On a Learning Curve

Life may not be easy, but it's always an adventure.


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Growing Up

My babies are growing up, and they won’t be my little girls much longer. I don’t write this because we regularly spend $200 on groceries every time we shop. And it’s not the way that G’s legs seem longer each morning she tromps down the stairs. Instead it’s how they’re handling changes in the world around them.

For the past several months, our tightly knit neighborhood has been rocked by cancer. I’ve written about Sofia’s battles, but there is another family nearby with 2 parents who are fighting 2 different cancers. In our own family, my favorite aunt has been undergoing chemotherapy for yet another type of cancer. The hardest one to ignore, however, has been Sofie’s, and the hardest questions to answer have come from S and H. Yesterday they finally understood that they won’t be able to celebrate Christmas or the next round of birthdays with their sweet friend.

As their mother, I want to shield my girls from unnecessary pain, but I can’t shield them from everything. And I see value in allowing them to walk beside their young friend as she faces something so much harder than many of us understand. (If you’re still reading at this point, Daddy, go get the box of tissues. I could use a couple anyway.)

My girls never met their brothers Seth and Owen or their sister Lucy, but they know where they are. They know what heaven is, and they don’t fear the life after this temporal one. They know that Sofie is going to get to play with Lucy and the boys before they do. They also know that there is no pain, illness, sadness, or death in heaven. And they know that this is where Sofie will meet Jesus face to face.

The screen is growing blurry now for some reason, so I’m going to post a picture instead of writing more on the subject.

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This poster is the collaboration of neighborhood kids and moms who gathered yesterday to turn a friend’s craft supplies into something beautiful for Sofie. The children decorated butterflies, and I followed a clever friend’s idea for attaching the butterflies to a foam board. While we hadn’t intended to be symbolic in our artwork, I think a butterfly is entirely appropriate for our little friend.

Meanwhile, S made a monumental decision yesterday: she finally agreed to cut off most of the hair that she’s been growing for the past 3 years. S has thick blond hair with tons of natural wave, but she despises brushing her hair and is not very particular about rinsing shampoo after she applies it. Since swim team practice begins on Monday, we’ve been suggesting coaxing her into donating her hair before 6 weeks’ worth of daily swim practice does its damage. When I told her that a friend’s daughters had recently donated their hair to Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths program, she was intrigued. She didn’t want to donate the 10 inches that Locks of Love requires, and Pantene will accept 8 inches. I’ll leave you with a few pictures to show you the transformation.

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Before: The shock of what she’s going to do has just registered

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During the cut: Amused and unsure

 

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After the cut: Is there enough left for a ponytail?

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The last picture: Moms are so annoying when they tell you that you’re beautiful.

Yes, my girls are growing up. And yes, I’m not sure their dad and I are ready for them to grow up quite so fast. But they’re doing it well: they’re becoming young ladies.

 

 


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A Conversation with My Childhood Self

This is my second post for Compassion’s Blog Month. My assignment? Have a conversation with my childhood self. Here’s what I would want my much-younger self to know:

Laura, you’re going to learn a lot of lessons in the coming years. Some of these lessons will come easily, while others will cause you some pain. But take it from your grown-up, almost-40-year-old self, you’re going to learn plenty!

1. Don’t take yourself so seriously. You’ll have plenty more bad haircuts, and there’s no sense in crying over your hair. It will grow out.

3rd grade school picture, c. 1983. Notice my monogrammed sweater and wings.

3rd grade school picture, c. 1983. Notice my monogrammed sweater and wings.

2. Take some art lessons! Don’t quit piano in 9th grade! Your academic aspirations won’t suffer if you foster your creative side.

3. Do some strength training and put some muscle on your upper body. You’re not going to like what’s in store for your knees.

4. Don’t be so shy. Yes, it’s no fun that I’m saying the same thing that your mom tells you, but you’re going to do a whole lot of relocating in your adult life. Force yourself to be more outgoing so that you’ll know how to make friends wherever you live.

5. Don’t get too attached to the thought that you don’t want to move around as an adult or that you’d never marry someone in the military. Hint, hint.

6. Forget about waiting tables over summer break. You’ll never have a career in the restaurant world, but you will spend a ridiculous amount of time teaching and coaching children.

7. Seriously consider writing at least one research paper farther ahead than the night before it’s due. You’re really going to appreciate sleep when you’re older!

8. Continue to memorize Scripture. Powerful verses are going to come to mind exactly when you need comfort and wisdom the most.

9. Learn to trust God completely. Know that He is sovereign. You might think that you’re going to fall apart at times, but He won’t ever leave you to face your struggles alone.

10. Don’t judge others when you don’t know their circumstances. You’ll be amazed at who your true friends are later in life.