A Letter to My Daughter on Her 25th Birthday

jody

25 years ago (and nine months), the pink stripe unmistakably proclaimed my suspicions that I was pregnant. Lee Bausinger and I had been married about six months, and we had about $5 to our name. If I remember correctly, we were living at a hotel in California (not THE Hotel California, just so you know), working for a few weeks until we would move to Winter Park, Florida where Lee would be attending Nuclear “A” School for the Navy.
Needless to say, I was worried. I worried about the pregnancy, I worried about gaining weight, I worried about moving so far from my beloved Arkansas. I worried about what kind of mama I was going to be. At 18 years old, let’s just say I knew diddly squat about parenting, and had in fact proclaimed to anyone who would listen that I wasn’t going to have kids. They are expensive. They do disgusting things like pick their noses. They go through a period where they don’t even know how to use the toilet! I shuddered to think of the implications.
But God knew better, and pregnant I was. If the test didn’t confirm it, my inappropriate consumption of bean burritos and Little Debbie snack cakes would have been a tipoff.
There were a few scares, as Miss Jody doesn’t like to be kept waiting. I was hospitalized and put on medication to stop premature labor. It was terrifying, and for the first time, I realized how precious this little life was. I realized there were no guarantees.
The labor took a long time, and I was young and dumb and didn’t know to ask for an epidural. When Jordanne Bausinger was born (it only took 18 hours), it was well before the due date. Jody likes to say she doesn’t like to be late. She was 8 pounds and had a gorgeous head of black hair. I took one look into those baby blues and lost my heart forever.
Those baby blues have long since deepened into a lovely green, much like my mother’s eyes, and her mother’s before her–a reflection of our stubborn Irish-Scotch ancestry.
Jody, I love you. I love your protective heart, your perfectionist attitude, the way you take on too much and don’t know when to stop (wonder where you get that?). I love your loyalty and your witty sense of humor. You are one of my greatest accomplishments. Happy birthday, Sweetheart. Next month, you graduate with a double major (Music Education and Performance) and the world will be set on fire when you storm the scene.
I can’t wait.
I know I will miss you when you leave to embrace your future, but I can’t be selfish anymore. It’s time to share you with the world.
I love you.

***

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Tina Bausinger has published in Chicken Soup for the Soul, IN Magazine, and the Tyler Paper. She's working on her Ed.D at A&M Commerce.

Tina Bausinger has published in Chicken Soup for the Soul, IN Magazine, and the Tyler Paper. She’s working on her Ed.D at A&M Commerce.

Cold Coffee and Speed Limits

5 Things Adult Daughters Need From Their Moms

grad

You never really stop needing Mom. I don’t care how old you are, how successful you are, how rich you are–this truth still remains. As a child, our mom’s influence is so significant on so many levels. We want to look like Mom, talk like Mom, be Mom. Then, as the teenage years come–all bets are off. I remember consciously trying to be as different from my mom as I could. She listened to hickish country music (Tammy Wynette, George Jones, Hank Williams) and easy listening; I listened to Ozzy, Journey, and AC/DC. My mom smoked, so I didn’t. My mom talked with a twang, so I made sure I didn’t. What I didn’t realize was that by trying to be my mom’s polar opposite, I was actually giving her way more power over me than I realized.

I’m 42 years old, and I still care what my mom thinks…and guess what? Hank Williams, Jr., the Eagles and Elton John are my favorites. Last night, when I was driving alone, I became irrationally irritated by the “new country” and switched my Sirius XM to “Outlaw Country” and listened to some good old Johnny Cash. It made me think about my role as both a mom and a daughter.

Don’t tell my mom.

5  Things Adult Daughters Need From Their Moms.

1. Give advice only when asked. This is a hard one. I have two adult daughters and I struggle so hard with this one. Why don’t they just listen to my sage advice? Why don’t they just assume that every word that comes from my mouth is wisdom from the ages? I’ll never understand.

2. Encouragement when needed. There’s nothing like knowing your mom is your biggest fan. Wars have been fought just to impress mom, so don’t underestimate your powers here, Mama.

3. Don’t (intentionally or unintentionally) abuse your power. It’s well-known that the words our moms speak over us resound in our hearts forever. Few things are tattooed on our hearts as criticism from mom. As a mom, you have the powers of life and death in your tongue…ten times more devastating than the world’s most formidable dictator. Be careful with your words, Mama. Be so careful. You never know how your careless words may beget prophecy. 

4. Show interest in their lives. Go to their concerts, invite them to lunch. Buy them their favorite lotion at Bath and Bodyworks for no reason. Brag on them in public. Yes, they do notice when you do. And when you don’t.

5. Don’t compare us to our sisters. We are individuals, each one of us with our own gifts and faults. Address us separately, remember us separately, nurture us separately, and you know what? You will never have a bigger fan.

Gotta go now–I need to call my mom.