Thursday, April 19, 2018

ABC Post 19--Eleven Reasons I Envy My Daughters

My three daughters and I are all taking turns blogging for the annual April Blogging Challenge. If you want to read their posts you can find them here:

Monday was my day to post on the ABC, and I was out of ideas. So I asked on social media and got enough suggestions to keep me writing for months. Today's post is a takeoff on Elsie Mae Lapp's suggestion—"7 areas that my daughters do life better than I do." Minutes after she posted, I got texts from two daughters saying I should take her suggestion. All right then.

Jenny, Amy, me, and Emily--in Seattle in January

Here's what I envy about them:

1. They have a confident and quirky fashion sense. Fashion is a great puzzle to me, but they put together pieces that it would never occur to me to wear together, and they go out in public looking like a million bucks. If I would try to put a similar combination together, I would look like I put on the random leftovers from the Habitat for Humanity rummage sale.

They even have an Instagram account.

Also in Seattle. That yellow coat gets compliments

Would you think of wearing those shoes with that dress?
I wouldn't. But the effect was quirky and cute.
2. They have skinny waists. I like 50s shirtwaist dresses, belts, and full skirts. All of the above look amazing on my wasp-waisted daughters.  I, on the other hand, am kind of like Mt. Hood—small at the top and gradually getting wider as we drop in elevation. This shape doesn't look so good in gathered skirts and defined waists.

3. They have immediate clarity and a short, smooth channel from brain to mouth. I on the other hand am painfully slow in figuring out what someone is saying and in formulating a reply—up to three days, sometimes. All my life, people have taken advantage of this in the most frustrating and infuriating and intimidating ways. 

My daughters, on the other hand, can immediately recognize rude or ridiculous or illogical speech from rude or ridiculous or illogical people, and JUST THAT QUICK they can THINK and SAY a reply that will instantly put to silence the ignorance of foolish men, as 1 Peter 2:15 says.

They aren't as convinced as I am that this is something to be envied. In fact, they have to work hard at reining in those runaway words because sometimes they would really be unkind. One of the daughters told me she knows she'd have the power to devastate a husband, and that scares her. Well, good for her, but just ONCE I would like to have the option of instantly putting a rude person in their place, seeing that stunned and confused look in their eyes, and walking away victorious.

Two intimidating women
4. This sort of goes with the last point. My daughters are fearless. They are not intimidated by people. And they are impervious to shame. When I was their age, I let everyone else define my worth and spiritual health, so an unctuous rebuke about dating a guy who wasn't a church member, from an older woman at church, sent me into a tailspin of agony and anxiety for days. In my mind, I would EXPLAIN and JUSTIFY and even tell her it was NONE of her BUSINESS! Never in the moment, though, and never to her face.

My daughters can't even comprehend this. In fact, other people are kind of afraid of THEM! If meddling people ever have the nerve to rebuke my girls for silly things, they either smile and nod politely and then laugh indulgently afterwards, or they whip back a reply that utterly confuses the other person. "Ok, thank you for pointing that out. I'll be sure and look up those Bible verses you mentioned about not wearing a denim skirt to church and sitting in the foyer."
"Wha. . .? But I didn't mention. . ."
That sort of thing.

Once again, they rein in their impulses and say maybe 5% of the snarky replies that immediately come to mind.

Jenny in Jamaica in 2012, grossed out but fearless
with the frog she found in the toilet.
5. They are good at decorating. Once again, they trust their own tastes and don't endlessly second-guess themselves, and the results are beautiful. Amy's room is all whites, creams, natural wood and green plants. Emily's has more of a Victorian flavor, with pale greens and pinks, antiques, and flowers. Jenny painted her room white but chose a very deep dark blue-gray for one wall, which I would never in 50 years have had the courage to do, and then accented with metallics and arrows and black and white. All three rooms are pretty and welcoming.

6. They know their way around electronics and technology and social media. From Instagram stories to downloading podcasts to burning cd's, they just sit down and do it. It is impressive.

7. They are disciplined and efficient. Their mornings are planned and scheduled down to the minute. They get homework done on time and get to bed at the right time so they can get up early to make coffee and exercise and get off to school or work on time. This is also impressive. Maybe they get it from their dad.

8. They can all go merrily marching that long ascending path up to Horse Rock and enjoy it and keep up with their brothers. Jenny is the most athletic, I think, and is an excellent volleyball player and stays in great physical condition. But they are all excellent walkers, as Miss Bingley said of Elizabeth Bennet. I envy them.

9. They can sing.
Amy sang in the Riverside Community Choir
[As Mr. Bingley said, at least in the older P&P series, "But all young ladies are accomplished. They sing, they draw, they dance; speak French and German, cover screens, and I know not what."]

10. They surpass me in certain creative pursuits. One makes lovely watercolor paintings, one writes excellent drama and fiction, and the third makes magical food.

Jenny painted this card

Some of the characters in Emily's Christmas play.
Amy's Easter cake

Amy cutting Thai peppers for this soup that I call blizzard soup,
because if I am ever lost in a blizzard, I want her
to feed me this soup when I'm found.
11. They have a dad who is a great life coach and who loves to discuss their finances, help them get a better phone plan, work on their cars, solve problems, and figure out how they can pay for college. I think it made a big difference in my daughters' readiness for adulthood. My dad could have given great advice on buying a horse or figuring out if we were related to Levi Detweiler's first wife, but he could barely find his own way through the modern world, much less advise his kids on college, cars, courtship, or careers. 

Here's the whole family. Paul is proud of his kids but I don't think he envies them.

 "Envy" implies just a bit of resentment, so maybe "admire" would be a better word. Either way, I am blessed beyond all explaining with three fun and talented and kindhearted daughters.


  1. Wow,"the power to devastate a husband" that is quite a statement.

  2. I'm sorry...I have to take issue with #10. YOU are a writer, and a good one. What is your writing if not a "creative pursuit?" Writing is not a competitive undertaking; but I can't think that any of your daughters "surpass" you at this talent. And if they did, who would have inspired them to do so?

    1. I added the word "certain" to clarify.

  3. What a wonderful tribute to yourself! Those lovely girls didn't grow up in a vacuum, but in YOUR home and they have turned out to be wonderful women. Isn't it great to see the fruit of our labors in our children? I'd like to hear from your daughters about all they learned from you and how much they love you, and how grateful they are for all you taught them. (By the way, that's what I've asked for from our five children for Mother's Day: Love letters from them to me!)

  4. I echo a Rosy's sentiment. Your daughters did not turn out so admirably by accident. I kind of imagine you and Paul did what we did with our five: Did the best we could with the common sense we had, remembered what NOT to do from our own childhoods, prayed a lot, and thanked God fervently for gracing our mistakes. None of them are in therapy. Yet. 😁

  5. With all those suggestions from facebook for topics to write about, perhaps that will reduce your stress as the Register-Guard deadline hovers over you. LRM

  6. Dorcas, I enjoy your blog SO MUCH! Will Amy share the blizzard soup recipe?
    Keep up the wonderful words!
    Your reading friend, Ellie Bontrager, Limon, CO

  7. I am with you in many areas! The last few years, however, have seen much change in me; I am deliberately trying to end my doormat, self-loathing tendencies and become the woman I always wanted to be (much like how you describe your daughters). And for what it's worth, when I think of how I want to be, you are near the top of my list in virtuous, enviable qualities.

  8. So what turned the tide, that you stopped letting ppl tell you your worth?? I really need help there. Is there an email I contact you with more details?

    1. Yes. You can reach me at I'd love to share more.

  9. This has nothing to do with your post, which I did enjoy. But this comment is about your husband's beard. It is the first time I have seen a picture of it and it makes him look very distinguished and handsome. Sarah

  10. I feel your pain, but you are such a gifted writer and I envy you in that!