Not so long ago, she thought that she could do anything. She could run faster, jump farther, and swing higher than anybody else, or at least she thought she could. She could write amazing stories, paint beautiful pictures, and make friends without even trying…and she knew it. And her smile…her beautiful smile lit up a room.
Then something happened. She started to grow up. Things with friends got difficult, and she would often come home in tears because she felt left out. Much of her confidence waned because she could not quite figure out where she fits. No longer did she feel like she could do anything. Most days she felt like she could never measure up…that everybody else was prettier, smarter, funnier, and more likable than she was. That beautiful smile of hers did not come as easily as it once did.
That is adolescence for you.
It is a roller coaster of emotion that is difficult for her, and heartbreaking for me. I remember all too well what that was like, and some days I wish that I could hide her in a bubble and protect her from all of those unpleasant emotions, but I can’t. She needs to learn about relationships and struggles, and there is no way to learn that except through experience. I know that she will someday be a more empathetic person because of having gone through these heartbreaks, but that does not make it any easier when she is in the middle of them.
The other day we were driving home from our favorite pizza place. Greg and the older boys were gone for the weekend, so Elise sat in the front seat next to me while Kate and Carson sat in the back pretending to be the “boring” people that they hear on talk radio. I started talking to her about how things were going, and she brought up some of the struggles that she was having. They mostly revolved around typical adolescent insecurities. I KNOW how that feels, and I saw an opportunity to share with her a little bit about my experience and how I was able to move beyond those feelings. So, I did. I shared what I thought was wisdom, but she did not really see it that way. She felt like my “wisdom” was making it sound like it was “so easy” to accept yourself, and she didn’t feel like she could do that right now, regardless of what I said. Instead of feeling better after talking to me, she felt more frustrated.
So much for being helpful.
I felt a little bit deflated after that conversation. I could relate to what she was going through, but she did not want to hear my words. Perhaps I was saying it all wrong. The words of my heart were probably getting jumbled up as they hit my lips. If she could only hear what was in my heart, she would want to listen. Right? But as it stood, we were not seeing eye to eye. I was stumped. Teenage boys are a completely different experience than 12-year-old girls!
As we arrived at home and I pondered what I should do next, I looked over and saw my sweet Elise texting her friends with her iPod touch. She is deprived of a phone at this point (and Instagram…because I am mean…), but she does not let that stop her from texting any and all of her friends who have access to an iPod, iPad, or iPhone. As I was trying to figure out how I could get through to her, it hit me like a ton of bricks. How does this girl like to communicate? Via text. And that is exactly how I am going to communicate with her.
So, I sent her this text:
When she read it, she came out and gave me a hug and told me thank you. It certainly went over better than my attempt at talking to her…at least in this instance. So, I got an idea…
What if I scoured the internet for uplifting quotes like this one, made them into shareable memes, and sent one to her every day? Would those words eventually sink in?
Although it kind of drives me crazy that she lives and dies by texting, if this is one way that I can connect with her, then I am going to do it! Before you say anything, let me assure you that this will not replace our one on one conversations by any stretch, or become our primary form of communication, but it will certainly not hurt to share a few uplifting words with her via text each day.
And so it begins…
I want my daughter to know that she IS beautiful, talented, capable, and worth so much more than she sees right now.
A simple text a day…
Can it make a difference?
I hope so.