Selfies are a common action and vocabulary word for this generation of teens. Many have already had smart phones for years. Their photos are filled with random selfies of themselves and friends. Social media feeds like snapchat are filled with selfies made even more fun with filters, overlays, and lenses. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Get close to a teen and ask if they’ve done the puppy dog face or puked rainbows. It’s a thing. Really.
I’m guilty too. I take selfies. I take them with my daughter. Often I find a burst of selfies she has taken. On my phone. Side note to self—change your password! And yes, we’ve played with tons of filters. “Mom, put your face right here and open your mouth!” Eek!
Sometimes though, I remind myself to put the phone down and experience the moment. I’ve always done this, sort of taking a snapshot in my mind. I wanted to take in every detail of the moment, the feeling, the people, the joy.
One such moment was when my daughter was about four months old. It was a full season of life, starting a business, traveling, raising three kids. In the middle of the busy I held her on my lap. She had just finished eating and had chubby cheeks, glistening lips, and kicking little feet. I traced the line of her little lips with the perfect points on her upper lip. I smoothed back her blonde hair. I held her tiny fingers, feeling her teeny nails. I felt the embroidery on her little leggings. I smiled as she babbled to me. I knew she was my last baby, my only girl, and I wanted to take in every piece of that moment with her.
There have been many more moments like this. This past weekend was no exception. Oh, there were lots of selfies with her. But I also just set my phone down and experienced the days with her. Sweet Sixteen. Sixteen years of holding this sweet baby, watching her grow, laughing like crazy, arguing in tense moments, holding each other in tears, listening to her hopes and dreams.
Sweet Sarah, I love who you are. Completely. I love that you crashed in on my bed Thursday when I was feeling horrible. You made me laugh and we took ridiculous pictures. Then you cheered me on when I had to gulp that nasty stuff. I love it when you play DJ in the car and we car dance all the way to our destination. I don’t care that others look at us because the music is too loud. They should take car-dancing lessons from us. Wait…other times you give me ridiculous looks and tell me, “No, mom. Just no.” Okay.
I also love that you hop up on the counters for dance parties in the kitchen. And you laugh so freely. I love that you’re growing into your own version of sassy. I love that you’re trying new things: learning Japanese; managing the football team; taking college classes next year; driving us almost everywhere. DRIVING! You’re a good driver.
I’m so proud of you for not being afraid of life or of people. And I’m proud that you care for little ones and the outcast. When you spent time with a person at your DECA gala, because they needed a friend…what compassion. I love how you always ask how you can help on Sundays, willing to step in where you’re needed. There are days when your room and piles of junk in the house drive me nuts. But I know one day I’ll miss all of that too. So I try not to be too particular.
I am blessed. I am blessed to be your mama. I’m blessed to watch you grow into the daughter God desires you to be. I’m blessed that He uses me in the process. I’m blessed to laugh and dance and take selfies and do manicures while we’re all piled on my bed. I love you like crazy. I trust that you’ll take lots of selfies to mark this year and I can’t wait to see them and share in them with you! Happy Sweet Sixteen!