have two men who have played the role of Dad. My precious daughter has shared this same experience. This has allowed me to re-evaluate what it means to be a Dad, and what makes someone worthy of this title.

To young girls, a Dad is usually a larger-than-life hero. They are strong, supportive, and adoring of their little ones. They sometimes tend to be over-protective, only wanting the very best for their baby girls. The pride in their eyes shines brighter than the sun.

As we grow up, and begin to recognize the humanness of our Dads as they witness our evolution into young ladies, this relationship can become strained. Their need to protect is challenged by our need for independence. How difficult that must be for them to release the grip, knowing that the world is filled with others who do not value their most prized connections.

Sometimes, because our Dads carry wounds from their childhood, they are unable to carry the weight of the burden of Fatherhood as easily as before. Relationships become strained, leaving both parties feeling a little lost and misunderstood. Many years are spent searching for what was lost. This was my experience with my Daddy, whom I was only able to reconnect with during his final days on earth. The forgiveness and acceptance we shared during that time remains one of my life’s greatest blessings.

However, I was extremely lucky to have a Bonus Dad who was a constant, and still is. He didn’t quite know what to do with a little girl when he married my Mom; I was 10. He’s never been an overly affectionate individual, but his love has always been apparent through his support, actions, and conversations. He also grew up lacking a Father figure. But, somehow, has been able to make a life that was more than comfortable, consistent, and accepting of me throughout every stage, including Motherhood. The love he has for my daughter is beyond anything I could ask for her, replicating the adoration I felt from my own Papa. His role of unwavering dedication to my Momma and me has had a tremendous impact on the trajectory of my life, and I am eternally grateful that she chose him for us over 30 years ago.

My daughter’s father has sacrificed so much in his life to live nearby and be available to her. He left his career in the military early to give them 5 years they would not have otherwise shared. The bond they have is precious, and their brilliant minds understand one another deeply, even as she goes through her teen years. I am beyond grateful for the selflessness and hard work he has displayed for the benefit of our daughter.

The man I’m now married to is an awesome Father to his own children, and loves Maggie just the same. He listens to her, empowers and supports her, and I know she is blessed to have another strong man as her Bonus Dad. When she found out at nine years old that we were getting married, she squealed with delight and jumped, flinging her arms in the air. I was certain then, and I still am that he was a blessing to her as much as he is to me.

Fathers come in a variety of forms. But, to their little girls, their love means the world. The decision to show up and be available is really the only thing that matters. There is no such thing as the perfect Dad, only boys who become men, doing the best they can every day to make life a little better for our girls.

Thankful on this Father’s Day for all of the Dads in my life. Wishing every man a memorable Father’s Day, and the blessing of gratitude from those you love and support. 💙

Dear Mom: You MUST Let Them Fail Early🙏🏻💙

Difficult parenting moment of the year… Today, I attended the annual awards ceremony for My Girl, who is 13 and finishing up the 7th grade. She received an award for a piece of literature she submitted for a contest. And every year up to this point, she has received “A” Honor Roll certificates. Seeing the disappointment she felt (😢) when she realized that this year, she missed “A” Honor Roll by 1 point…in P.E.; she made an 89 for one six weeks was one of the toughest things I’ve witnessed.

I’m not a huge fan of grades that end in “9”. However, I am a fan of letting My Girl face real consequences (in this situation, of her “don’t want to’s” during a rough patch of the school year) of her actions. So…I let her feel what an 89 felt like, and today, she knew she was one point away from achieving all “A’s” for the year.

I am definitely going to give her the kudos she deserves though. She did manage to make all “A’s” in all other classes (4 pre-AP) for the entire year. She’s super smart, she’s wise and strong, and I see in her a great deal of leadership potential. I can now add determined (more so than before), as I can see her setting her sights on doing whatever it takes to avoid feeling the disappointment of being so close to achieving her personal best again.

So, I am sharing this experience to encourage all parents to LET YOUR KIDS MAKE MISTAKES, and make them when the effects are not life-altering. Let them know that you LOVE THEM NO MATTER WHAT, and that any mistakes they may make DO NOT change that!

I know it’s hard! I know you want to call that teacher and ask questions. But it’s so much better to learn these lessons when the stakes are not too great and the pressure is bearable. Sometimes, experience truly is the BEST Teacher! 💙🙏🏻

It’s Time to Put OUR KIDS first!

It starts with my daughter, she heard the news before I saw her.

Another school shooting…this one in Texas, so much closer.

The day had just started, kids barely settled in class.

The quiet that follows the bustling hallways through which they daily pass.

To hear them describe it brings about a palpable too familiar grief.

I can’t fathom how many were in shock, and utter disbelief.

As teachers, we show up each day because we believe in every one.

Giving all we have to guide them, help them find where they belong.

God, help us as we navigate the waters of these days.

There shouldn’t be so much fear attached to a learning place.

So many kids once sought safety not found at home in school.

But now, I wonder where they can go when their minds must be so full?

They know no different, can’t see it doesn’t have to be this way.

We must change the situation, and stop allowing the delay.

The future belongs to young people, and it’s our job to clear

The path for them to learn in peace, there’s no more room for fear.

I am a professional teacher, I give all I have each day.

To make sure the kids in my room know they matter, and help them find a way.

I show up again and do my part to support your most precious possessions.

I’m asking for your help; stop arguing and find solutions!

I know things happen, and some of them are out of our control.

But now, that excuse won’t work, we can’t afford the toll.

My calling is to empower and teach; I do not wish a weapon to wield.

I’ll never see a student as the enemy as long as I’m in this field.

So come together, make decisions; get equipment, whatever it takes.

Because we have business to do, lives to change, just do it for the kids’ sakes!

🙏🏻A Poem of Prayer for My Teenage Daughter’s Journey Through Middle School🙏🏻

If you met my 13 year-old daughter,

You’d know she’s a blessing to me.

Wisdom exceeding her years,

Just trying a teenager to be.

Although boys are not yet her focus,

Her heart has been broken by life.

Not trying to create any drama,

Just fighting to overcome strife.

With a heart as big as Texas,

She worries about those whom she loves.

Watching family members face severe illness,

She’s kept faith in her God who’s above.

So, no, she’s not your typical teen,

She cares not about what others wear.

But she gives all she has to her loved ones.

And if you need her, she’ll be there.

It hurts my heart to see her

Keep trying her best to conform.

When I know that God made her special,

To show others how to weather a storm.

While her gifts may not be the ones sought

By those looking to fit in a mold.

I have no doubt they will serve her

As she grows more courageous and bold.

So many kids face the pressure

To stand out and be the star of the school.

They must keep their opinions inside,

Do what’s asked of them, follow the rules.

Well, I was one of those who tried,

To please everyone with all I had.

But I realized many years later

On the inside, I was quite sad.

I’d spent so much energy complying,

There was none left for me to see…

The unique gifts and beauty inside me,

Everything God intended me to be.

So when I became a Momma, I knew

That I’d do whatever necessary

To empower my girl to be herself,

In spite of societal norms to the contrary.

So while this part of life may be a challenge.

And at times hard to see the big picture.

I have faith that her strength will continue to grow,

And her gifts will lead to amazing adventures.

I’m beyond proud to be the Mother

Of a girl who’s true to her higher power.

And I’ll walk beside her through every step of this journey,

Knowing God’s plan is greater than ours.

When it seems that you’re lost in the masses,

And can’t find the place you belong.

Please remember that you’re already there…

Where God placed you; He knew all along.

Instagram: peacefulahead