“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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