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When your daughter writes a book for her little sister and your heart breaks a little

I think that God periodically gives you glimpses of remarkable goodness in your children as a way to let you know that as a parent, you’re doing a few things right. Now that my oldest is firmly planted in the world of tweendom and well on her way to teenagerhood, I’ve been learning a lot about parenting and being a mother. And almost daily, I find myself standing in the middle of this swirl of four girls, their messes, my messes, our chaos, and wondering, “Am I doing a good job?” And part of you says I don’t think so. And another part says maybe.

You reach the end of the day and you’re tired and you just want them to all be asleep and quiet, but then you catch your two littlest snuggled in bed together heads touching, legs tangled, reading books. And you get this little pain in your heart, like a gentle touch on your back saying, “See? They’re turning out to be pretty awesome kids.

You accidentally walk past an open bedroom door and see another one making her bed. And it happens again, that little jump in your chest, and you realize they do listen. They do care, every once in a while.

You’re driving in the car and they seem to have forgotten you’re the one behind the wheel and you overhear the oldest taking sincere interest in what someone smaller has to say. And you try not to let them see you smile because you don’t want them to notice that they’re doing it again. You’re getting another gentle reminder that you’re getting a few things right.

Or maybe one day, you walk into your oldest daughter’s bedroom and find a palm-sized notebook wrapped in blue polka-dot duct tape on her bedside table. And when you look inside, you can barely read the print past the tears.

For two years, she’s been writing down tips for her little sister.

It’s another glimpse, another breaking of your heart in the best possible way that despite the fighting (oh the fighting!) and the eye-rolling and the big huge sighs, and the slammed doors, that this kid is a good kid. Everything and everyone is gonna be okay.

I told Emma I was going to share a few peeks into the pages, which you can see in the gallery below. She knows I can barely get through it without getting all weepy-mom on her.

And I’m thankful and proud and even though someone just ran in the door crying because someone else soaked them with the garden hose, and probably later, I’ll walk into their bedrooms and want to weep over the mess, I’m grateful and I’m encouraged. I have the best kind of happy mama pain in my heart.

23 comments on “When your daughter writes a book for her little sister and your heart breaks a little”

  1. Oh Molly, this is the sweetest thing ever!! I hope Emma publishes that book some day! It would be a remarkable gift for little girls 🙂 And thank you for the encouragement and reminder that all siblings fight, all kiddos make messes, and all mamas think they’re messing up xoxo

  2. oh my goodness. I wish I had been this sweet to my sister when we were little! our oldest (8) has been extra-challenging lately and I really know what you mean about how all the new phases can make you doubt whether you are doing ANYTHING right. would love to hear more about how you foster sibling relationships (and all this good praise you’re dishing out 😉

  3. Oh my. This is precious and perfect and …. perfect.
    "Read books, and finish them."
    "When you are little, don’t try to act all sassy and like a teenager. Stay young."

    Where did this child come from? From you, Molly. From you and from your husband and from the stars. This just made my day, my week, possibly my month.

  4. So wonderful–you give me hope! I enjoyed watching her handwriting progress–as if you can see her growing and maturing along with her handwriting and her thoughts! Beautiful!

  5. Sweetest thing I’ve ever seen!! I used to hold "how to be cool in __ grade" classes for my little brother haha

  6. what a good reminder that despite all we do (and the mess ups we have) our kids are getting good things from us, too. i love this intentionality and suspect you are doing more than you know in the arena of role modeling (which, speaking for myself, sometimes makes me cringe!!). i love this idea of giving advice… what a great journal prompt or idea for a younger audience.

  7. Molly, I cried. You must be an incredibly proud Mommy! Such a tiny, itsy-bitsy, booklet filled with so much wisdom from one’s older daughter to her youngest. Beautiful. Kim from BCN.

  8. gah! this is the sweetest thing i have ever seen. what a beautiful young lady she is becoming. her love for her sister is so beautiful. xo.

  9. I never comment on anything but I had to this time..this is the sweetest thing ever. Would love more of your advice on sibling relationships in the future!

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