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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Sport or Fitness (02/15/07)

TITLE: Norah Lisbeth
By Leigh MacKelvey


“Yeah, well, that’s why God invented mothers .. to give needless advice”, I’d said to my daughter’s response to the Valentine card I’d given her.

Written on the outside were the words, God gave me a daughter who is her own person.
and on the inside,: And I love the person she is.

She’d read the card and smiled, then ran to catch her son as he toddled a little too close to the vase on the coffee table. As she caught him she’d said, “ Mom, I’m my own person because I never followed your fashion advise.”

We’d laughed and warmth had spread through my chest. Joy filled my heart. I hadn’t always been certain a mother and daughter who were human antonyms would be able to “get each other” the way we do.

Norah Lisbeth. With a fancy flourish of the pen, I’d written the name on her birth certificate.
My mind full of future bonding over tea parties, paper dolls and rainy days flung across her polka dot bedspread under a ruffled canopy reading Little Women together. Alas, a frilly name does not a frilly girl make.

At seven, she played on the boy’s soccer team. Skills so refined, coaches from different townships called to recruit. High school brought varsity field hockey, softball and basketball. Every season was dominated with sports. No time for tea parties. I’d become tired of returning the items purchased with hopes of molding her into a rendition of her prissy mom. I began to see the words, Return Without a Second Glance, scrawled across all organza dresses, doll babies and anything smacking of “girly”. I remember stuffing the last frou-frou outfit back into the shopping bag as I watched my daughter pull on sweats over her long athletic legs and shove her feet into Nikes. She'd kissed my cheek, slung her hockey stick over her shoulder, headed toward the door and said,

"Nice try mom, but no way. Puh-leese, I’ll puke if I wear that dress.”

So I’d given up on polka dot bedspreads and settled for the cow motif she preferred on her sheets, pillowcases and quilt. I’d tried to become more of a sports enthusiast, drove her to practices, yelled at the umpires, cheered and had not a clue as to the mechanics of the game. Her dad kept a scrapbook. Her brother gleamed and took her to play pool with his college friends. Sports discussions ran rampant over dinner among “The Big Three.” I just nodded, smiled and served the food, wondering how I could fit into my daughter’s life and whatever happened to the dolls.

Athletic scholarships were offered and she chose a lovely Christian college in upper state New York where she majored in Missions and Bible and spent four years as captain of the Field Hockey Team. The coach spoke to me often about Norah’s spiritual influence on her teammates as she led them in devotions before each game. God spoke to me often about His plan for her life and why it hadn’t turned out to be my plan. My plan had included the two of us becoming close as we enjoyed and participated in All Things Me. All Things Me included reading, writing, taking cake decorating classes and most definitely excluded smelly sneakers, gym bags and catcher’s masks.

My daughter is a disciplined, practical, and physically fit woman. Her God-given talent and involvement in sports has been used for the glory of God as He develped the person she is today. As I watched her chase my grandson around my living room and listened to the patient and tender words spoken to him, I was blessed with the knowledge she hadn’t needed baby dolls in order to become a nurturing mother. And I realized the bond between mothers and daughter doesn’t depend on our likes and dislikes, hobbies or personalities. It is love, respect and a common desire to serve the God we share. She may be a “Super Bowl” daughter and I may be a “Footballs R Not Us” mother, but we play a special part in each other’s life. I thank God for Norah Lisbeth, my beautiful daughter who leaves me messages like this one on my phone,

“ Mom, It’s Norah, just getting ready to go out for a run ... I was thinking about you this morning ... wanted to leave you a message and tell you I love you! Have a wonderful day, mom.”

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This article has been read 970 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 02/22/07
God gave Norah just the right mom, and He gave you just the right daughter. This was sweet and charming, and I liked it a lot. I could really feel both your frustration and your love.
Sharlyn Guthrie02/22/07
“Footballs R Not Us” ...very funny! You and your daughter are blessed. This is a wonderful article for parents -a good illustsration of why it's important to accept children for who they are, rather than make them into who we want them to be.
julie wood02/23/07
This story completely delighted me! I could really indentify with it, as my older daughter and I are also opposites in some ways. She's a staunchly realistic political conservative, while I still have some leftover "hippie" idealism. She is girly--into beauty and fashion--while for me comfort is all that matters. Neither of us are athletic types, though!

Wonderful contrasting descriptions of diverse interests and specific items--loved the frilly bed and the smelly Nikes, etc. I could see, hear, and smell everything!

Great message, too--could relate to that as well, as I see how God is powerfully using my daughter with her unique gifts and personality.

Also was drawn in by the personal name title--those always spark my curiosity as to the name's owner. Great job!
Julie Arduini02/23/07
Strong start that stayed strong all the way through. A great read because the mom surrendered the daughter to God instead of changing her. The descriptions right down to the cow sheets were perfect. Great job!
Phyllis Inniss02/25/07
I agree with the previous reviewers. This is a great expose of a mother/daughter relationship, although on opposite sides still managed to stay bonded and with God's help both are proud of each other. The truth is there was always love.
Marilee Alvey02/26/07
This was a very touching story about a mother and daughter who are nothing alike. I have felt this way with my daughter, as well. Sometimes it seems like the stork dropped her down the wrong chimney....... What you say is true, however. What a blessing she has been to me. God knew what He was doing! You have a few grammatical errors, but the substance is excellent. Errors are easily remedied, but if you don't have the talent to express yourself in new and creative ways, all the grammar books in the world won't help you. YOU have talent. Thanks for sharing it.
Joanne Sher 02/26/07
This is absolutely lovely and heartfelt and SO true. I needed to hear this this morning too. You have ministered to me, both through your gifted writing and your message.
Jen Davis02/26/07
This was a wonderful message of loving our children for who God created them to be. I liked the description of the mother and daughter as “human antonyms.” I enjoyed reading this and thought the ending was cute. What a lovely tribute to your daughter.
Jacquelyn Horne02/26/07
All of the above. You might want to look at the word advise in the third paragraph. I think this should be advice. But this is very minor. It was very well written, timely and interesting.
Patty Wysong02/27/07
I loved this from the beginning to end!! The special mother/daughter bond in spite of being 'human antonyms' was wonderful to see. hehe. I love that phrase! :-)
Betty Castleberry02/27/07
This captures the heart of what a relationship should really be between a mother and daughter. Nicely done.
Loren T. Lowery02/27/07
Written with a loving, wise mother's hand. You've expressed so well how important it is to support our children no matter our different POV's.
Donna Powers 02/27/07
Wonderful, wonderful! I can relate to this so much and your love for your daughter was evident in every word. Thanks for sharing this
Sara Harricharan 02/28/07
This is beautiful! I love the mother-daughter relationship despite the sports. The name is very creative too. The ending was my favorite though, with the message. So sweet. ^_^
Amy Michelle Wiley 02/28/07
"Alas, a frilly name does not a frilly girl make." Hehe, great line! Great story. I had the best of both words since I'm fully tomboy and fully frilly, but I totally connected with the story.
Bonnie Derksen03/15/07
I am so thankful that I read this! What a poignant tribute to your daughter and honoring to the God who has created her.
Way to go, Leigh, for giving her the freedom to be and do what she has been wired for.
Your entry would be perfect in a parenting book. With your perspective and sense of humor, the wisdom is so catchy.
Well done!