The #skatergirl started wearing my earrings this year. She’s 14 now. Flipping furiously from sweet girl to blossoming woman, I’ll admit I’ve had a hard time keeping up. Some of the changes that accompanied this transition were quiet and subtle, like trees in winter – patient. Others rolled in like a violent storm no one saw coming – a dangerous surprise with repercussions I couldn’t predict. Both slow and wild the changes are beautiful – all of them. 

This is the springtime beauty of youth, the wilderness of her teenage years. Everything about her has come to life. She’s finding her voice and expressing her unique style. She’s dancing to the beat of her own drum – rocking out to a mashup of Lauryn Hill (her mama made sure she knew the greatness of the incomparable L-Boogie), Alicia Keys, Adele, Bruno Mars and the Hamilton soundtrack. 

And now, we share earrings. 

Her ideas and opinions, the way she is like me and not, the way she shadows my movements and pushes my buttons are all signs of a change as sure as the sun. She’s an independent thinker, a young woman blazing her own glorious trail. She’s changing. And so am I.

It hasn’t been easy. 

I’ve watched her suffer disappointment and make mistakes. I’ve celebrated her victories and cheered her through the dark room of doubt. I’ve watched her learn lessons about friendship and fight to establish an ethic of leadership that works for her personality. I’ve witnessed her pain in finding out what it feels like when we don’t tell our truth. To let all this happen, I learned to be quiet.

This post is about all that and more. It’s about how she wears my earrings now – my big hoops. One day, the precious studs and the birth-stoned jeweled clasps weren’t enough. 

She wore them for the first-time last summer. When we stopped to take a photo somewhere near the halfway point of our walk across the Brooklyn Bridge I noticed the shimmer of my thinnest pair of silver hoop earrings peeking through the bush of hair framing her face.

She hadn’t asked to wear them that day. She wouldn’t ask again. 

growing

We’d been through a string of requests and denials in the months preceding our walk. She’d ask. I’d say no. We talked about why and how I thought they were too big or not appropriate for everyday – none of which were true. They weren’t too big and they were appropriate. In fact, they were perfect for a teenaged girl. I used my position about the earrings as a physical impasse – a roadblock deterring further advancement on her road to womanhood. But it wouldn’t work for long. My #skatergirl, like all girls, confronted the task of claiming her entrance into the club of women that day. It was never about the earrings.

The earrings and the conversation were always about something more. The hoops were a threshold she tried sweetly to tell me she was ready to cross. But I wasn’t ready. I don’t think I ever would be.

Grace and Growing

This growing up thing happens in stages and the earrings are only one part of it. There’s makeup and boys and parties and curfews to negotiate in the future. But for us, it started with the earrings. To be clear, we aren’t talking about full-fledged, card carrying membership. This is the granting of a seat at the table. It is time and I think she’s earned it. 

I’m not sure I’d have ever been ready to say yes. Whether I admit it or not, I always knew what the earrings meant. My resistance was part of my development as the mother of a young woman. A part of me will always want her cradled next to my chest – her only source. The greater part of me delights in her ability to fly. 

This isn’t a post about a disobedient daughter and perhaps you’ll judge me for letting her get away without having asked permission. I see it differently. It’s a post about how in the asking, a young woman prepared her mother for the unavoidable – the moment she’d declare – her transition from girl to young woman. It’s a post about welcoming my daughter into the circle of women and how the mother daughter relationship includes a fair amount of wrestling, of leaning and bending. We’re growing everyday into the grace of a God-given relationship. One that is real, and flawed and continues to change. 

I’m so proud of her. 

So, that day on the bridge I didn’t say anything. I simply told her she was beautiful. Because she was. She is. 

Lisha Epperson / Posts / Blog
Lisha Epperson is a hopeful romantic, lover of Jesus and most things antique. A happy wife and mother of 5, she joyfully shares a warrior song about her 14 year walk through infertility and the semi-sweet miracle of adoption. Lisha works out a life of faith with fear, trembling, and a whole lot of grace in New York City. Follow her blog at www.lishaepperson.com, and here for Facebook and Twitter
  • Michele Morin
    http://michelemorin.wordpress.com

    I’ve always sort of wondered what it would be like to parent a daughter through the letting go and the branching out. So far, with my sons, it has been different every time, and that has been the challenge for me: to see the uniqueness of each son as he expresses his independence and finds his path.

    I’m in the middle of this season, and so thankful for the “wrestling, leaning, and bending” that is helping us all to grow in grace.

    March 1st, 2017 10:12
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  • Lisha Epperson
    http://www.lishaepperson.com

    Can you hear me screaming your name Michele? It’s so good to connect with you again. I’ve been on a much needed break- one I didn’t plan but I’m happy to be back. This parenthood thing isn’t for the faint of heart and like you say it is different with each child. I’m definitely humbled by the process. Happy Wednesday!

    March 1st, 2017 11:43
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  • Kimberly Coyle
    Kimberly Coyle
    http://www.kimberlyanncoyle.com

    It’s almost never about the earrings:) Good work, Mama. These are hard but rewarding years.

    March 1st, 2017 14:48
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    • Lisha Epperson
      http://www.lishaepperson.com

      Prayerfully I’ll keep this in mind when my 8 year old goes through this – or whatever version of this she chooses. Thanks for reading Kimberly.

      March 1st, 2017 21:18
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  • Pat S.

    So beautiful and so true. Thank you.

    March 2nd, 2017 8:21
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  • martha brady
    http://grittygrace.com

    after 3 daughters with very different personalities, i can so identify with your post lisha:) it is so beautifully written. this past sunday, one of our pastors preached about GOD’s grace and how He reached down to our unworthiness (for His salvation) and made us worthy in Christ. there was much more to what he said, but your post reminded me of that as well. it is like we were the wild and unworthy daughter who never made a good decision that He had mercy on. it is so helpful this week at the beginning of Lent to remember how great his love has been for us. we didn’t deserve a seat at the table, but He provided one and gifted it to us freely:) thanks be to GOD!

    March 2nd, 2017 8:53
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  • Carol Longenecker Hiestand
    http://www.carolhiestand.com

    Beautiful, Lisa, just beautiful. The whole thing – how you wrote this and how you DID it. I get the blogging break and I am glad you are back.

    March 2nd, 2017 10:30
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  • Sara @ The Holy Mess
    http://www.theholymess.com

    This is so beautiful! As a mom to 2 young adult daughters, you’ve captured the push pull here perfectly. Thank you.

    March 3rd, 2017 5:37
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    • Mickey
      http://oqlnal.com

      After I orinlgaliy commented I clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a remark is added I get 4 emails with the identical comment. Is there any way you possibly can remove me from that service? Thanks!

      March 8th, 2017 21:06
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  • Devi
    Devi
    http://mydailybreadandbutter.com

    I love this, Lisha, such a beautiful post. I only have boys, but I can imagine that making space at the table for teenage hearts is just as relevant for boys as it is for girls. I love what you’ve shared here.

    March 5th, 2017 4:59
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  • Becky L
    http://grandmabeckyl.blogspot.com

    It’s amazing how our girls grow up and sometimes we wear the same size of things. My adult daughter and I seem to have the same size in shoes and pick same colors in sports shoes. There is a bit of difference but we make sure they stay apart when we take them off. She’s not an earring or make up girl. She lives with us and there are conflicts still and the need for a steady, well paying job that will get her on her own. Again. Prayers please.
    I came over to your Give Me Grace blog to link my post I just finished. Well, it’s changed, at least this week? Oh well, this was a good read and I read today’s post which was good as well. Have a good week!

    March 20th, 2017 1:01
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  • Jody Collins
    Jody Collins
    http://www.jodyleecollins.com

    Lisha, it’s taken me weeks to read this; it’s sat in my Inbox and I’d scroll by and think, “I want to read this….later.”
    Such a poignant, beautiful piece. Wow. My daughter is 37 but this line is still true, “the mother daughter relationship includes a fair amount of wrestling, of leaning and bending. We’re growing everyday into the grace of a God-given relationship.” So beautiful, so true.
    It’s the mother/daughter dance and it will go on forever.

    March 22nd, 2017 12:26
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  • Kelly Chripczuk
    http://www.thiscontemplativelife.org/

    This is lovely, Lisha. My oldest, almost 11, just started down the road toward much needed braces this week. I’m thankful to get to spend a few extra hours each month with her, running to appointments and back without the press of boys surrounding us. I’m excited to see her slow, sweet excitement blossom around this clear milestone of transition. Thank you for sharing your Mama’s heart.

    March 22nd, 2017 13:23
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