Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Potato

One of the benefits of turning thirteen for Alyssa was that she was finally, FINALLY allowed to get her own Facebook page. A lot of her friends got them before they turned thirteen but the Facebook rules are that you have to be thirteen and our family is all about the rules.

She signed up the weekend after she turned 13.

One of my rules was that she had to friend me and she could not hide posts from me. I mean, come on, she maybe be thirteen but that’s still very young and she definitely still needs to be parented.

The other day I saw that one of Lyss’s friends had tagged her in a post. This actually showed up on my page; I wasn’t looking through A’s page, though if I had been, that would have been okay too because yeah, mom here.

Anyway! The post was this:

This girl…Lyss’s friend, is very sweet but also comes across (to me) as needy of outside encouragement. Please don’t think I’m judging this girl, who from this point on will be called Faith because I’m tired of writing ‘this girl’ and ‘Lyss’s friend’. I was so much like Faith as a teenager. I needed people to tell me that I wasn’t fat, that I was pretty, that I was awesome in all ways that were important at that very moment. I also really, REALLY wanted everyone around me to read my mind and know exactly when I needed encouragement and what kind of encouragement.

Yeah, I was a delight as a teenager, let me tell you.

I am only posting this because I want to say how great I thought Alyssa’s reply to this post was.

She wrote, “I think the potato is cute.”

She didn’t feed into Faith’s need for someone to tell her that she doesn’t look like a potato. She didn’t exclaim, “Oh Faith! You’re so pretty, why do you say things like this?”

She said, “I think the potato is cute.”

And it is cute.

Which is one more thing I appreciate about my girl Lyssie. She sees beauty, fun, kindness, GOOD in so many things in this world. She hasn’t taken a page from my book and decided to seek the approval of others. Instead, she has this internal confidence, this internal sense of self that can’t be taught.

She amazes me every single day and this was just one more thing that made my heart fill with pride and joy at being this girl’s mother.

She’s her own person, she knows she has so much to offer and give the world and she also knows the world has a lot to offer her if she’s willing to work toward her goals. She doesn’t need people to tell her what she’s worth because she has a sense of self-worth that astounds me even as I wish I could bottle it for girls like Faith, or perhaps even girls like me, still.

My hope, my prayer for my Lyss is that she always hold on to this self-worth, this confidence, this beauty that comes from deep inside her. She’s not just an amazing daughter, she’s an awesome friend and I hope that Faith learns from Alyssa that your worth as a person doesn’t depend on how popular you are or who your boyfriend is but on how you see yourself, how hard you work toward your goals, how good a friend you are to those who care about you and about whom you care.

(For the record, I do believe that Alyssa gets her confidence from Tom.) ((Well, from his genes and her knowledge that she is so very, VERY loved by so many people, my mom being one of the most important people. Multi-generational families are the best. THE BEST!)) (((Did you know that Lyss, Liv and I practically lived with my mom and step-dad during our years of commuting? I will never be able to thank them for all they’ve done for me, Tom and the girls over the years; like I said, multiple generations helping raise kids for the win!)))

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