Tag Archives: family

Here We Go Again

Last year I wrote a post on the first day of high school for my daughter.  We survived the first year. So of course there are new things I hope for her and for my other kids which we can get to later.  Today, I’m posting the letter again in case you missed it or in case you have a child beginning high school this year.  It was from my heart and every word still holds true.  I think it’s a good way to start.

 Letter to My Daughter on her First Day of High School*



I woke up this morning thinking “Where did the time go?”

I remember the day you were born.  Well, actually, I’ll be honest, it’s a blur.  After being induced and then going through 24 hours of labor, I was exhausted.  And then upon seeing you, I was exhilarated… and scared…and overwhelmed.  I felt a keen sense of “everything is different now”.  I felt blessed and terrified.

I realize now, that’s what parenting feels like.  You alternate between feeling blessed and terrified.

And on your first day of high school, that describes my emotional state.

First, I want to thank you.  You have taught me so much.  I am certain now that God uses children to shape and form and teach us.  You have taught me and you continue to do so.  I am humbled and honored to be your mom.

As you enter those halls filled with thousands of other high schoolers there are some things I want  you to know.  Since you act mortified when I try to sit you down to “talk”, I figured I’d write instead and you can read it when you want to.  Plus, I don’t have time to put you in the car and drive around which seems to be the only place we can have a meaningful conversation.

Here’s what I want you to know.

There are days that will be fun and exciting and days that will really stink.  And this is okay.  It is all part of growing up and becoming who you are meant to be.  We cannot enjoy the mountaintop without the climb.

If you are going through tough times, remember, there is always hope.   There is a rainbow waiting for you at the end of the storm.  Always have faith.

Whatever is happening to you, matters to me and dad and it matters to God.  Talk to us.  You are never alone.

Sometimes people are nice and sometimes they are mean.  This has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them.  Stay nice.

Boys that are cute on the outside aren’t always so cute on the inside.  Trust your instincts.  Character matters.  If you feel something’s not right, it’s not.  Go with your gut.

Drugs are bad.  I say it every day and I know you are rolling your eyes right now but I’m serious.  Don’t even try them.  Say no.  Say it again.  Say it louder.  You are precious and your body and mind and soul will be destroyed by drugs.  Don’t even start.  Don’t even try.  If you see them in the room, leave.  This cannot be emphasized enough.  I don’t care if you need to blame me and make up outlandish excuses to get out of there – leave…run.  On that note, anyone who offers you drugs is not your friend.  End of story.

There will be all kinds of people at high school.  This will give you a glimpse of what the world feels like.  There will be lots of new faces and you will be tempted to compare yourself to others.  Don’t do it.  Comparison is the tool of the devil.  See, the fact is, there is no comparison.  Each person is unique and beautiful and created by God who loves them.  We come in all shapes and sizes…we excel in different things…we have different gifts but we are all important and vital parts of this world.  We were created for a reason and God has great plans for us.  We can’t compare ourselves because our journeys are so different.  It’s like a giant puzzle…we all look different but without one of us, the big picture would not be complete.

You have to try.  You have to try to get good grades, you have to try to make friends, you have to try to get involved, you have to try.  You have to put yourself out there to grow.  You cannot wait for life to come to you, you have to go out and get it.  This can be scary but the more you do it, the easier it gets.  Get out there…opportunities await.

Have fun.  There is no rush to grow up.  Laugh, meet new people, listen and engage.  In every situation, there is some way to eek a little fun out of it…even math class.  Life is what you bring to it so bring joy.

Believe in yourself.  This sounds trite but it’s true.  I believe in you, Dad believes in you, God believes in you but what really matters is that you believe in you.  When you believe you deserve great things, the universe will conspire to give them to you.  When you pray for good things with the expectation that they will happen, God will hear you and answer you.

I’ve heard it said that we should pray BOLD PRAYERS – that we should not ask for a C, we should ask for an A.   So here’s my bold prayer for you.

Lord, I ask for great things for my daughter…I do not ask for her to just “get by” and “do okay”.  I ask that you bless her abundantly.  I ask that you give her strength and courage and determination.  I ask that you give her eyes to see her own beauty and the beauty in the world around her.  I ask that you put her in situations that are positive and life affirming and that you give her the right words and the right actions to succeed and to thrive.  I ask for good people in her life…good friends, kind classmates, and inspiring teachers.  I ask for teachers that can light a fire in her heart and soul and make her want to shine.  I ask for teachers that understand and encourage and inspire.  Be with her.  Give her signs to know you are with her.  Burrow deep into her heart so she knows she belongs to you.  Protect her.  I ask for all of these things with the expectation that you will provide.  I trust you.

Oh, and Lord, before I end this…thank you.  Thank you for the gift of my daughter.  Thanks for knowing I need her and she needs me.  Thanks for putting us together. 

*originally posted 8/19/2012 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes  All Rights Reserved
©2013 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes  All Rights Reserved

Blessed to Be Called Mom

Happy Mother’s Day!

I am so honored I had the chance to speak at my mom’s church for her Mother’s Day Tea!  The youngest girl there was 4 1/2 and the oldest woman there was 93 years old.  It was an amazing day!

Wishing all the moms out there many, many blessings!

©2013 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved


Lessons and Laughs from our Dads

You can do it… “I’ve gotcha”

Thank you all so much for your comments and stories about your dads! I laughed, I cried, I remembered.

Many of you talked about your dad’s sense of humor, saying, “He loved to laugh” or “Sarcasm was his strong suit”. Another reader shared, “My dad is funny and taught me the power of laughter. Once in intensive care and fighting for his life, he insisted on being funny for the nurses and family”.

One friend remembers her dad commenting, “You couldn’t put a down payment on a free lunch.”

Many remembered their dad’s good advice. “Life is precious”, you have to have “balance”, “keep reaching, and “keep the faith”. Some remembered their fathers as “firm but fair”.

There were many comments about being blessed to have our fathers and feeling lucky if our dad is still around.

Many said “he was a great man” or “I miss him”. Some said they miss “his wonderful hugs”. One reader wrote, “The best thing my dad said to me is “I am so proud of you!””

I loved this comment about the high school years. “I was being grilled about the previous night’s activities or a friend he didn’t think was a good influence. He would ask a straight forward simple question. After I answered his question with “I don’t know”, he would raise his voice with exasperation and say,” Well, who should I ask?” This usually lightened the mood and maybe even got a chuckle out of both of us!”

I love the practical advice. “You can win a game on free throws” and “You can’t get lost in Chicago, it’s a grid”. This one makes me laugh because it’s something my husband would say, probably when I am actually lost in Chicago and calling him for help. One friend’s father sat him down to have the “sex” talk and said, “There’s a lot of bad shit out there.” (That’s it, end of story.)

Many fathers said, “The older you get, the smarter your parents get” which is so true. One dad told his daughters to use their heads “for more than a hat rack” and “don’t take yourself too seriously”.

Another good piece of advice, “There is nothing out but trouble after 12 am so be home by midnight Cinderella”. I especially love that he added the “Cinderella”. Many dads had nicknames for their kids. My friend Maggie remembers her dad greeting her with, “What’s your story, morning glory?”

My dad loved to answer with a little quip. When we were out to lunch and someone mentioned a tip, my dad would say, “I’ll give you a tip. Stay out of jail.” One reader commented that when someone would say “Have a good day”, her dad would answer, “I always have a good day, can’t stand the other kind.”

It never failed for us when we were at a restaurant. My dad would get the bill and say, “Whoa…did somebody break a window?”

My friend said her dad would tell her, “I’m going to Minnie’s room to watch the parade” which now she realizes meant he was going to a bar with the guys.

One reader shared that her dad is battling pancreatic cancer yet he continues to fight with humor and grace. She said this has given her a lot of time to think about what he has taught her. Here are some of the lessons she shared: Perspective — as kids, when we were whining he would cut us off with “that is the saddest story I have ever heard”. I find myself using on my kids. Keep it in perspective! Being impressed by hard work — my dad gets choked up by a success of a new restaurant or story in the newspaper. Loyalty — my dad has always been there for me. Always. You are there for others. Humility — though brilliant and “well known” in his field you wouldn’t know it as Dad doesn’t brag of his successes, he makes others feel comfortable. Support — my dad is my biggest fan. That is a great feeling and allows me the courage to move ahead.

I was especially moved by stories about how much dads loved their wives (our moms). It is a real blessing to see this as a child. One friend commented that her dad would always say, “I love that woman” referring to his wife. They were married 49 years before he passed.

Love is the general theme here and of course, laughter too. We don’t always remember the exact words but we remember the feeling. We remember the smiles, the twinkling eyes and the hugs. I remember the feeling of knowing that my dad loved me no matter what happened. There was someone who would always be on my side, rooting for me, cheering me on, and telling me I was beautiful and smart and worthy.

My dad had many great lines including, “Don’t let anyone else spoil your good time”. I loved his simplicity. If I was throwing a temper tantrum about something, he would look at me and say, “Get serious”. Or before Sunday school each week he would ask me very seriously, “Who made the world?” and I would have to answer, “God made the world”.

Simple stuff…yet profound.

Thanks to all the dads out there. To all the dads that are in the midst of the diapers and strollers and bottles and sleepness nights…what you say matters, what you do matters. To all the dads out there in the middle of grade school and homework and sports and coaching…what you say matters, what you do matters. To all you dads in the middle of middle school and high school and hormones and battles and disciplining and wondering and fearing and hoping and praying…what you say matters, what you do matters. To all you dads out there with grown up kids who are dealing with joys and disappointments and college and jobs and marriages and grandkids…what you say matters, what you do matters. Because we never get too old for our dads.

You “lift us up” when we are young and you continue to lift us up as we grow.

I think my favorite thing my dad said was his answer to me when I would tell him I loved him. I would say, “I love you Dad” and he would answer, “I love you MORE.”

What a gift. Thanks Dad.

©2012 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved