How and Why I “Spoil” My Daughters

triumphant trio hands

From the day they were born, my girls have been my first priority. They are the best gifts I’ve ever received and my life would be incomplete without them. They continue to amaze me every day with their unique personalities and diverse talents and I know they both have bright futures ahead of them.

As I only have my daughters half of the week, I do my best to make the most of every moment with them. This involves “spoiling” them, but perhaps not in the way you think. I don’t shower them with gifts and let them get away with “murder” but I make sure they’re happy. I make their beds in the morning, I fold their clothes, I make their meals and I keep my home relatively tidy and clean. Do I assign them chores? No, I do not. Do I think this is stunting their growth or preventing them from developing into independent women? Not for a second. They’re kids and I want them to enjoy being kids for as long as possible.

I realize that there will come a day when my girls no longer live in my home and they’re out on their own making their own lives. I won’t have to make their beds or meals anymore or fold their clothing. I know I’ll miss it. While I want them to have their own fulfilling lives, I’m not looking forward to having a home devoid of my daughters. Therefore, I want us all to be happy during the years we’re living together.

In my almost 40 years of existence, I’ve discovered that the only way to learn how to exist on one’s own is to actually live on one’s own. As I went from living with my parents to living with my future husband/now ex-husband, I didn’t know what it meant to live alone until I was 34 years old when my separation agreement was filed and I moved into my own place. I lived in a townhouse-style apartment for a few months before moving into the home I have now. Experiencing days and nights without my girls was heartbreaking for several months. I was lonely and felt abandoned and lost.

I don’t want that for my girls. I don’t want them thinking that there’s something wrong with being on their own. Thus, I spoil them by showing them that a woman can take care of herself, be independent, maintain a home and achieve all sorts of amazing things without a partner in her life. I’ve learned a lot in my almost six years as a homeowner and my girls have seen me tackle all sorts of jobs on my own including fixing the furnace, staining the deck, mowing the lawn, sawing tree limbs and building a fire pit. When something needs doing, it’s up to me to do it and the more I succeed, the more they see what’s possible for their future.

Another way I spoil my daughters is by trying to be a good role model and setting the best example I can. I try very hard not to complain about feeling fat even if I’m feeling fat because I want them to always have a positive self-image. I want them to see that I love myself and my body (curves and all) and that I exercise and eat good food for health reasons and not because I want to look like some impossible standard set for woman by pictures in magazines and movie actors.

When the time comes for my girls to strike out on their own, I know that I’ll have done all I can to prepare them to tackle real world challenges. I’m not perfect by any means and I make mistakes, but I learn from those mistakes and I keep improving. I want my girls to know that no matter how “grown up” they get, they can always count on me to “spoil” them with advice, a listening ear or an extra hand for home maintenance tasks. We are and will always be a triumphant trio of powerful women.

The best presents

girls standing by lilac bush

Last night when I was talking to my youngest daughter, Jaycie, on the phone she asked “So you don’t want any presents?” in disbelief. I’ve been telling her since the weekend that I don’t need “things” on my birthday and that she and her sister Jordan are the best presents I could ever hope for. In response to her question last night, I reminded her of that again, but as she’s 8 and still very much in love with receiving and opening wrapped presents, I dont’ really expect her to understand.

I know how blessed I am to have my two daughters and they bring joy to every day of my life. It’s still hard during times when I don’t have them, but I keep myself busy and make sure I get my work done so I don’t have to do it when I have them. There’s never enough time to do everything in this life, but my girls come first and they always will.

While romantic love has eluded me and may continue to do so for the rest of my life, I’ve got the love I give to and receive from my daughters and that’s more than enough.

My baby can’t be 12!!!

Jordan loving up her little lemur and sugar glider.

Jordan loving up her little lemur and sugar glider.

When I told my oldest daughter Jordan that I couldn’t go to sleep until I wrote a blog post about her turning 12 today she said “I’d just go to bed,” in her best pre-teenager grumble.

“Sure,” I replied. “Then someday 5-10 years down the road you’ll bring up the fact that I wrote a blog post about your sister’s birthday but not yours.” To that she simply rolled her eyes and went back to reading her Xanth book in bed.

She might think I’m nuts now but she is very much like me and I recognize that so I know she’d be hurt if I didn’t blog about her 12th birthday. Aside from all that, I WANT to write about her birthday!

Jordan's flaming cupcake. I tried to do a snowflake from Frozen.

Jordan’s flaming cupcake. I tried to do a snowflake from Frozen.

My baby can’t be 12! 12 years old??? I remember when she was 12 seconds old and I didn’t even know what gender she was! Then they laid her on my stomach and said it’s a girl and I felt a huge swell of happiness, fulfillment and joy flood my heart and soul. I was meant to be a mom, it came so naturally to me. Well, it came naturally once we left the hospital and got away from the “friendly” nurses trying to tell me what to do and that what I was doing was all wrong. But I digress…

Jordan amazes me every single day. She’s smart, talented, artistic, thoughtful, considerate, kind, caring and yes, a bit of a devil too sometimes. She has the Corbin talent for sarcasm but that’s not really a bad thing. She is who she is and I love her unconditionally. We do butt heads more often as she grows older but I know that deep down she’s still my little girl with the sweet heart.

Flipping through her new Xanth guide with Avi wandering through...

Flipping through her new Xanth guide with Avi wandering through…

 

She doesn’t see the need to follow all the latest crazy fashion trends like chalk in the hair, shorts so short they’re barely underwear, shirts so small/tight/short they’re indecent and the awful hooker heels that I won’t even be caught dead in. She’s a good girl with a great head on her shoulders and I raised her to know right from wrong.

Really, Mom? A picture of me eating?

Really, Mom? A picture of me eating?

 

Do I think I’m done raising her though? Heck no!!! My teenage years were less than kind to me and I’m going to do my best to help her see that she’s not alone and that everyone goes through rough spots, no matter how put together they seem on the outside. We’re all humans with the same muddled emotions but I have faith in her strength, poise and ability to channel all that productively into her creativity and her very bright future! Happy Birthday, Jordan Pie! I love you =)

jordan blowing out candles

Just about to blow out the candles

The skewed concept of “beauty”

Image courtesy of bodyheart.com

I admit, when I was sick I watched a lot of TV. I happily caught up on several episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation as they show it every day on BBC America. I used to watch that show all the time with my father and we even saw the movies together in the theater. So I don’t consider watching TNG a waste of my time. What I do consider a waste of my time is enduring endless commercials hawking cosmetic products and potions for women.

If I were to buy into all the nonsense cosmetic products say to women, I’d believe that in order to be considered beautiful I’d have to have no pores, no wrinkles, no stretch marks, no skin discoloration and no uneven skin texture. I’d also have to have long, dark lashes that stretch out like spider legs, eye makeup caked on so heavy I look like a peacock, lips smeared with so much lipstick it looks and feels like lacquer and hair that flows to my shoulder in perfect, gray-hair-free waves. Well I’ve got news for you, none of that applies to me but I still know with 100% certainty that I AM BEAUTIFUL!

What I found really interesting about the commercials is that many of them say “9 out of 10 women noticed a difference” “90% of women saw less wrinkles” and so on. So basically it’s just women who are worried about how women look. Ask a man if he notices a reduction in a female significant other’s wrinkles, pores whatever and he’ll avoid that question like the plague! Thing is, I don’t really believe men give a flying monkey about women’s pores or fine lines. I highly doubt they want the woman in their life so shellacked in makeup that they can’t even touch her without getting it on their face, hands and clothing.

I believe that the best kind of person thinks that the women in their life are beautiful just as they are without loads of cosmetics and creams piled on. People who see the genuine, inner beauty of a woman don’t notice or care if she looks like a drowned rat from being caught in the rain or that her body isn’t as impossibly thin and flawless as the photoshoppped women on magazine covers.

Seeing the quote by Kate Winslet that I posted at the top of this blog was a slap upside the head for me. I have two daughters and the last thing in this world I want is of them to feel bad about themselves. From the moment I read Kate Winslet’s words, I’ve stopped saying negative things about my body. I told my girls that I love my body and the amazing things it’s done and will continue to do. I don’t care what advertisers try to shove down my throat, I refuse to buy into their skewed concept of beauty.

Girl Power!

Jaycie ready for battle!

Jaycie ready for battle!

I think being the mother of two daughters has made me an even stronger believer in girl power. Over the past few years, I’ve discovered just how strong I am as a woman and I do my best to teach and encourage self-confidence, courage and strength in my girls. Every day I see new evidence that they were born with great strength already and I feel it’s my job to help them unlock their full potential and realize the amazing things they’re capable of.

I recently started a new workout program called Les Mills Combat and I’m thoroughly enjoying it! There’s just something immensely empowering about kicking and punching imaginary opponents. Not only is it great exercise, it’s very therapeutic!

This morning Jaycie found the boxing gloves that came with the workout and put them on. They’re size small but even so, too big on my hands. They fit her about the same but I could tell by the grin on her face that she felt that same tingle of girl power I get when I wear them. There’s no denying Jaycie’s unique strength and I have complete faith that she’ll come into her own and make a significant difference in this world.

My oldest daughter, Jordan had her first semi-formal middle school dance tonight. Friday nights she’s always with her father so I told her I’d go down to the school and wait for her to arrive so I could take some pictures. This idea obviously didn’t thrill her but as her mother, I do occasionally invoke the right to embarrass her.

When Jordan arrived with Jaycie and her father, she was adorable! Er, I mean, a pretty young woman. I found myself wondering where my baby girl went and desperately wanting her back! I know that I can’t stop time though so I embraced the moment, snapped a couple of pictures and tried not to dote too much.

Jordan all dressed up!

Jordan all dressed up!

Jaycie was dancing along to the music coming from the gym and she’s so tall that if she’d been wearing a dress, she probably could have snuck right in without anyone knowing she’s only seven and not eleven or twelve.

Jordan joined her girl friends and went off to have fun and I resisted the urge to tell her for the hundredth time to stop slouching. Perhaps she needs to put on those magical combat gloves and learn how to punch, kick and fully unleash her untapped girl power!

The Sweetest Gifts

The owl from Jordan and the pencil holder from Jaycie.

The owl from Jordan and the pencil holder from Jaycie.

The sweetest gifts aren’t made of chocolate and they can’t be bought. The sweetest gifts are those created in love and crafted by hand. I received two such amazing gifts from each of my daughters recently.

On Christmas morning, my oldest daughter Jordan gave me a stuffed red and green owl that she’d cut out and sewn by hand without using a pattern. I was so touched, tears welled in my eyes. She has a true talent for sewing and is mostly self-taught and it was such a thoughtful and sweet gift! She knows how much I love owls and I put that soft, felt owl on my desk where it always makes me smile.

This past Monday when I picked Jaycie up from school she told me in a very excited tone that she’d made a gift for me even though it was months before my birthday. She said it was fragile and wrapped in newspaper. She was eager to give it to me but I suggested we wait until we got home rather than open it in the car. Luckily, we live less than five minutes from school, so Jaycie didn’t have to wait long.

The moment we walked in the door of my house, Jaycie fished the present out of her backpack. It was well-wrapped in newspaper and scotch tape and she said she’d put extra tape on it to keep it safe. I said she did an excellent job! When I finally unwrapped the contents from its two layers of newspaper, the sight of a hanging pencil holder made out of clay greeted me. It was a glossy red color and imprinted with hearts and other geometric shapes. Jaycie was so proud of the piece and I praised her beautiful work. She suggested I hang it on the fridge but I was worried it would break so I opted to set it on a shelf in the living room until we find a better spot.

My daughters are the sweetest gifts I can ever hope to possess in this world. They are my biggest blessings and my strongest motivation. With them, I am complete and together we are a formidable female force!

 

The Love of Little Girls

My girls are my world. They come first, always have and always will. When I have them, they are my focus. When I don’t have them, I miss them. The toughest part of my divorce was knowing that I’d have less time with them. However, I also knew that they deserved a happy mother and I wasn’t that while married to their father. I am a very happy mother now and just as loving, nurturing and caring as I was on the days they were born.

I feel very blessed that I have two little girls with such unique personalities and that they get along so well with each other! They both have certain aspects of me such as my curiosity, stubborn nature, sense of humor and creativity. Those aspects show themselves differently in each girl but they’re there. Jordan loves school and is excellent at it. Jaycie is very smart but dislikes school and would much rather be playing with her toys. What’s most important though is that we all love each other, get along and have fun together.

The girls playing in the fall leaves.

The girls playing in the fall leaves.

Doing some sort of peculiar dance...

Doing some sort of peculiar dance…

I have different ways that I bond with each of my girls. Jaycie likes to sleep in my bed with me sometimes and both girls love jumping on my bed. As it’s a memory foam mattress they just sort of practice falling on it which is always amusing. I help Jaycie with her homework as she often struggles thinking up sentences for the spelling words she doesn’t know the meaning of. She comes up with some cute sentences sometimes like “The hamburger crossed the road.” That one made us both giggle and shows her adorable sense of humor.

Jaycie walks Jordan down to the bus stop some mornings.

Jaycie walks Jazzmin down to the bus stop some mornings.

Lately Jordan and I have been bonding in her bedroom. She goes in there to do her homework when Jaycie is enjoying her TV time after finishing her homework. As I can’t write with cartoons on, I also go in Jordan’s room and we both sit on her bed and do our work. This has proven a good way to keep informed of what’s going on in Jordan’s life, as she’s more open to me when we’re both working. I tell her what I’m working on, she tells me what her homework is, and we commiserate about the “fun” we’re having.

Jordan multitasking by studying and petting Jazzmin.

Jordan multitasking by studying and petting Jazzmin.

Jordan multitasking by studying and petting Aviendha.

Jordan multitasking by studying and petting Aviendha.

My girls will always be my “babies” and my “little girls” even when they’re grown and out on their own. I don’t really know where the time has gone but I do my very best to enjoy every moment I have with them. I hope that they will always look back happily on their childhood and the times we all spent together.

Girls and I at Amesbury Flatbread Company

Girls and I at Amesbury Flatbread Company