Say What You Need to Say

Bay at 15

Sugar and spice and everything nice — and a dash of personality

Joy like bubbles floated up and escaped as giggles from my mouth. I couldn’t believe it! What I had so dearly hoped for was true: I was going to have a little girl. That day–over 15 years ago– I left the doctor’s office with a beaming smile, and today that smile still lingers.

If you are a woman, there’s nothing quite like the idea of raising a little girl. (I’m sure fathers feel the same way when they learn they will have a son). During my pregnancy with Bay, I pondered all the things I would teach her.  I daydreamed about Saturday shopping trips and hangouts at the beach.  I hoped we would share common interests. Most of all, I wanted to teach her everything I knew about life and being a girl, which is a tough road on many levels. (Think surviving middle school drama, adapting to puberty, understanding boys, and growing strong in who she is in spite of the world’s pressure.)

Even with all that dreaming and hoping, I wasn’t prepared for how much I would respect this little chick-a-dee that was half-me. Oh sure, she rides the teenage roller coaster of female emotions and EVERYTHING is a big deal — including bad hair days and “I-have-nothing-to-wear” days. But how I revel the young woman she is becoming.

She’s sassy — in a good way– which is why we nicknamed her Sassafras when she was little. This sassiness shines through in a spunky, ambitious way. She’s made career plans–lofty ones– and she studies and works hard to reach them. This is all her own-doing; we’ve never pushed her to be ambitious.

She’s wise. On more than one occasion, she’s shared with me the advice she’s given to friends: ones who are strung out on boys or feeling unloved by parents. I’m always impressed with the wisdom and maturity she shows. It’s confirmation that all those deep, and often theological, conversations we’ve shared are sinking in.

She’s funny. In fact, at least once a day, I chuckle at one of her many random accents or crazy antics. What a joy it is to have someone in the house who loves to laugh and make others laugh! That trait is a treasure in a world that too often takes itself seriously.

She’s a nerd. While most would deem that an unfavorable description, in our house, it is celebrated – at least between she and I. We love to talk books — not just the romantic, teenage angst, relationship  books, but the classics that challenge us to think about life in a new way. And boy can she write an essay! As a writing coach, this makes me absolutely giddy. It’s rare to find a student her age who can effectively write more than a text message. Every time, I proofread one of her papers, I’m beyond delighted. (See these are only things that nerds like she and I would be proud of:)

I don’t fill Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with ravings about my kids’ ACT scores, honor roll status, or latest athletic achievements. Honestly, those aren’t the things that count. It’s who they are that counts. So today that’s why I”m saying what needs to be said:

On your 15th birthday, Bayley, I want you to know that I love who you are! I’m so honored to be your mom. You’ve earned my respect, not just because you are mine, but because you’ve chosen to truly “be” who you are, even when others say it isn’t good enough, because you’ve fought for your relationship with God in the shadow of being a missionary kid, and because you fight for what you believe in — even when it makes your dad and I crazy. Keep it up cause you’ve got wars to wage that will change the world!

Ephesians 2:10 – For YOU are God’s masterpiece. He has created you anew in Christ Jesus, so you can do the good things he planned for you long ago.

much love,








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