For My Daughter…

As I write this, it’s the last day of school for summer for my daughter. Our town has an “Intermediate school”, for fifth and sixth grades. Come fall, my girl will move up to middle school (gulp), and this summer, she’ll turn twelve years old.  Twelve. The last ‘official’ year of childhood before being a teenager.  How does that happen so fast?

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There’s many parenting advice books out there, but no “manual”.  If there was, I wouldn’t read it anyway. Being a parent’s like being on a ship headed to unchartered territory, on a sea that’s sometimes calm and breathtaking, and other times rocked by wild storms making you seasick…but what an adventure!

I’m blessed to have an older brother to whom I’ve always been close. I would’ve loved for my daughter to have had a sibling, but she’s an only child. From the minute she was born, everyone, even strangers, constantly asked when we’d have another.  Now, I’m asked why she’s an only child. The truth is, we’re lucky to have our daughter. She’s the best blessing ever. My pregnancy was awful. Just about everything that could go wrong, did. We almost lost her at the beginning of the second trimester, with a fifty/fifty chance she wouldn’t make it. She stayed in a breech position, her head painfully “stuck” in my ribs several months. (She liked to be close to my heart). We were also told she’d be born with down syndrome. (“So what?”, we’d said. We’d shower her with love no matter what difficulties lay ahead). After an inconclusive amnio, it wasn’t until after she was born doctors realized that test was a false positive. She was a c-section, aspirated at birth, spent her first days in NICU, and was born with a hole in her heart and a large ovarian tumor. After almost two years heading to specialists to keep watch on those issues, both disappeared without medical intervention.  At two months old, she had laser surgery on an ulcerated birthmark. None of that matters now. She’s healthy and happy. So when she hits another childhood milestone, there’s a tiny level of sadness because, with an only child, I know I won’t get to celebrate that particular milestone again. Still,  I’m truly blessed I’ve been able to devote so much time and energy with her. I wouldn’t trade our close bond for anything. We have many similar interests, and even share some mannerisms. She’s such a blend of my husband and myself.

IMG_2124Each stage has been an amazing time.  No one can explain how fast time flies until you watch your child grow up. There’s trying times, for sure. The toddler years are exhausting. Putting your child on a school bus the first time takes everything in your power not to chase after it when it drives away. The hardest part of parenting is letting go. Stepping on Legos? Have My-Little-Pet-Shop figures everywhere? Trust me…one day you’ll notice they aren’t there anymore and you’ll miss the mess. Having a tween girl is wild! They can morph from sweet to snarling in a blink, like a minion to a purple monster. Special awards should be given to parents who can successfully clothes shop with a tween girl. And sometimes, parental requests will result in such severe eye rolls, it’s hard to believe there’s no ocular damage!  I know this stage, too, shall pass.

IMG_0691-001My daughter’s my friend. I say she’s “my buddy”, because we’re always together. However, I’m her parent first.  It’s my duty to keep her safe and following the correct path. Call me a “smother”, or “helicopter mom”, I don’t care. While I can be laid back, there’s some things I won’t budge on. In my home, there’s rules. For example, my daughter has a cell phone. Her email goes to my phone as well. Her phone is checked often, and I’ve responded to some of her friends’ chats, letting them know it’s me and I find something inappropriate. Privacy’s something that as she gets older, she’ll get more of. As a tween and teen, it’s earned with age and respect. Don’t get me wrong, I trust my daughter, but in this age of technology and immense pressure our children are under, as parents we MUST be mindful of outside influences. There’s time limits on technology in our home, and we always sit down to dinner together, even if it’s a quick or late meal.

My daughter makes me more proud than I ever imagined I could be! She’s already surpassed my dreams of what it would be like to be a mom. Her talents and accomplishments amaze me, and I immensely admire her compassion and kindness. It’s a privilege to be her mother. I may be shaping her as a parent, but she has shaped me, teaching me to see beauty where others might not (bats, for example).  She’s taught me to slow down and be mindful of the moments. There’s so many beautiful ones when you’re a parent.

June 2014

June 2014

Thank you, Dear Daughter, for being you! We love you…Happy Twelfth Birthday, my “little farmgirl”!  

Until Next Time… Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  1. Rebecca says:

    What a wonderful tribute to your beautiful daughter. it’s so obvious that you’re both enjoying the journey of learning together. Happy birthday Audrey.

  2. Adrienne says:

    Congratulations on having such a wonderful relationship with your daughter. You are both to be commended on making the best emerge from each other and encouraging your closeness. You are truly blessed!

  3. Ali - Farmgirl #12 says:

    Audrey is an amazing person and you guys are wonderful parents!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Ali, thank you. I know that Audrey thinks the world of you, too, Farmgirl! (Of course, so do her parents)! Can’t wait to catch up with you at our next Farmgirl Sisterhood Chapter Get Together! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  4. Joan says:

    Thank you for being you!!! Just what a Mother should be. God bless.

  5. Beverly Battaglia says:

    Nicole, this is such a wonderful tribute for Audrey to read too. I just did not realize until reading this how you have become an astute parent in these times. Very hard to be a parent now although when you were little and growing up we were very close too. You thought sometimes I was too protective! I love the first picture of you and Audrey with your beautiful smiles. She was such a joy as a baby girl. The picture of you two at Easter,with the pretty dress from Texas I bought for you, is another one I really like.
    Looking forward to doing more grown-up things with Audrey when I get there. Love, Mother

  6. Mindy says:

    Wonderful Post! I have a 10 year old daughter. She is WONDERFUL! But, I see the “teen” signs ahead. 🙂

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Thank you, Mindy. Enjoy every moment with your girl, it goes by so very quickly, and from the age of your daughter on, they change so dramatically at every blink. Farmgirl hugs, Nicole

  7. CJ Armstrong says:

    Beautiful tribute! You probably know that my daughter, Robin, and I have a special relationship. She’s an adult with a family and, while I’m her mother first, we are best friends and very close . . . a bond that is special and a precious treasure.
    Enjoy every moment with your girl!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi CJ, I always love to see the pictures and posts of you and your daughter. The love and friendship between you both is evident and so very beautiful. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

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