When Your Daughter Turns Ten

Ten years ago my OBGYN for my first pregnancy was an old retired Army Colonel with very little patience and a terrible bedside manner. But I loved her. Absolutely loved her. She put the fear of God in me and I listened to everything she had to say because I honestly didn’t want her to yell at me any more than she already did.

Unfortunately, I was never one of those glowing pregnant mothers to be. I was a sick mess of puffy water retention and pre-eclamptic conditions. I was on strict bed rest and my blood pressure soared with something as simple as rolling over.  Forget actually moving around.  I even had to stop working from home because typing caused my blood pressure to rise.  

I was a mess!

Today is Munchkin’s tenth birthday…which means it was exactly ten years ago that I went in for my 36 week check up.  I had been sitting on the exam table for about 3 minutes when I recognized the look.  Doc’s eyebrows shot up and her lips pursed.  I knew she was about to holler…what I didn’t expect to hear was, “Get in that wheelchair. You are having a baby today.”

And wouldn’t you know it…that mean old Army Colonel doctor wheeled me across the street to the hospital muttering at me the whole time about my crazy blood pressure. 

I can’t not smile thinking about her.  (On a side note….I also looked through her Google Reviews while reminiscing about this day and it did not surprise me that she either got a 5 star (stern but thorough) or a 1 star (rude and terrible bedside manner) from her patients.

Back to my sweet Munchkin! 

To say I was not prepared to have a baby that day was an understatement. I was barely hitting 36 weeks. I hadn’t brought my “go bag.” Mr. Chucklehead was in the field doing some training exercise. My Mother in law was on her way into town from the airport. And yet, within ½ hour I was laying on a hospital bed being induced.

Definitely not the way I ever envisioned my first child.

But, what a lucky woman I was that day. That was the day that Munchkin came into my life.

Munchkin Chucklehead is born

Munchkin was Born

When they say you don’t know what love is until you hold your own child….well, it was hard to catch my breath as I looked at my beautiful daughter on the day of her birth.  She was squishy and bright red and had dark brown hair with white blond tips.  A full realization of the cliche’, “miracle of life.”  

And before you knew it she was already a few months old…

Baby Munchkin sleeping

And then she turned two…

Munchkin Chucklehead at age 2

She met her little brother at three and 1/2…

munchkin holding Lil' Man just after he was born.

And started school at 5 (we’ve always been a little unconventional in the way we “school.”)

Munchkin doing school work

Sibling rivalry started around age 6.

Munchkin and lil' man with hulk hands

But they learned to get along by age 7.

munchkin and lil' man sitting down for a rest

Then 8….

Munchkin just woke up

…and 9…

munchkin as a fashionista

Now here we are…a decade later and I can’t believe how quickly she went from infant to toddler to little girl to princess to pre teen. And now she is ten years old.

She hit her double digits…a time in a girl’s life where things start to get confusing and hormones start to rear their ugly heads and life gets complicated and your confidence is lacking and boys are suddenly a “thing.”

So I thought back to my 10 year old self and thought…what do I wish I knew when I was 10? I came up with about a million things I’ll tell Munchkin some day, but at this stage in her life I think these are my top 10…and so, in no particular order….

 Top Ten for My Daughter

1. BE KIND. If I’m on my deathbed and the only thing everyone has to say about me is “She was  kind.” I will die a happy woman.

Kindness = Respect

Kindness = Love

I truly hope that you will first be kind above all other things. Do not confuse this with being weak or being subservient. Kindness is actually a strength. It is very hard to keep your ideals, share what and who you are and be kind the whole time …especially when other people disagree with you. When you are kind it feels good, it’s the right thing to do and it is a reflection of who you are.

2. KEEP YOUR STANDARDS HIGH. You will often hear this saying, “Keep your standards high. Don’t settle.” I wish I knew what that meant when I was 10. Let me break it down for you now…It means that…

YOU ARE AMAZING. Just like you are.

PUSH OTHERS TO CLIMB TO YOUR LEVEL. Keep yourself at the top and let others rise to your level.  

YOUR SELF RESPECT IS PRECIOUS. You should feel so proud of who you are and what you stand for.

YOU DESERVE THE BEST. It’s true. Thats what it means to “not settle.” It means that you realize that you deserve the very best that life has to offer.

3. DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF TO ANYONE ELSE. There is no one else in the world just like you. There are people in the world better than you at things. You are better than others at things. Will you ever be the best? Truthfully, it doesn’t matter….what matters is that you DO your best and BE your best in your own life.

Girls are especially bad about comparing themselves to other. Don’t fall into this trap. When you see something or someone that looks perfect it’s not. I promise. That something or someone has fears, faults and imperfections that they are good at hiding. BE YOUR BEST. DO YOUR BEST.  

4. YOU CAN DO ANYTHING AND BE ANYTHING. There is nothing in this world you cannot accomplish if you REALLY want it. It might require you to study hard, research, practice practice practice! It might mean you will fail many times before you get there. It might mean you have to give up other things that aren’t as important. It might mean you have to make adjustments to your expectations to achieve your goals.

At age 10 you are already noticing the things that you are passionate about. You love colors. You love to draw. You love to create. You love beautiful things. You love music and dance. You love baking and making others happy. Now is the right time to start to think about where your passion for these things can take you in your life.

5. DON’T RUSH IT. Oh sweet Munchkin. You will only be 10 for 365 days. Then it’s gone. It goes so fast. When you are older and have gray hair like me you will understand how precious these years are. Enjoy every minute of 10. Enjoy every day you get to not worry about grown up things. Enjoy the discovery of who you are…don’t rush it. You will miss it some day.

6. INDULGE IN YOURSELF AND AT THE SAME TIME BE FRUGAL.  You are the lucky product of two parents…one is a spender and one is a saver.  This gives you the advantage of being able to distinguish between a want and a need. There are so many things in the world that you will want. And yet so very few things in the world you actually need. As you decide on the kinds of things you want to fill your life with make sure you know the true value of the item. Is it something that makes you happy now? Is is something that will make you happy for a long time? Is it something that is essential to your happiness? It’s ok to have a little of each of these levels of indulgence…just be smart. Too much of one will ultimately make you unhappy.

7. BE A GOOD STEWARD. A steward is someone who looks after things.  You already do this so well with your brother and your family So…I would tell you to also be a good steward of…

…the world.

…the environment.

…animals.

…other’s feelings.

… your home.

…yourself.

8. BE BRAVE.  There is a reason we don’t watch the nightly news at our house. And a reason I make sure you don’t watch certain shows. There are a lot of scary things in this world. I know I can’t shield you from them forever, but I can shield you from them for a short time.

I want you to practice being brave now so when you are out in that world nothing will stop you from doing amazing things. Being brave doesn’t have to be something huge.  It’s about being yourself even when its hard to be yourself.  At your age it’s hard to not be “cool.” Your peer group will judge you harshly…don’t let that stop you from all the adventures and experiences that are right for you. 

Don’t ever feel guilty if you aren’t ready to do something. You will get there eventually, but know that I will push you be to try the things you don’t feel ready to do because I believe in you.

9. BE EMOTIONALLY STRONG. It’s ok to have strong feelings. You are such a tender-hearted girl. You worry about others and sometimes that spills out through tears or anger or frustration or in giddy happiness. I love this about you. Don’t let it stop you from being passionate about the things you do and who you are.

10. YOU HAVE A BIG FAMILY THAT WILL DO ANYTHING FOR YOU.  Maybe the most important thing I want you to remember.  It’s not just Dad and I that love and care about you…you have grandparents, aunts and uncles galore, cousins, half-brother and sisters and let us not forget our Army family.  So many people that are here to support you in your efforts. 

Time To Soar

Some day you will read this and hopefully you think to yourself, “Yep…that’s exactly what my mother taught me.”  I love you little girl.  Happy tenth birthday Munchkin.  Looking forward to watching you soar!

Munchkin at the California Beaches