In Defence of the Daddy Daughter Date

Have you heard of daddy daughter dates?

I know I have.

Actually, my husband and daughter have had many of these.

Daddy daughter dates are important in our household and here are five reasons why they are important to us as a family.

  1. Builds confidence: when my husband and daughter are together, she gets his undivided attention. They talk about what she loves and what may or may not be bothering her. By listening and understanding her, he gives our daughter the confidence to know that he will always be there for her, no matter what. These moments together allow our daughter to feel special, and loved.
  2. Builds strong relationships: Life is busy. This time between my husband and daughter is sacred and savored. At five-years-old, she is still young, but she is old enough to know already that her dad is present. It is our hope that if she will still go on dates with him as a teenager (we can hope!), that she will have an open and healthy bond where she will share her thoughts and feeling with him.
  3. Sets an example: Call me old fashioned, but what is wrong with teaching our children (not just our daughters) about manners, kindness and respect. We want our daughter to know that whatever relationship she is in, should be based on these things. These dates aren’t about teaching her that a man will do everything for her; they are to teach her that when you are loved, you are treated with love, kindness and respect. In turn, she will learn to treat her future partner in the same way.
  4. Fun: there is nothing better than seeing their faces when they return from special time together. As parents, we all have a universal goal: for our children to be happy. Setting aside time for a date is not only appropriate, but also encouraged in our household. They laugh together. They are silly together. They are together.
  5. Memories: I believe that these moments carved out in time will be memories that my daughter will cherish forever. She will always know that her dad was present, involved and wanted to spend time with her.

At the end of the day it is about the time we spend with our children. My daughter and I have mommy daughter dates, and my husband and her have daddy daughter dates. If we had a son, we would do the same.

We will continue to do our best to foster a strong and healthy relationship with our daughter now, with the hope that as she gets older she will continue to come to us with anything and everything. And, when she’s a teenager and would rather die than hang out with her uncool parents, we will both cherish the dates we had with her when we could.

 

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Concerned Mom in Search of Silence

Sarah Smith of California is your typical mom. However, she is speaking out with her story with the hope that other parents won’t feel so alone and afraid. She is determined to speak up and let people know that she is committed to finding an answer for what she believes could turn into a catastrophic problem for parents around the world.

“We couldn’t wait until our daughter, Lucy, started talking. You know what I mean?” Sarah told newspapers yesterday. “I worked diligently with her from birth, talking and singing to her constantly. We read all the books, all the time. I was determined for her to talk before any of our friends’ kids. Not that I’m competitive at all!” She laughed nervously, wringing her hands.

The Smith’s couldn’t have predicted what would happen next.

“I couldn’t believe it when she said her first word…dada. I mean, I was sure that she would say Mama because, obviously.” However, once Sarah got over the trauma of that first word she states that Lucy just kept on incorporating new words into her vocabulary. Before they knew it she was talking in full sentences and was talking all the time. According  to both parents, Lucy’s condition has only worsened as she has gotten older. “Suddenly, I would hear her talking in her room, in the bathroom, and, sometimes, even while she’s asleep.”

Sarah and her husband, Sam became concerned with their daughter’s inability to stop talking. They started keeping a logbook to keep track of how often Lucy was speaking. “We gave up eventually.” Sarah stated with her head hung in shame. “We just couldn’t keep track and we became physically exhausted.”

The Smith’s refused to give up and took Lucy to the top doctors in their state. However, the endless visits proved futile and the professional’s all told her the same thing. Lucy was a perfectly normal four-year-old.

But, Sarah refuses to stop seeking answers. “A mother has a special intuition, when it comes to her kids.” She told reporters. “I know something is wrong. I mean, surely she can’t possibly talk ALL the time. Surely she can’t tell us the names of EVERY Shopkin EVER made EVERY SINGLE DAY without our heads exploding. Surely being stuck in a car for twenty minutes shouldn’t make my ears bleed.”

At the time this story was printed Sarah and Sam are still seeking emotional and financial support. “We know we can’t be alone in our fight. As parents, we can ban together and find silence again. It’s out there. It has to be.”

 

 

To My Daughter…

To my daughter,

Sometimes it is difficult to find the words to explain the love I have for you. The responsibility I hold in keeping you safe. I would walk over burning coals to protect you. Your dad and I both. There is nothing that we wouldn’t do for you.
When the news regarding Brock Turner began filling my newsfeed and I read the crushing words of the young woman he brutalized, I couldn’t help but picture your face.
My sweet, innocent, loving girl. 
I sat with her words echoing in my ears.
I couldn’t begin to understand the immense pain and suffering she was feeling.
I couldn’t fathom the helplessness and horror of her parents.
I couldn’t help but imagine what I would do if something horrible like this were to happen to you.
The tears flowed.
My anger raged.
You see, my darling girl, there are monsters in this world. Monsters much more frightening than those I pretend to shoo from under your bed before you are able to fall asleep.
There are monsters who may disguise themselves as your friends.
There are monsters who you may trust.
There are monsters who you may not even know their names.
As your mom, my job is to make sure you know that these monsters exist and that I will do whatever I can to keep you away from them.
The helplessness lies in the truth that I won’t always be there to be your shield.
You will begin to make you own choices.
You will forge your way through junior high and high school.
You will date.
You will go to parties.
You will likely drink alcohol and possibly black out.
You will be put in situations that are difficult for me to think about.
I’m not naive.
What I want you to know is that in no way do you EVER deserve to be violated.
No matter your actions.
No matter your wardrobe.
No matter what you do.
Without consent, nobody has the right to put their hands on you.
Your body is yours. Yours, and yours alone. 
But, for some, this doesn’t seem to matter.
I am terrified of the world in which we live.
A world where victims are continuously victimized.
I am terrified that this young woman could very well be you one day.
I am terrified that boys, who try to pass themselves off as men, get a free pass or a slap on the wrist.
I am terrified.
I have no answers.
I know that I can do my best to teach you about these monsters. However, no amount of lectures and discussions makes you immune to their existence.
My wish is that we do better.
For you, we MUST do better.
All of us.
Let us teach our children about consent. About respect. About accepting responsibility. About consequences. About the weight of every action and reaction.
Rape is a crime. Always. Period. End of story. 
Let us all join together and make our voices heard so that these horrific injustices stop.
For the sake of you, my sweet girl, and for  daughters everywhere…we have no other choice.
Love always and forever,
Mom
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Cheers to the Five-Year-Old

As parents, we are given the arduous task of teaching and guiding our children. This is a huge feat. Most of us feel like we could be doing better, that we should be doing better, and, that sometimes, even our best isn’t good enough.

However, this journey isn’t a one-way street.

Over the last five years, I have found myself learning countless lessons from my daughter.

At five-years-old, she has instantly morphed from my baby to my little girl. I’m still trying to figure out how that happened.

While our precious ‘Fivenagers’ can be challenging, make us want to scream, and drive us to drink copious amounts of wine; they are actually pretty extraordinary.

So, here are my top five cheers in celebration of the five-year-olds:

  1. Fashion 101.

Plaid? Stripes? Polka dots? Every colour of the rainbow? Check, check, check and check. I love how my daughter rocks the kaleidoscope she refers to as an outfit. She is confident and proud in her choices. She isn’t bothered in any way by what anybody else thinks.

This seemingly simple feat of choosing something from the drawer that expresses her individuality and personality is an amazing accomplishment.

 Cheers, five-year-old, for making your own choices and for standing proud in those choices!

  1. Say anything. Ask anything.

Their internal filter isn’t fully developed yet. However, it does improve each year, which is worth celebrating!

Five-year-olds are incredibly inquisitive, which means many questions. SO MANY QUESTIONS. And, they are fiercely determined. If they want to know something, they won’t stop until the answer is found. This can be frustrating. However, these questions can also lead to thought provoking, and interesting conversations.

Five-year-olds say it like it is. Sometimes my daughter’s innocent honesty makes me cringe: but, I am learning to appreciate these teachable and learning moments.

Cheers, five-year-old, for finding your voice, and using it to learn and discover the world!

  1. Livin’ the life.

These wondrous creatures love life. Fully and whole-heartedly. Every morning my daughter wakes up with a smile on her face, ready to conquer the world. There isn’t enough coffee on the world to bring me back to that place.

At five-years-old, her journey is a blank slate. Each day my daughter’s little feet make their mark in this world, and she finds simple joy with every step.

Cheers, five-year-old, for living life to the fullest!

      4.  Anything you can do, I can do better.

This one can be the biggest challenge. The independence craved by five-year-olds is insurmountable. For parents, it can often mean gritted teeth, lessons in patience, and staying calm, cool, and collected (or at least try!). However, it is through this desire for independence that they are able to discover who they are.

Five-year-olds are paving their path to individuality by experiencing accomplishments, and they take tremendous pride in each, and every success.

 Cheers, five-year-old, for becoming an independent, proud, and successful person!

  1. Big love.

Five-year-olds are full of kindness, acceptance, and open mindedness. Every person who crosses his or her path is seen as an opportunity to make a friend or learn something new.

They don’t judge. 

They aren’t cruel. 

Kindness is learned; and so far, they seem to be soaking up this lesson. 

The world could learn a tremendous lesson in love and kindness from the innocence of children.

Cheers, five-year-old, to your innocent, awesome and giant heart.

 

Embrace the lessons from your five-year-old. Each passing year is an opportunity to learn and grow alongside them.

These cheer-worthy moments help us through the times we would much rather forget, let alone celebrate.

One day my ‘fivenager’ will be an actual teenager; asking for the keys to the car.

I’m not sure there is enough wine to prepare for that moment.

So, for now, I will simply raise a glass, and say…

 “Cheers to all the extraordinary five-year-olds!”

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I Like Me…

While perusing the Internet I came across this article, “Neck contouring is the ridiculous beauty trend taking Instagram by storm.” My first reaction was to laugh. There was no way this was real. It had to be a joke.

My next reaction was complete dismay. I soon realized that this is indeed happening. No joke. Women are contouring their necks to ensure it looks slim and perfect. This is a thing.

Is this what I have to look forward to when my daughter is a teenager?

Making sure her neck is perfectly contoured?

Because raising a daughter isn’t hard enough…

A few days ago my daughter was getting dressed. She came out of her bedroom with less velocity than usual. The expression on her face spoke volumes.

“What’s the matter, my love?” I asked her.

“I don’t know,” she replied quietly. “I just don’t feel good in this outfit.”

Then, the words I didn’t think I would hear from her mouth for at least another ten years escaped off her sweet, innocent lips.

“I think I look fat.”

I stood. Dumbfounded.

Her words fell heavy onto my heart.

I wanted to cry.

In fact, I’m certain I hastily wiped a few away as they fled my eyes.

I quickly thought to myself, I could simply brush this off. At five-years-old, she is easily distracted.

But, I stopped myself.

Something had triggered this moment. A voice in her mind was speaking to her. Ugly words had infiltrated her joyful heart. Her always-present smile was replaced with a furrowed brow. I motioned for her to sit beside me. As she nestled her warm body into the curves of mine, I asked her if she knew what the word, fat, meant. She told me she didn’t really understand what it meant. She heard a girl on a show ask another girl if the outfit she was wearing made her look fat.

I looked at her. My beautiful little girl. My delightful little girl. My insightful little girl. My talented little girl.

I snuggled her in close to me.

“I want you to always remember something,” I told her. “You are amazing. Inside and out. Always remember to be you. No matter what.”

“I know that, Mama!” she replied. “I like me!” With those three words, she was gone.

A fleeting moment for her; a lasting moment for me.

I sat and watched her play.

I began to question what I had done, or hadn’t done.

I began to pick apart every word I had possibly said, or hadn’t said.

I began to doubt everything I had done, and everything I wasn’t doing.

That’s the curse with being a mom. In an instant we doubt everything we have done. We quickly blame ourselves. I know my little girl doesn’t think she is fat. She heard it on television; and, like so many other words, she repeated it back. However, that doesn’t make the moment less important. It doesn’t make hearing her say that word any easier. She is a product of her environment. She sees everything. She hears everything. She internalizes everything. As her parents, my husband and I can instill all the self-worth in the world. But, in an instant, it can be broken. I hope we can build a solid foundation that will take a bulldozer to crack. But, I can’t predict the hits to come.

I can’t protect her from the harsh words. I can’t protect her from the venomous stings. I can’t be her shield at all times. As much as I desperately want to be.

What can I do?

I can keep building the foundation. Piece by piece. Brick by brick. I can keep talking to her. Even when it’s uncomfortable. I want her to always feel like she can come to me. I can keep telling her how wonderful and amazing she is. I can reassure her that being you is the most important thing in the world. I can encourage her to surround herself with kindhearted, supportive, and encouraging friends. People who will build her up rather than try to tear her down.

I can do all these things, but they are not foolproof. Nothing is.

Her feelings will be hurt. Tears will be spilled. Heartache will ensue.

My mind knows all of this. But, my heart can’t help but ache at the thought of it all.

My biggest hope is for her to remember those three words she said to me on this particular day.

I like me.

I think we can all learn from these wise words from my five-year-old.

Say it to yourself today.

I like me.

I have started doing it, and it feels good.

I like me.

Let’s join together in an I like me movement.

Let’s make an oath right here, right now–that we will never contour our necks. Ever.

I like me.

And, I like my neck just the way it is.

 

AVREY

When I Think of You

 

 My mind runs on overdrive. 

Like all moms, my thoughts are endless and my mind drifts from one thing to another.

Over and over, and over again. 

This comes with the territory of being a parent. As my daughter gets older and she embarks on every milestone, my mind continues to worry, hope, and dream.

Today, my sweet girl turns five…FIVE!

My mind still has a hard time believing this precious girl is mine.

 

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2 Days Old

 

I am amazed when I think about the impact she has made on my life.

I am overwhelmed by how my love grows more for her with each passing day.

My mind races.

 It is filled with dreams…with thoughts of her, and what her future will bring. 

 When I think of you, my darling daughter, these are the thoughts that flood my mind.

Pride. I am so proud of the person you are. You are strong and independent and you full-heartedly take on every challenge that comes your way. You are kind and thoughtful, generous and loving and wise and empathetic. You have so many qualities that make you an incredible human being.

When I think of you, I am beyond proud to be your mom. I am proud to call you mine. 

 

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Happy 1st Birthday

 

Joy. You bring such joy to my life. You see the world with such vigor; ready to take on whatever the world throws at you. You make me see life through fresh, clear eyes. I love being able to see the world from a new perspective—from your perspective.

When I think of you, I smile with my whole heart. You fill my heart with incredible joy and happiness. 

 

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Happy 2nd Birthday

 

Fear. I am afraid of what the world has in store for you. I fear mean spirited people who will try to break your joyous spirit. I fear I won’t always be able to protect you. I am afraid because I know I won’t be able to stop your heart from being broken. I fear this, but know it is part of life; but as your Mom my heart will break with yours.

When I think of you, I hope you know I am always here for you, no matter what. Please know you can come to me with anything, and everything.

 

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Happy 3rd Birthday

 

Love. There is no greater love than the love a mother has for her child. I will love you through it all, even when you think I don’t. Being a mom is the purest example of unconditional love; this is what love looks like. Through the good, the bad, and especially the ugly, I am here to lean on.

When I think of you, I often think my heart may explode. I want you to always know how much I love you.

 

 

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Happy 4th Birthday

 

Hope. I hope you will learn from every pleasant and unfortunate experience life challenges you with. I hope I have instilled a strong sense of self worth in you. I hope you have the strength to speak up for what you believe in and the courage to stand firm those in beliefs. When I think of you, I am hopeful for your future. I am hopeful for the fresh path set out for you, waiting for your little feet to make their mark.

When I think of you, I am overwhelmed by all of the possibilities ahead of you.

 

When I think of you, I fear and long for what your future holds.

When I think of you, I cherish all that you are and all of what you will become.

When I think of you, I feel a love like no other.

When I think of you, I can think of no bigger purpose in my life.

 

 Happy Birthday to my joy, my love, my heart; my Avrey.

 

Days

Days are filled with hours, hours are filled with minutes, and minutes are filled with seconds.

Some days are hard.

Some days are filled with frustrations.

Some days our children are not the most amazing humans on the planet.

Some days we are not the most amazing parent on the planet.

But, that’s okay…

Some days finding the energy to sing silly songs, play hours of Barbie’s, or create Pinterest masterpieces cannot be mustered.

Some days clicking continue on Netflix is the only way to find a moment to hear our own thoughts.

Some days we wake up wishing the day were already over.

Some days if feels as though we are walking a fine line between failure and success.

But, that’s okay…

I am learning that being honest and expressing certain feelings is necessary.

I am doing my best to accept the hours, minutes, and seconds I am not always proud of.

I am determined to allow myself to be vulnerable and admit when life isn’t perpetual sunshine and endless rainbows.

I am human. I am flawed. Life is not perfect.

This is okay.

Every day I show up.

Every day I do my best, whatever my best may be.

Every day I find the strength, even when I feel my weakest.

Some days are a spectacular kaleidoscope.

Some days are a dull, blank canvas.

Some days we need the black to appreciate the color.

Every day my daughter cuddles by my side.

She makes me laugh…

She fills my heart with joy…

Every day my daughter has the ability to wash away the doubt.

These are the moments that reaffirm I am doing a good job. I find comfort and reassurance  in these simple, everyday moments.

I am thankful for my daughter who, unknowingly, is teaching me that every day does not have to be perfect.

A day does not define who I am. A day does not determine my worth as a mom.

A day is, simply, just that; it is one footprint amongst the many I will make in my journey.

Whatever color my today is…tomorrow offers a fresh page.

A new day to decide what I will create.

 

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“Rainbow” by Miss. A