20 Father’s Days

20 years worth of Father’s Day cards. Oh how they have evolved since 1997. Despite the steady improvement of my handwriting, some things never change.
It may seem as if the little girl who could barely write her name in 1999 is not the same little girl anymore. In many ways, she is.

I’m still as mesmerized by my father today as I was as a child. No matter how much I have grown up in the past 20 father’s days, I will never outgrow my love and admiration for my Daddy.

Happy Father’s Day to the “bestest Daddy.”

Picture Perfect

Do we really want a picture perfect life or do we simply crave perfection because of how unattainable it is?
After a year full of changes, both big and small, I have come to the realization that nothing will ever be picture perfect; although, I have come close a few times.
Picture perfect is a matter of opinion. My idea of picture perfect may differ from yours. How unfair of me to compare myself to you? After all, we only post select “picture perfect” moments for everyone to see. I like to refer to social media as one’s daily “highlight reel.” When we become so caught up in creating a picture perfect moment for our highlight reel, we will eventually rob ourselves of the joy we may find in the raw emotion of the present.

All too soon-but prepared nonetheless

My world stopped for a second when you rounded the corner of that stadium last week. In the hustle and bustle of moving home from Meredith, starting summer school, and writing 200 thank you notes, you took the back seat as you frequently do. Never complaining, always allowing me to “do my thing” as you do yours. I know many people must relate- it’s easy to get caught up in graduation announcements, parties, and ordering a cap and gown that you forget that an actual graduation is going to take place. It didn’t hit me until about 3 hours before it started. I was sitting in 90 degree weather saving seats for the blessed event. In typical Haley fashion, I was the first person other than the graduates to arrive. I marked my territory as sisters are often so good at and I couldn’t help but stop to have what I refer to as “one of my moments.” All too soon, you grew into a remarkable young man. I have fond memories of what my mother would call “bossing you around.” When we were younger, Charlie copied everything I did. He sat when I sat, stood when I stood, spoke when I nodded and then…. he grew a few feet. He towers above me and ironically, is now my role model. Being your sister has been such a joy. It is hard for me to let go- and even harder for me to share you with the world. I still see that little boy that looked at me as if I was the queen of the universe. No matter how mad I have made him, he has always treated me with love and respect in return. His future is bright because of his dedication to ensuring a job well done and his genuine compassion for others. He is like my Daddy- a hard worker. He began his job yesterday. I cannot help but beam with absolute pride. He has walked through many challenges with a smile on his face and joy in his steps. He sees the best in everyone and never meets a stranger. That sweet baby doll little brother grew quickly before my eyes and is off to take on the world. This realization was tough and my mascara wasn’t a good match but fewer times have I been prouder to sit outside in 90 degree weather and save seats with a table cloth. I have no doubts of his future success- and no doubt that I’ll always be the girl he prioritizes before anyone else (other than Mom- he’s definitely her favorite). Congratulations to my baby- best of my love.

Thank you, Mama, for being a parent, not a friend. 

My mother was not my best friend growing up and that’s ok. In fact, it’s more than ok. Hear me out.

Mama and I disagreed quite a bit when I was younger. Then, I couldn’t stand her for it. Now, I couldn’t be more grateful.

The older I get, the more respect I have for my mother. She never let me leave our house in an outfit she felt was inappropriate to win my praise or be seen as the “cool mom.” I couldn’t always do everything I wanted. I was taught to honor my commitments and manage my time accordingly. Mama had rules and expected you to follow them. If you chose not to, there were consequences. There was no negotiation. She was the mom and those were the rules. She did her job as a parent.

Mama made every effort to raise a daughter who loved the Lord, loved others, and walked with dignity and self respect. I know this wasn’t easy for her. I am quite stubborn and set in my ways. If that’s not enough of a challenge, I don’t have much of a filter. I’m the outspoken person in our family. I’m sure my mother still stops breathing when someone asks me a controversial question. She knows I’ll give them more than they bargained for instead of the politically correct answer they were expecting. What’s the fun in that?? Although I am far from perfect, I say this to say: had my mother let me walk all over her as a child, I wouldn’t have had a chance at being independently successful as a young lady.

The day my parents dropped me off at Meredith, someone asked my mom if it was hard for her to leave me at school. Of course she replied yes, but she also said, “I have spent almost 19 years raising Haley to make good decisions. I am confident she is fully capable of that. If not, I have not done my job as a parent.”

Moms, I urge you. Be your daughter’s parent. Don’t try to be her best friend. There will be times that it feels like she hates you and that the phase will never end. It does end. She won’t hate you. She will grow to love and appreciate you for it. I am living proof.
If you are scared of what may happen if you disagree with your child, think about what will happen if you don’t step up and do your job as a mom.
The example you set as her mother will have a huge impact on her life. If she sees that she can bend the rules with you, she will know there is no substance behind your words and pay little to no attention to your counsel in the future.
When you watch your daughter graduate and go to college or begin a career, will you be able to say, “I did my job as a parent?”
For her sake, I hope you can.