Turning Thirteen

My daughter just turned thirteen, and we celebrated by having a hotel sleepover with five of her besties. I picked the girls up from carpool on a Friday, went home so everyone could get changed and we loaded up and headed to Baton Rouge. Friday traffic makes for a long drive, but thirteen is funny and giggly, so I don’t think the girls even noticed how long it took us to get downtown for our scavenger hunt. “Mom, tell your two-butts story,” my daughter yells from the backseat.

That’s right, I have a two-butts story.

My mom loved to tell this story about me getting out of the bath when I was five or six, drying myself off in front of the mirror and exclaiming, “Look Mom, I’ve got two butts!” She told that story constantly, and I always hated it. But my daughter loves to hear me tell it, so I shared it with this group of thirteen-year-old girls who all found it as funny as my daughter does. This led me to my favorite story about Laynee from when she was little. My sweet girl was just starting to potty train, and I walked into the bathroom one day to find her stripped down, standing up trying to use the toilet like her brother, who is only a year older. This is still one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. At two years old, she disliked the idea of not doing everything just like him (Lord, how that’s changed), so it took some convincing on my part and one messy attempt to prove me wrong, for her to sit. Laynee likes when I tell that story, too.

It wasn’t until I had kids of my own that I understood why I hated to hear my mom tell the two-butts story. It’s because she only had a few stories to tell, so she told them repeatedly. My brothers and I were adopted and raised by our grandparents, with our mom dropping in and out throughout our lives. For my own thirteenth birthday, which most anyone knows is a milestone birthday, my mom left a gift on the doorstep in the middle of the night for me. She missed a lot. So I resented hearing her share a memory from my childhood as though she played an active role in it. My mom had a lot of issues, but she loved us. I know that she carried around a lot of guilt over everything she missed and I believe it contributed to her death from a massive heart attack at an early age.

My daughter loves to hear my two-butts story, her standing up at the toilet story, and every other story. She loves to hear them because they are endless—because we’re here every day making more memories with her. We show up. Parenting is tough and I know that I make mistakes and get it wrong a lot of the time, but I’m here in all of my domestically challenged bliss, showing up anyway.

As seen in Modern Grace Magazine