(Editor’s note: In this first-ever! guest piece, Pennie Peterson shares how she recently became wonderlost with her young girls. I am so pleased that she has agreed to share it here. Enjoy!)
They always say you never really fully understand a person’s value until they are gone. And I totally get it….. now. I recently lost my mom and best friend. It’s been a road to figure out life without her around, but I find her each and every day by things she would always say to me. This summer has had many moments of me saying, “Ah ha! Now I get what she was saying.” A few weeks back, Something Happened, and it spoke to me in so many ways. Here is the story I first posted on Facebook, which not only impacted me but many others as well. I pray it speaks to you today:
“So I did something yesterday that has been on my heart. I know many moms struggle with how they look in swimming suits (or any clothes for that matter, but swimming suits just show so much more). Anyway, we went to the pool yesterday as a family, and my girls kept asking me to get in the water. Usually it’s dad who swims more with them as I sunbathe. I did get in, though totally self-conscious of how I looked because we all know I am not in shape at all. However, I just barely swam. I kept my head above water because I wear glasses and really can’t see much with them off and my hair frizzes out when wet and unstyled. (Excuses, pretty much!) The kids kept pressing me to do more. As I took a break and sat in the sun, I decided enough was enough, that it was time to just enjoy my kids and the time they WANT to be with me.
Madie came up to me after going down the slide, and I said, “Madie! Want to jump in the water with me?” I don’t think I have seen a bigger smile and a look of “Are you serious?!” So I took off my glasses, went to the edge, held her hand and jumped in. Completely under water, not caring what I looked liked in that suit. Both girls kept saying, “Thank you, Mom; that was so fun!” as we continued to do head stands and races. As we left the pool with frizzy hair and all, I couldn’t help but shed a tear and realize how important that was to my girls. As we walked out, Madie grabbed my hand, put her head on my arm and said, “That was the best when you jumped in.” Something so small with such a huge impact.
Be present with your kids and make memories that they will remember. My mom always said that “they won’t remember what you are wearing, but they will remember how you made them feel by the memories you make…both good and bad.” So always choose good memories. Don’t let what you think you look like hold you back, especially what others at the pool who you may never see again think of you. They aren’t looking at you. And if they are, they will think, “I wish I was more brave like her.” Really!
Enjoy life because you never know when you could have the next opportunity to do so. I just want to encourage all my friends to simply let loose and see how that changes things with your kids. I said yes instead of no or later, and it made a huge impact and a GOOD memory for not only them but me as well.
I am a mother of two girls, ages 8 and 4, who just WANT to be with me. They don’t care what I look like, except when I get out of my yoga pants. Then they notice and ask me why I am so dressed up – ha! But really. The years are so short. I used to roll my eyes at my mom who would tell my younger self that. Now as a mom myself, I realize it is so true. So don’t live with regrets. Don’t wait to jump in that pool until you have lost weight or found a better suit. Just go for it. You too can be the fun parent…. it doesn’t have to be just dad. I had the best time and in the weeks since have jumped in more and more. My mom would be so proud of me for being beautifully present as God created me to be. I challenge you to let loose and see those precious faces beam!