Saturday, February 23, 2013

Tea, My First-Born and Me


"So that's why Daddy calls you his teacup!" exclaimed my nine-year old, Grace, sitting next to me on our first mommy-daughter date.

I had just finished displaying and describing these three items to her, according to author, speaker, and founder of Secret Keeper Girls, Dannah Gresh and it suddenly clicked.

The paper cup.  The ceramic mug.  The china teacup.
Twelve years earlier, I'd shared nearly the exact same object lesson with a group of teenage girls during a series on sexual purity in our home using Dannah's book, And the Bride Wore White.  Now I found myself revisiting these questions and these truths with my first-born after beginning another one of Dannah's book, 8 Great Dates for Moms and Daughters.

Back then and today, the message remains the same:  Be governed by your value. 

How do you see yourself?  How do others see you?

In your relationship with your mom and dad?
In the way you treat people? Your friends? Your siblings?
With your time with God?
Concerning the clothes you choose to wear?  The clothes you'd like to wear?
With the way you care for your body?
With the words you speak?
With the movies or television shows you watch? 
With the books you read? 
With the music you listen to?
By the images you view on the Internet?  Etc.

Are your actions or choices similar to a disposable, trashable, Styrofoam or paper cup?   
Or an ordinary, everyday, easily-replaceable ceramic mug
Or the highly-valued, highly-treasured, priceless, china teacup?

We made our way down the lists, discussing and evaluating ourselves honestly to each other.

But this was only one part of our time together.  Time, prior to the Secret Keeper Event last month, I was unaware we needed.

Two months ago, when I asked a group of moms and their daughters (ages 8-12) to join Grace and me at the Secret Keeper Girls Pajama Party in Atlanta, I had a feeling it would be an uniquely memorable time for us all.  And the event did not disappoint. 

We had so much fun.  We sang songs.  We danced.  We saw a modesty fashion show.  We ate sweets.  We played games.  We spent time together as moms and daughters.  We prayed together.  And we learned what God has to say about us in His Word.  It was the ultimate "girl world" pajama party.

During the break, Grace wanted to walk around and look at the merchandise table.   Out of all the books, the keepsakes, and other items they were selling, Grace zeroed in on the book, 8 Great Dates for Moms and Daughters.  

I didn't buy it that night, but ordered it online later after she mentioned it again.  I couldn't believe her excitement when it finally arrived on our doorstep.  And also a week later, when she saw the book sitting (unread) on my nightstand and asked, "Mom, when are we going to start this?!?"

I homeschool both of my girls, therefore I am with them all day. Every breakfast. Every lunch. Every snack. Every dinner. Every high. Every low. I see it all and live through it all. All day. Everyday.

I read to them. I talk to them. I spend time with them. Lots of time. All the time. With them.

But what I was hearing from Grace's heart was a desire to be with me.  Just me.  And as much as she loves her, no little sister.  No school.  Just her and me doing fun girl stuff.  My girl was craving some quality time. 

I knew this was something she really wanted and really needed.  I also knew it would take some intentional effort on my part.  But spurred on by her excitement, I read the book, did a little research,and organized our first official mother-daughter date. 

The suggested location from the book was a tearoom.  I had a couple of options, but based on some recommendations by friends, I chose a local establishment called Cafe 313, which we'd never been to before.  It turned out to be the perfect place for us and for our date.  We drank lemonade (since neither of us wanted tea) from our own china teacups and saucers brought from home, had a delicious lunch and ate some of the finest desserts we'd ever tasted. 

Notice the teacups on the wall?  Perfect setting for our date!

Name is based upon Ecclesiastes 3:13. Love it. :)
From the beginning I could tell Grace felt special and pampered.  It was just us, having some girl gab time, talking about things concerning beauty, modesty and fashion which her five-year old sister isn't quite ready to discuss. 

We weren't rushed.  We weren't interrupted.  We weren't distracted.  I needed to hear her heart and she got to hear mine.  It was sweet.

Grace will be turning ten later this year and will be deemed a "tween" by today's world.  She will find herself caught in that stage between being a little girl and emerging into a full-blown teenager.  Mercy.

Life gets trickier for her as she learns to navigate these waters and I don't want her to cave to the pressures of this world by growing up too quickly.  I want to be there for her.  I want to maintain a close connection with her. I want to know her and reassure her of her true identity in the One who created her and adores her. 

No, a mom does not have to buy this book or go on eight dates with her daughter to know her and be a stable, supportive role in her daughter's life.  But my daughter wants this time and I need it, too.  This experience has motivated me to be intentional, resourceful and creative. And that is a good, good thing for this preoccupied mama!

We have seven specific dates left (think facials, art gallery, shopping and more).  Each date has a specific theme, sure to make some special memories, which is why we bought a special scrapbook in which to record them all.  Our plan is to go on one date each month, leading up to Grace's big double-digit birthday. 

Then, in about three to four years, I'll get to do it all over again with my sweet girl, Gloria.  And then again with our youngest daughter, a little brown-skinned Indian treasure who'll be in our family one day soon.  Hopefully.

Maybe I should write my own book at that time, since I am bound to be a rock star at mastering these mommy-daughter dates with each of my little teacups in training.  :)

How do you know someone had a good time?
When they repeatedly tell you, "Thanks, Mom!"

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