It’s time for Five Minute Friday once again where a remarkably encouraging and loving community gathers to write for five minutes. This week’s prompt: DIVE.
This girl does nothing half way.
Instead, she throws arms into the air above her, lays one hand across the other, tucks her head and goes for it.
She is so much of what I wish I could have always been, and tomorrow she turns eleven.
Eleven years ago, I found a strength I did not know I held within me. That strength birthed (and was) a beautiful girl, and since January 12, 2002, solid steady has not only grown in me, but at my side in that big brown eyed, wide-smiled girl who sidles up close, feels life deep, wears bright colors and mismatched socks with confidence and asks the best questions I’ve ever heard.
About a month and a half ago, we shopped for a shirt that Sici would wear for a special day, and we found it without much difficulty. Green like a mermaid’s tail with ruffled trim and sparkle, it surprised me because it seemed more traditionally girly than anything I thought she’d like.
But then she put it on and tilted her head and smiled in an unmistakably approving way into the changing room mirror, and I could see she felt beautiful, and it made my heart soar.
A few weeks earlier Sici had been elected mayor by teachers and students from a group of a dozen or so kids at her school who gave heartfelt speeches about what they had to offer and answered questions from a podium about how they would handle grievances, difficulties, problems.
And so when she ran the town for a day, she did it with confidence and spunk and an eye to how she could help. She walked from business to business in the building with spaces that look like a real bank, cafe, store.
Here in the place where fourth and fifth graders learn about business and personal finance and do real jobs (bank teller, director of the humane society, utility worker) Sici talked to fellow students and adult volunteers, took the census and encouraged citizens to vote.
She gave two speeches in front of City Hall. She improvised and never blushed.
The night before she would be Madame Mayor, I asked how nervous she felt on a scale from 0 to 10, 0 being “I’m not nervous at all” and 10, “I’ve never been more nervous in my life.”
I was at about an 8.
“3,” she said.
The next morning, I asked how she felt about the day ahead.
“Confident, but humble,” she answered with a nod.
And this is how I want to live. Knowing exactly who I am. Not thinking more highly or lowly of myself than I ought.
Diving in with just right amounts strength and sparkle.
OK, I don’t want to have to stop calling this my Five Minute Friday, but what parent out there can write about their child for just five minutes?
Happy 11th Birthday, my shining girl. You make this mama’s heart soar above a thousand skies.
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Ashley, as someone who just joined the 5-minute friday group, I am awed by your entry. I am not a mother, but your description here reminded me of a time in my young life that I experienced the same thing and of how my mother sat in the crowd and was a source of support as I was terrified. Thank you for reminding me of this memory and for the beautiful way you write.
Thank you so much for your visit and your blessed words of encouragement. I loved reading your memory of that time with your mother in the crowd. What a tender picture of love — building up the sweet terrified one and helping her to feel not so all alone. Thanks again for joining me here…I’m heading over to visit you. :-) So happy to have you join FMF!
Happiest of birthday wishes to Sici! 11, how ever did that happen? Loved your stories of her self confidence and strength, what amazing atributes to possess when you’re so young. What a blessing!
I know! 11, what?! Thank you, friend. She is indeed a gift.
It’s difficult (quite impossible really) to describe any person in five minutes on a Friday. Already, at only 11, a book could be written about Sici. And yet (as you always do) you’ve captured her essence so exquisitely that as I finish this piece I say, yes, Sici is Exactly That! And for Her to know so well Who she is is Remarkable! Confident, but humble….and Always her Self! (which is delicious, and funny, and wise and with the best questions I too have ever heard!)
I loved this piece Ashley and I SO love that girl!!!
I delight in how you appreciate — and get — this unique girl of ours. What a joy to watch that essence of who she’s always been very much there and yet also see this becoming ever unfolding. Love her and you!
I am sooooo….. proud of your little Sici! She taught us all a lesson in the way life works in our Pappa. When we speak on His behalf, we need to be like Sici … confident, but humble. Ashley, will you please thank her on my behalf and tell her I am proud of her too, for she is my sister in Jesus’ daughter!
Hugs to you XX
We learn so much from the faith of these little ones, don’t we!? Thank you for your loving words, dear Mia.
“Confident, but humble.”
Hah! (I volunteer to be her speech writer when she runs for governor of Oregon!)
I wouldn’t be surprised, Kim. I wouldn’t be surprised. Though I don’t know if Sici will want to hand over speech writing duties…she’s got quite a way with words herself. :-)
Oh the pride we all feel in this wonderful, energetic girl, full of wisdom and large heart. The only good thing about my aging is my ability to observe Sici defining mission and passion in her own life. She is beautiful!
I can only imagine what it will be like as a grandparent — to see your children’s children becoming who they were created to be, defining mission and passion, as you say. Like all kids, Sici, her sisters and cousins are amazing, aren’t they? Quite a group.
Wonderful! Happy Birthday to your sweet girl. My daughter is 11 and her heart is big and full and always think of others. What a perfect way to describe a heart….confident, but humble. Your girl is wise beyond her years. Thank you so much for sharing your precious words. They’ve blessed my heart today.
Thank you so much for your kind words, Tracey. Grateful for your visit here. I love seeing the words of another mama, celebrating this unique time in the formation of a child’s life. May our sweet girls continue to live in the big, fullness of their hearts, in humble confidence and a love for others.
This smile did not leave my face as I read your tribute to Sici ! I love to see how children embrace their original divine nature! They are such fine examples to “grown ups” who have forgotten their truth! Sici knows, intuitively, that right where she is, there IS, a presence & power guiding her. She may not have a name for it; but she knows!
May we all embody this confidence so that we may glorify God!
Oh, thank you! Yes — embracing their divine nature, remembering the truth we adults so often forget…how perfectly put. I am treasuring those words and your prayer!
Ash, this makes my heart sad and happy…I can’t believe Sici is 11 what an amazing young lady she is. I remember visiting you in the hospital right after she was born. Looking at her big eyes not know what she would be like as she got older. I wish I tackled life with the confidence she does! Sici is truly a blessing in so many ways:)
Oh sweet Jenny. Thank you for your words. I was thinking of that day too. Our precious family and friends coming one after another to see the new baby. None of us knowing who this little creation – or any of these beautiful creations of ours – will be someday. It is certainly bittersweet…this growing up. But what joy in seeing who they are and learning from their little lives! I love you.
Oh, Ashley, I love your girl already. And love the way she shines with the confidence of being who God has made her to be… truly that’s all a mama can ask for, isn’t it? Miss Sici sounds like she’d fit just fine in my mob of girls- mismatched socks and all :) You’re my unexpected blessing this week, Ashley- glad to have “met” you- wish we could share a cup of steamy something and talk long- I have a feeling we’d be good friends by the time we drained our drinks. Hope my house is next to yours in Heaven someday!
You’re so right, Alicia! Truly, all a mama can ask for. So glad to have met you…you pour out such love and encouragement. Would love to share a long hot drink with you, too, and then watch our gaggle of girls frolic together. Thankful for the blessing of our new connection. You are so dear.
Oh I loved this, Ashley! And I see some of my own kids and own self here. Praying that they keep that boldness and humility. Awesome tribute to your daughter, and you can take all the time you want to brag on her : )
Thanks, I’m glad you understand. :-) Tresta, so grateful for the glimpses of resonance and for your prayer. Yes, may they retain that boldness and humility!
What a blessing your sweet Sici is as well as a wonderful example for her younger sisters, my Aubrey, & others…I’m so thankful to have her in our lives! Happy 11th Birthday Sici!!! May you have a wonderful weekend celebrating.
She loves you guys, too! Thanks for your kind words, friend.
Oh Ashley, may she always hold loosely to this amazing gift. Of confidence and humility held in tandem, rightly, balanced. You take as much time as you need to tell of this precious child. You are raising an amazing child of God and citizen of the world. You go, momma. And tell her one of her momma’s friends, miss elizabeth as we say in the South, says Happy Birthday. My Sici is 17..its flying by. Hold on and savor. Love to you this weekend.
“Hold loosely to this amazing gift” — isn’t that just it? Receive the goodness of it, but not grasp it so as not to give it away. Thank you so much for your mama encouragement. So grateful for the ways you know this journey and how to cheer on a fellow mama sister traveler along the way! My goodness, 17…wow, friend. I’m sure it will come much faster than I can imagine.
Beautiful, Ashley! Sici’s amazing presence and confidence is due in part to having such amazing parents. You and Mike bring a rich deepness and nurturing to your family that most parents struggle to provide. As always, I am inspired by your writing- thank you for sharing! Happy Birthday, Sici!
An amazing mama you are yourself, Rachael! Thank you for your words to Mike and me. They mean so much. It’s sure a journey of faith, isn’t it? To know what these little people need to become all they’re designed to be, to nurture in ways that cause them to feel safe without holding them back. Thankful to journey with you. (Sici had a great birthday, by the way…and the celebrations continue! :-) )
I love that – confident but humble – as we all should be serving our Lord and Master daily…. Love this post on your almost teenaged gal! Bless you! (My baby girl is 27 and a mom of two — times flies! Enjoy each second :)
Wow, Ms. Kathleen! That’s amazing. And, I must admit, the words “almost teenaged” made my heart jump a little bit. I love teenagers…it’s just something else to imagine MY little girls there. Thanks so much for your loving words today.
Oh Ashley, I had the biggest smile on my face reading about Sici. She sounds brave and strong just like her momma. Even when you’re an 8 and she’s a 3. ;) Confident yet humble. WOW. Such words of wisdom from a wee girl. I can hear your proud momma heart way over here and I love it! Happy Birthday to your sweet girl!
Ah, thank you, friend. I aspire to one day have the bravery of my girl…I’m getting there. :-) So excited for you to meet her and my two other sweet peas in April!
Happy birthday to your beautiful daughter! Lovely post!
Love the hair…what a girl. Sici is a delight, I marvel at the way she expresses herself. I wish I would have had a titch of that at her age. Happy 11th Sicily.
Same here, Jen. Isn’t that hairdo awesome? Makes me want to grow mine out, so she can work some magic on my head. Thanks for loving my girl.
Loved this! What an amazing post for your daughter!
Ashley from http://theheartofashley.blogspot.com/
Thanks so much, dear Ashley!
I read you latest entry for MOPS weekly email. I saw you have children the same ages as mine so I thought I would check out your blog. When I saw that your ten year old just turned 11, I chuckled. My 10 year old just turned 11 today. I reflect on her birth since it was the day I became a mother. What a wonder all 3 of my girls are. They amaze me every day!
Isn’t that something, Melanie?! Wow, how fun. Happy birthday to your big girl, too! Wonder and amazement…what apt words to describe the creation of these little people entrusted to our care! Bless you in your mothering journey, and thanks for reaching out. So fun to know of our similar families.
A lovely story of an obviously lovely young lady. Sending a note of encouragement to you & Mike as her (& your other two darlings) parents :-) Simply uplifting to read today! Sici’s birthday is on the same day as Rob’s Mom’s. On that day, I think of her in heaven, and now will add a prayer for Sici.