Taking Time To Say What Matters

mother daughter

One of my absolute favorite sponsor suites at Blissdom was the Hallmark Suite (just to be clear, this post is not sponsored by them in any way). I have been admiring Hallmark for awhile now because it seems every time I fall in love with a post by a blogger that I love it is part of their “Life Is A Special Occasion” campaign.

Their suite at Blissdom was full of cards that they sent on our behalf  to people we loved both inside and outside the conference. My kids love getting mail so they each got one. My husband deserved far more than a card telling him how much I appreciated him shouldering the load so I could go to Nashville. And I sent a few out to some of my blogging besties who couldn’t make the conference this year, letting them know it wasn’t the same without them.

I am not a big card sender. I am also not so great at sharing heart felt emotion. But between the ideas expressed by Hallmark at Blissdom and the ones in this beautiful post by my friend Emily I know that there is something powerful about not just telling people how you feel, but putting “pen to paper” and letting people know how you feel.

I have been pretty open on my blog about my struggle to be the mom I want to be to Lily. It seems while I can rock out awesome parenting moments with Silas and Hannah, I find my rock star moments with Lily are fewer and farther between.

But the thing is I adore her. I mean obviously I love all my kids, but she MADE me a mom. She is so bright and beautiful and confident and amazing. She challenges me not only as a mom but as a person. And not just in a “oh my word how do I parent this kid” way. I mean she truly makes me a better person with her wisdom and insight about the things life throws at us. She is kind of an old soul.

I don’t know how many of you are raising first born daughters. Being one myself I know what a special breed we are. I know I have a lot of expectations for her that I frankly don’t put on my other two kids. I know I am a bit harder on her and tend towards being critical. And I know she often doesn’t get my full attention because I am busy with the other two. I know these things and I know they aren’t fair. Yet I also know that I continue to do them more often than I should.

Lately we seem to be butting heads again. I am ending far too many days frustrated at myself for how I handled things with her. I am also ending far too many days thinking I should just stop saving for her college and start saving for her therapy instead.

She hasn’t loved school this year, which has been hard because in years past she has ended each day of school barely able to wait for the next one. She doesn’t struggle academically but she has complained a lot about how she doesn’t like anything they are learning. Her teacher had even mentioned to us during her fall conferences that Lily doesn’t seem especially happy at school.

We had spring conferences tonight and they went completely opposite. Her teachers talked about how happy Lily is at school. How she is kind to those around her and a favorite to partner with during group times. They talked about how much neater her work is and how she seems to be putting forth more effort. And they shared how confident she is in who she is, something I wish I as an adult knew the secret to.

(Later I asked her what had changed to make her happier at school. And she answered like it was the most obvious answer in the world. “I just decided to change my attitude about it.” See? Wise soul.)

I headed out of her conferences so blessed by all that I had heard. As I walked down the hallway, replaying the kind words said about my daughter I turned around and headed back to her locker. I took a moment to leave her a note on her white board letting her know that I loved her and was proud of her. I hope that message doesn’t get erased and that on a day when she is tempted to get sucked into the mean girl drama, or doesn’t do as well on a test as she wanted or we had one of “those mornings” at home before school, she will see those words and remember how very much she is loved. And how very very proud I am to be her mom.

Who do you need to tell how you feel about them? And what are you waiting for?

Again this post isn’t sponsored by Hallmark in any way. But I hope they inspire you like they have inspired me to tell the people in your life who need to hear it how much they mean to you. They have this awesome “Tell Them” campaign where you can vow to tell your loved ones exactly what they need to hear. I think it is pretty awesome. Check it out.


  1. I loved my card, friend :) Thanks for thinking of me! And yes, us first born daughters are a rare breed!
    Staci Brown recently posted…Saturday StumblesMy Profile

  2. You know what, Jill? I really needed that. My middle daughter is the one I struggle with. My oldest and youngest are easy, but my middle doesn’t really “get” me, and I don’t always get her either. When she comes home from school (she’s a senior in h.s.) she sits with me at the counter and we do talk, but nothing deep. But when her dad comes home, she stops what she’s doing, runs downstairs, throws her arms around him and says, “Daddy!” I guess I should be glad she’s connecting with ONE of us, but sometimes it’s frustrating that there’s this barrier between us. I think I’ll send her a note this week telling her I think she’s special. Because she is.

    Shelly W. recently posted…On Being BraveMy Profile

    • How awesome that as a senior in high school she has that kind of relationship with her dad. Dads and daughters can be a toughy too. I hope your note is a success!!

  3. Since our family planning seems to be identical – girl, girl, boy can I just say a loud and sometimes exasperating AMEN. My middle looks identical to me and is so incredibly easy that her big sister sometimes bears the brunt of most discipline around our house. I took her to Target yesterday – just the two of us – bought her a slurpee and some cute clothes for spring break and it was just a lovely afternoon. Now to write her a note.
    Laurie recently posted…New Year, Same RandomnessMy Profile

  4. Love this (and Hallmark) what a sweet post about your daughter… I cannot imagine the challenge of a first-born daughter being that I was a very last-born one (by 19 years). I spent much of last year taking the time to send cards and tell people what they meant to me and it was such a rewarding experience. Once I hope to continue on for good.
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  5. awe girl, fantastic post. And yes, Hallmark pretty much has my heart as well.
    designhermomma recently posted…A Moment on the treadmill, dreaming about para- para- paradise.My Profile

  6. I’m the youngest of four. That’s the cause of difficulty in me raising my daughter (who is the oldest). She is SO MUCH like my big sister! But I’ve been striving to see the positives of her being like my sister. I’m also trying to remember that I’m the mom here…not the little sister. :)
    Susie Finkbeiner recently posted…Breaking Ties–Two Stories One Vote!My Profile

    • ooh that is a fascinating perspective. Us first borns are a difficult breed aren’t we??!!

      • Well, us last borns are difficult, too. :)

        But I see a strength in my daughter that I admire. I have to help her rein it in…but it’s going to be a benefit to her someday.
        Susie Finkbeiner recently posted…Breaking Ties–Two Stories One Vote!My Profile

  7. Jill, This might be my favorite post of yours, ever. And as a mom of 3 boys I can tell you it’s not just first daughters!

    I’ve seen so many thoughtful posts following #Blissdom–seems like everyone I know was touched in some way by a speaker, session, or–in your case–vendor, this year. Hang in…we’re parents for the long haul. :)
    Kirsetin Morello recently posted…Wise Words 1: The Most Important ThingsMy Profile

  8. Jill–I know that I had many of those same worries and concerns raising you. Since i wasn’t a first born daughter I may not have always understood what you were feeling (especially 8th grade!!) but I can say that I think your dad and I raised an incredible woman who never ceases to amaze me with her wisdom and generosity. I learn from you in so many ways and I am so proud to your mom. You bless my socks off.

  9. Nice.

  10. Your conferences went way better than mine did :)
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  11. Phoebe says:

    Oh my. I struggle here too! In almost every way, she is my easiest child to parent. However, the fact that we are so much alike causes a type of conflict I never expected. She communicates a lot with me through e-mail, which has turned out to be a huge blessing for us. When she doesn’t feel like she can (or wants to!) approach me, she e-mails me and then walks through the room as she tells me to check my e-mail. The beauty of it is that DH taps the girls’ accounts, so when he gets home at the end of the day, he knows what he’s walking into!! :) Hang in there!! You’re a great Mom!

  12. Such a great post and I can totally relate. The daughter I struggle with is my middle daughter (oldest daughter, but she has an older brother). In some ways she’s so much the way I was when I was her age so I know exactly what she’s doing/thinking, but in other ways (better ones) she’s so much better than I was. She’s much kinder to her sister, she has so much more confidence than I ever had and she doesn’t give up. She works really hard at everything she does. She’s such an inspiration to me and this post reminds me that I need to tell her that much more often than I do.
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