Before I forget to give proper credit, everything below came from ideas presented in a class by Molly Westmoreland of Seed Planting Mom. You can visit her website at http://www.seedplantingmom.com. More importantly, find a way to take her classes. Her next class in Franklin is at Franklin Christian Church in January.
So, as I have said before one of the things that is very important to me in having Grandmother live with us is finding times to make the kids feel special. I knew the time was coming to have “the talks” with Lexi Kate as she is 9 years old and starting to experience changes. I was so focused on having the sex and body talk, that I lost focus on why and what we really needed to discuss. Enter Molly. She was leading a class at our church. All I really read was “conversations with your daughter.” Honestly, I didn’t give a flip what the class was about. I saw it as an hour and a half break. Jeff wouldn’t complain about me going to class at church, I wouldn’t feel guilty leaving him with Grandmother and Sam, as LK was at dance. So, I went, and my mind was blown. I realized there was so much more that we needed to talk about than just the basic facts of life. And, I decided the best way for LK and I to do this was a “Princess Principles” weekend. I might add I had to take Molly’s class twice to total wrap my brain around it all.
And, I present Princess Weekend. Ten days before our trip, I gave Lexi Kate a card that said, “You’re Amazing. I believe in the strong, beautiful, unstoppable power of you.” Inside was an invitation to join me at the Ritz Carlton Buckhead for a girl’s weekend. To say Lexi Kate was excited was the understatement of the century. She yelled so loud I thought my ears would burst and it was so shrill I was sure the glass cracked. She googled the hotel and figured out real quick this was no ordinary place. But, my goal was to show her she was worth being treated like a princess and I wanted to stay somewhere and do things unlike what was ordinary for her.
I picked her up from school early on Friday and we headed toward Atlanta. I had Subway lunch in the car and we just ate and chatted. I totally felt like a giddy teenager. When we were about an hour outside of Atlanta, I let her open her first gift/card. The message was about making Healthy Choices and that we need to focus on strong bodies, not skinny bodies. It was a great talk as Jeff and I both are considerably over weight right now. I explained there is a medical element to that for me, but part of it was that I just wasn’t making great choices. We talked how it was important for us to work together as a family to make good food and exercise choices. I gave her a Fitbit with multiple bands as a token to remember. I will say this may have been the hardest lesson for me. It totally broke my heart that she opened up and shared how much it bothered her that kids at school asked her if I was pregnant. I hate that she suffers emotionally because of people’s perception of me. We talked about that too….
We had a little snafu getting into the hotel. The hotel has a weird entrance off Lenox Road/ Peachtree Street. As I was making that turn, Lexi screamed at the sight of traffic, causing me to react. I pulled out of the turn lane thinking she saw something I didn’t. This little turn made caused us to sit in an hour’s worth of traffic.But, it was a great opportunity to talk about what is appropriate to do when someone is driving. As well as, we control our own actions and reactions. I told her I was just as wrong as she was. I reacted inappropriately to her actions in not staying the course I knew was right. So, she cried and felt terrible, but it was a great visual real life example.
We get to the hotel, checked in, walked around in amazement, and opened our 2nd Principle. It was about freshening up. Now that she is older she needs to take care of her self differently, and own the responsibility of doing that without being told. We talked about also taking the time to pamper yourself occasionally. Her gift was a spa day the next morning and a new Spinbrush Toothbrush. After this we went over to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner. She had literally the best hot fudge sundae ever! We came back to the hotel and enjoyed an evening swim.
The next morning we went to The Ritz Cafe for breakfast. She was amazed by the beauty of the restaurant as well as the level of service. We ate the buffet with a side of custom ordered dark chocolate chip pancakes. She opened her next principle, talking about Manners and Grace. Her gift was a framed print I designed with the word Grace. I had different scriptures in it relating to what grace is, having grace for herself, and having grace for others. The breakfast was a great setting to talk about manners obviously, but also serving others with an abundance of grace.
We went straight from breakfast to our spa day. For me, the spa experience wasn’t as great as what I’m used to in Franklin. But, Lexi Kate was in heaven. She got her first facial and loved talking about how to take care of her changing skin. We also got pedicures. We left the spa and went to lunch at the Swan Coach House on the grounds of the Atlanta History Museum. Such a fun place. We opened the next principle here. It was great to see several older ladies there with friends, as the principle was on friends. The basis was to talk about how to be a good friend, choosing good friends, and following Jesus’s model of friendship. Seeing these older ladies drove home the point of having 2-3 really good, know you heart and soul life friends like Jesus had Peter, James, and John. Then, we have an outer circle of 10-12 good friends like the disciples. It was good for Lexi Kate to be able to identify those people in her life. We also talked about sometimes you have to “change” friends. I went through a “friend crisis” after my mom died and 2 of my best friends I essentially had to move away from that closeness because of some hurt and change of focus in life. We talked about how sometimes you have to do that too. Her gift was a picture frame with “friends” on it.
After lunch we went back to the hotel and opened the next principle. “Giving Your Best” was the one I was most excited about. I feel it is so important to drive the message home that no matter what that looks like, we expect your best. 10th place, 100th place, or 1st place….. All you control is your attitude and your effort. Our gift was separate letters from Jeff and I on how we see LK giving her best, and encouraging her to keep that up. We also talked about areas she needed to work on. It was amazing. Of all the gifts, she said that was her favorite.
We had some rest time, then went swimming. We came back and discussed “Beautifully Made”, this was the “body talk” about the changes coming. I gave LK a basket of hygeine products, a razor, some face wash, and other random things. The key was talking about these changes being something we shouldn’t fear or be embarrassed about, and that we need to show modesty and respect for our body. The key was to talk about it from the perspective of how awesome God is to create us so complex, and have confidence in our individual creation. I will not argue my decision, because I think we all have the freedom to do what is right in our situations. But, Jeff and I agreed to go ahead and let LK start shaving her legs. So, I taught her how to do that by letting her practice on me. We used a regular razor and an electric one, and let her get the hang of it. It truly was a fun experience. And, it was good for her to practice that in a nonthreatening environment where we could laugh and love. When she tried on the pads, she did say, this sucks! What can I do to avoid having a period? I told her that once she starts, the only stopping is pregnancy and menopause. She wisely decided pregnancy was even worse and decided she’d deal.
We got dressed and went over to Lenox Square Mall for dinner. We ate dinner at Panera, and talked about our next principle. It was “Pure Mind & Heart”. We talked about Purity in our body, mind, and heart. Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, guard what you put in it. Your mind needs to remain pure, careful what you watch, read and listen to. Keep your heart pure and not have idols. This was an easy conversation, as it is something we talk about a good deal at home. I love the Salt, Pepper, and Water example that Molly uses; so I did that. The gift was a new water bottle, as a reminder that Jesus is the Living Water. She wants me to put vinyl lettering on it that says “Does it dirty your water” as a reminder of the activity, and life lesson.
We also did some shopping after dinner. She needed new tinny shoes. And, she used her money to buy some trash, I mean super cute things, at Justice. We also made a Build A Bear for Sam. We rode to Phipps Plaza mall and back to the hotel in a pedicab. She thought that was just fantastic.
Sunday morning we got up and had breakfast at the hotel again. Our next principle was around emotions and journaling. We talked about the emotion is okay, but how we react is our choice to handle well. In journaling you can let all that emotion out before you handle a situation with a person. Journaling is also a good place to dream and work on ideas. There’s no risk in failure by just writing it down. I of course gave her a new journal, notebook, and pens as her gift to go with that.
Our next Principle was Time with God. We are trying to move from a point of us leading family devotions to Lexi Kate owning that for herself. She actually does a pretty decent job of having quiet time without being guided to do so. But, we just talked about this some more. I gave her a mother and daughter devotional book. Looking forward to working on that with her.
The final principle we covered as we got ready to head home was God’s Love Story. Lexi Kate has already accepted Christ as her Savior, so I just drilled home what it means to be redeemed and that she is truly royalty. I want her identity to be firmly grounded in Christ. Her gift was a Crown of Thorns from the Holy Land. It is a beautiful symbol that she will forever be a princess because her King wore a Crown of Thorns.
All in all it was an amazing weekend! We used the four hour drive home to recap the principles we had covered and talked about how we applied that once we got back home to our real life. There isn’t a dollar amount to put on the value of this weekend. Granted, you wouldn’t have to go to the Ritz Carlton and have Spa days to drive these points home. But, that is within our current means and something I wanted to do. Please don’t get lost on the trip and experience and forget the purpose of connecting to your children. We want them to feel prized, pursued, and protected. It’s vital to them growing into the adults we want them to be.
We had one exciting moment in the weekend that added a lesson I hadn’t planned on teaching. While at the mall there was a man fondling himself and growing increasing belligerent with mall security. He kept getting louder, and coming closer to Lexi Kate and me. He was threatening to do something to really get himself arrested and merit being kicked out of the mall. Once he was within arms length of us, I told him he needed to move away. The rent a cop wasn’t doing much to make me feel safe. He didn’t move, and kept yelling. I reached in my purse, and calmly said, “Sir, I have asked you to move away from us. I feel like my life and my daughter’s life are in danger. I am going to need you to leave immediately.” He gave me a bad look, and kept screaming but did leave. Lexi asked me why I told him I felt like our lives were in danger, and what I was reaching for in my purse. So, we got to explain the constitutional right to bear arms, gun safety and responsibility. And, I talked about how serious it was to have a gun and that under no circumstances did you use it unless you felt like your life was in danger. For my protection, I needed the man and mall security to understand I felt like he was threatening her life and mine, and if I shot him it would be in self defense. That was a very sobering end to the night. But, back to feeling prized, pursued, and protected; I think Lexi Kate definitely felt protected in a scary moment knowing her mom would do whatever it took to keep her safe.
So, mamas out there, if I can give you one piece of advice (and I am not an advice giving momma, because heaven knows I am no model parent), let it be this: take the time to invest in your children. Have special moments with them. Talk to them about the important character and developmental phases in their life. Talk on your own terms, be the source of their information before it is too late. Let them know they are worth it to you, and to our King.
And, from the bottom of my heart, thank you Molly Westmoreland for following God’s calling in your life to connect with and encourage mommas to be all God wants us to be.