Thursday, July 11, 2013

That Mama Gretchen: a letter to my daughter {Dear Daughter Series}

My first guest writer for the Dear Daughter Series is Gretchen from That Mama Gretchen. I started reading her blog 3 years ago, when her daughter Jemma was just born. It was from her honest and thoughtful posts that I really saw "Attachment Parenting" in action in realistic ways. I admire her and call her an IRL friend, and I'm sad she's moved out of my neck of the woods (although happy for her family!). She's a dear. Check out more sweet posts on her blog, or visit her Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Bloglovin'!

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Hi There! I'm poppin' over from my regular space in blog land, That Mama Gretchen, to wish sweet Ruthie and Afton a very happy birthday this month! I can't even imagine having two sweet girls to love and celebrate. Megan and her girls are blessed to have one another for sure - I just love seeing their trio of girly adventures and learning from Megan's wisdom as a mother.

When Megan asked me to share a letter to my own daughter - who somehow is almost already 3, what? - I couldn't decide what to write. Serious? Funny? Heartfelt, of course, but what to focus on? I thought about sharing my transition from high-heel wearing career woman to at-home yoga pant person. Then about the 18 billion red flags to watch for when dating. Then some tid bits of wisdom on how I learned to cook. And then I landed on the saga of bangs. Yes, bangs - as in the kind that cover your forehead and frame your face. The bangs that can make or break your look. Because if anything, bangs have taught be a lesson or two over the years. So, here it goes, everything I want my dear girl to know about bangs ...

Oh Jemma,

Early on my bangs earned their own zip code. I'll let you see for yourself in Exhibit A:

The zip code bangs had a long life ... preschool through most of elementary school!

See what I mean? You can thank Mimi for the extra poof, swoop and spritz of hairspray. She knew how to do bangs the 80s way and obviously wanted me to follow in her footsteps. The good news is, I wasn't the only one. This hair do was "in" in every sense of the word. Folks were jealous of my zip code bangs. I mean, you can't dream up this kind of volume. You've either got or you don't. And there in lies lesson one ... Own what you got, girl. Own it big! Whatever it is, make it your signature statement and don't turn back. It's you! And you is awesome.

Next we've got the experimentation phase of the bang saga. Yep, permed bangs. You heard me right. Permed bangs.

 This was after my perm relaxed a bit - still pretty wonderfully wacky!

I begged my mama for a perm in 1st grade and she blessed me with my heart's desire as a birthday gift. See, I wasn't following lesson one of owning what I had, which was natural waves. I wanted more. I wanted curls and many many of them. So, off I went for a perm. My first and last perm seeing that perms smell awful and if I remember correctly kind of burned my scalp. There are two lessons here ... the obvious, stay away from perms. But also, the more important, lesson two which is don't be afraid to experiment with your hair, because hair grows back, fresh and ready for a new experiment. Hair is one of those fabulous things that self-corrects with time. And therefore teaches patience which is a lovely virtue to gain along the journey. So go for it - dye it, cut it and get those crazy beaded braids on vacation. Embrace the trends and don't look back. Then, like me, you'll have fabulous pictures to share with your daughter someday.

And now, a lesson I recently learned. When you find your hair person - don't leave them, ever. Give them a Christmas gift, become their friend, wait for an appointment. Because let me tell you, honey, risking a bang trim at the walk-in mall salon isn't worth it.

After a bang trim gone wrong, I decided to help speed up my bang growth by wearing a headband as often as I could press them down and encourage their growth :) Creative, huh?

So, lesson three - find a hair expert and love them for life. And, in the sad circumstance that you forget lesson three, revert to lesson two - embrace your unintentional experiment and know that your hair will grow back. And grow back fast. Especially if you pray that it will grow speedily.

And Sissy, when your hair goes wrong and you want to cry, I'll be there to hold you and fund an expensive fix. When it looks fabulous, I'll tell you so. And when you want me to learn a fancy braid or prom do - I'll watch a bunch of YouTube videos to make it happen. In the end though, remember that it's just hair. You are so much more than your gorgeous locks - your beauty comes from inside of you. So as much as you tend your hair over the years, make sure to tend your heart more. Be kind and cheerful. Cultivate a joyful spirit. Watch out for those who need a smile and a helping hand. Share your effervescent laugh and embrace each day the Lord blesses you with. Be the change you wish to see around you. And rock those bangs, girl - no matter how long or short, poofy or permed. I did :)

Much love you my sweet Jemma!
Although an older photo, this is one of my favorite pictures of you and I ... that smile on my face, it's because of you, girlie! Also, note the braided bangs thanks to a "I'm growing my bangs out" phase.

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