When my daughter was 10 years old I planned a special day for just the two of us. There is a sweet little tea shop in our town where you can order High Tea with all the little sandwiches and desserts while you wear one of their vintage hats and sip tea with your pinky up. So, I made us a reservation for tea time.
But before tea time, I made sure my husband and son were off doing whatever husbands and sons do so my daughter and I could have the house (ok, it was our apartment at the time) to ourselves.
I had spent the weeks leading up to this special day buying her some gifts to fill up a little basket. In the basket I placed:
- a funny little stuffed animal from Dayspring (they don’t make them anymore but it was a Walrus with a Scripture on it about true beauty being a gentle and quiet spirit)
- a small cross necklace (I think I got this from Dayspring, too!)
- some teen menstrual pads and pantyliners plus a fun cloth case from Etsy to hold them
- Dannah Gresh’s It’s Great to Be a Girl mom-daughter devotional book
We sat on the floor of the apartment and I told her in short time about how she was growing up quickly, how her body would soon begin to grow in different ways. We talked about how having her period is a sign of not only growing up, but of becoming a woman and being able to bring life into the world.
I told her this was the start of a life-long conversation, not a one-time talk. I explained that although I’m not an expert, I have been there before so she can come to me about every question and every wonder in the years to come.
We talked through the pads and pantyliners–I showed her the little case she could keep them in and how one day she’d probably have them in her purse. We looked at the funny walrus stuffed animal and talked about real beauty. I explained how great it was to be a girl and we looked through Dannah Gresh’s book and purposed to read it together.
I was nervous and scared that she’d be nervous and scared. But it was actually SO FUN. She wasn’t afraid. She wasn’t overwhelmed. She took it in stride with the same trust she had in me when I told her about moving to a new house, starting school or not buying something she wanted. It was a normal yet special conversation between mother and daughter.
After we talked and looked at the gift, we celebrated my grown-up girl at the tearoom with our pinkies up.
This idea of a tea-party to introduce your daughter to womanhood came from my life-long hero, Robin Jones Gunn. She wrote a little gift book years ago called Gentle Passages about how she did the same thing with her own daughter.
I’ve never forgotten it and wanted to do the same for my daughter. You always hear stories about girls who didn’t even know what their period was until they started bleeding. Or girls who were embarrassed and scared of their developing bodies. My sister-in-law just told me she snuck a razor to shave her legs for the first time because her big siblings (my husband!!) called her “gorilla legs” and because no one told her how to do it, she shaved without water or soap of any kind and got a bumpy rash everywhere!
Oh, mamas, don’t you want to lead your daughters intstead of letting them stumble through these new seasons?
I’m so excited about Robin Jones Gunn’s new book, Preparing Your Daughter for Womanhood which will lead you in leading your daughter.
I read the book a few weeks ago and even though it’s geared to moms of tweens, I was inspired and encouraged to be purposeful in every way with my daughter. I can tell you, as an old mom of a 14 year old, each year of teenagerhood is a new season. In fact, every few months seems to be full of new seasons!
I think I’ll let Robin tell you a little more about this wonderful book:
Do you just love Robin? Did you just get so excited? I’m excited for you! I love the words she said, “make a sacred fuss”! Robin is the queen of bringing the sacred to every day life. She really will help you as you welcome your daughter to womanhood!
The book is a tool to help you have this special conversation–there are tips from Robin about the actual day and conversation. There are also ideas from other readers and friends who have done this same thing in their home and church.
But it’s more than a book about an event. Robin mentors you, mama. She spends an entire chapter on your past. She speaks truth to your tough experiences and encourages you to be the woman that draws the line in the sand for the rest of the women in your family (yes, your granddaughters and their daughters!).
My favorite part in the book is when Robin talks about “bringing the sacred”. It’s something I desire to do in my own life–parenting and beyond. I want my children to see God everywhere, recognizing that in Him all things hold together. This happens only when I see and recognize those things. Robin says, “I hope we never miss the opportunity to elevate
those rare and wonderful moments when God’s Spirit inspires
us to share truth, hope, and light with our daughters.”
This book is not a Pinterest-y book that will leave you overwhelmed with All The Things you have to do. In fact, it’s the opposite. You will finish the book (after underlining and rereading much of it) inspired, encouraged and totally excited to have this conversation–and many others–with your daughter.
So, mamas of little girls--yes, even kindergarten mamas, this 8-12 year old tweenage time will be here before you know it. And it’s a real, different place than you are now. Don’t let those tween years pass you by. Get ready for them with this book.
Mamas of tweens, this is your time! Grab this book and pick a special day to celebrate your daughter.
And mamas to teenagers, it’s not too late. Being purposeful with your daughter can happen today. This book may not help you talk about your daughter’s period or changes in her body, but it may remind you of the role you play in being the trailblazer–the one with the machete, map and flashlight to lead your daughter through the wilds of her teen years.
Please grab this book for yourself or the mamas in your life. You will be investing in your daughter, and her daughter, and her daughter and many many to come.