Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Cheeky One

I love the word cheeky. You hear that word alot in England and it sometimes has a negative connotation but very often when a child is referred to as a 'cheeky monkey' it means they are naughty but in an endearing sort of way. Hello Daughter 2!

Our daughter2 will celebrate her 19th birthday this week. Away from home. At college. Surrounded by friends because this child is always surrounded by friends. I wrote a post about my hubs on his birthday recently and let me just say the apple didn't fall far from the tree here. This sweet girl has always been so full of life beginning with the moment she entered this world screaming like nobody's business.

She was a beautiful baby. And I know I'm her mother and all mothers say their baby is beautiful but this one y'all...she was truly a beautiful baby. A perfect head, strong and healthy and curious...and the eyes...oh my the eyes. They could get you past any naughty thing she ever did. Big and blue and twinkly. And it was a good thing too because have I mentioned this one was just a little bit cheeky? Let's just say she loved to have the last word from an early age and she spent more than a few minutes of her young life 'sitting on the step'.

As a toddler she made my hair gray. Literally. I honestly wasn't sure I was gonna survive her 'let me leap and then look' approach to life. (Again, see post on husband). This little girl entered this world with more confidence than most people develop in a lifetime. All her life I've been asked about it starting with her very first preschool teacher who informed me that, 'A more confident child I have never known in my 23 years of working with preschoolers.' Now I think we can all agree that confidence is a good thing. Determination, drive, passion, spirit...these are wonderful qualities that most adults wish they possessed. In a toddler though...they can make day to day life a bit challenging. A battle of the wills. When she was a little girl I prayed every day that God would somehow use these qualities in her. And I'm pretty sure by 'use' I meant that He would squash them.

But you know what? Those qualities in a little one that make the day to day parenting never dull but completely exhausting? Those same qualities in a teenager are a beautiful thing. In a young adult living away from home they are essential. This is a child who rises to a challenge. Who is completely focused. Who knows her mind. Who loves God wholeheartedly. Who doesn't do things halfway. Who challenges herself. Who believes she can do anything she puts her mind to.

Just like she did when she was three years old.

We moved to England just before daughter2's 13th birthday. While the rest of us were coming to grips with the fact that we'd just had a major life change and were slowly adjusting to life across the pond, Daughter2 was living and loving it all. Every moment. She didn't want to miss a single minute. She hit the ground running and never looked back. She could have wallowed just a bit and it would have been completely understandable. But this one...she loves life and is willing to go where it takes her and to embrace every new experience.

This past spring she phoned home with 'something to tell us'. If you don't have college kids you maybe can't relate to the bazillion thoughts that pass through your brain when you get a call like that but those thoughts? They are doozies. So we braced ourselves for who knows what and she says, 'I wanted to tell you that I tried out for cheerleading and I made the team.' Huh? What? Cheerleading? Now this doesn't sound like much I know but my daughter2 has never ever in her entire life been involved in cheerleading. And most cheerleaders have been cheerleading and involved in gymnastics for many years before getting to college. Not this sweet thing. My husband and I laugh and say she just woke up one day and said, 'hmm today I think I'll be a cheerleader.' And she would never for a moment doubt that she could do it. And so she does. And this is her approach to life always. And I love that. I love to see how God took her sweet 'cheeky' spirit and has shaped and molded her into a remarkable young adult. And in the process I've been changed as well. This child has been handed some challenges in this life and she has met them head on with courage and determination and humor. This one has taught me a few things y'all.

Oh, and one more thing about miss sweetness...she has always loved her mama fiercely. Some of my happiest memories of living abroad were trips each December when daughter2 and I would travel with a few other moms and daughters to the Christmas markets in Germany. We've shopped and eaten and laughed and talked (especially talked!) our way through Stuttgart and Nuremberg and Dresden. She will hate that I've put this picture on here because we both look so... cold? Is that the word I'm looking for? It was absolutely arctic-cold in Dresden that December! But I like it. I think of happiness and chatter and mother-daughterness.

A daughter's love.

Could there be anything sweeter in the whole wide world?

I think not.

Happy Birthday to my 'cheeky little monkey'....she knows I say it with a smile.


  1. She is so beautiful, even in the arctic-cold! I know you miss her terribly, especially on her birthday!

  2. Awww, Happy Birthday! Our Daughter2- Bailey, is the cheeky one in our family too! :)

  3. My daughter turned 19 last year, her first year in college and it was harder on me than her. Ha It was fun to send her a party in a box though.
    She sounds very sweet . . . good job, Mom

  4. What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful woman she has become. You are one super proud mom and rightly so. I too am a mom of a strong willed child at 10 but I know that God will use those qualities in something amazing later.

    Wishing your cheeky monkey birthday blessings!

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat

  5. Happy Birthday to your precious daughter!
    Our daughter is our "cheeky" one too and her birthday was yesterday.
    Both of your girls are beautiful. I know you're so proud.
    Congrats on her making cheerleader. That's a great story.
    Love this post Joyce!
    Hope you had a good vacation.

  6. Happy Birthday to your sweet "cheeky little monkey"!!! What an incredible young woman she is! She reminds me so much of our oldest daughter. Our Lauren was very independent and strong willed too. She got up one morning and said she wasn't going to wear her diapers anymore and she NEVER did. She taught herself how to tie her own shoes and she rode her bike immediately after my husband took off her training wheels. As you said, it made it hard raising a child like this, but what amazing young adults they have become. We are so blessed to each have 2 beautiful daughters!!! I wouldn't have it any other way. Happy Birthday sweet girl!!!! Love & blessings from NC!

  7. You are blessed. I am glad for you and you are a wise mother as well.
    Were you a Little like that daughter 2 ? LOL

  8. Well Happy Birthday. They grow up so fast. Love that first picture!
    I wish we were closer too, cause I would LOVE to help you! I love doing that kind of thing. I did my friend Joy's studio and we had a BALL!
    Welcome home! Now go catch up . . .

  9. There must be something about those daughter # 2's. My Melanie is a cheeky monkey~ a determined, life-loving, adventurous little bit of thing. I love her and she makes me crazy sometimes, too.

    Happy birthday to your cheeky monkey and I love the beautiful things you wrote about your beautiful girl. You are an amazing mom, Joyce, someone to look up to.

    Hugs from me to you from this side of the pond to that,