I am in sheer and utter awe of my daughter, Molly. How did one shy, sweet girl turn into such a creative force and passionate young woman? A woman I admire because she’s living “all-in” with unstoppable determination and moxie. And she’s doing it through the quiet power of an introvert.
I guess it should come as no surprise because growing up she always remained true to who she was, even when there was pressure from other girls to conform…even when she was so lonely from being left out or unheard.
From a very young age, Molly has had a depth of character beyond her years. She has the ability to see inside your soul and understand you at a level beyond words. And yet, words are her calling and she weaves them into songs that are as perfectly crafted as a handmade quilt.
Her songs take my brain on a visual kaleidoscope of imagery and feelings. They make me curious about the songwriter—what inspired her to write those lyrics? And they help evoke thoughts and reflections about my own life experiences.
Did we do something as parents to help our daughter become her whole self and the woman she’s meant to be? Perhaps these will be of inspiration:
“Be a milk and cookie mom”
Molly’s preschool teacher use to say this to us moms and I’ve never forgotten her words of wisdom. “Be a milk and cookie mom.” She reminded us how fast our children will grow and the importance of giving them the space and freedom to be kids—to play without purpose, to have idle time, and to explore their own innate creativity. So many of us fill every waking moment with school, lessons, sports, and other activities so our children have no time to be curious and explore. Taking her message to heart, I always allowed the kids plenty of downtime they filled with their own inner-adventures.
Cultivate a love of reading
My husband and I love to read and, thankfully, our children have the same obsession! Reading bedtime stories were a nightly ritual and my prescription for the times they’d have insomnia when they were older? Read. We read stories aloud together as a family and listened to books on CDs. One of Molly’s favorite memories is our reading the Harry Potter series together—nothing better than a family of muggles snuggled up to hear Harry, Hermione and Ron’s latest quests in the wizard world!
Remembering it’s the journey not the destination
Molly taught me this lesson…twice. When she was about four years old and learning how to swim, the instructor told me that the way she moved naturally in the water would make her a good competitive swimmer. Excited about the prospect of a future Olympian, I asked Molly if she’d like to be on a swim team and learn how to compete. She looked at me with her big blue eyes, sighed, and said, “I just want to have fun swimming.”
Fast forward to her tween years and her love of horses. We leased a horse for her and of course I asked, “Would you like to take lessons and learn how to jump and compete?” Once again, I got the thoughtful reflection and sigh, “I just want to be with the horse.” And that’s what she did. She rode bareback in the pasture. Often times I’d look up to see the two of them side-by-side with Molly’s arms around the horse’s neck. Middle school was a difficult time for Molly and the horse was her escape and comfort.
Lesson learned. Not everything our children do has to have an endgame. Don’t put pressure to do something simply to add to a resume for a college application. Let your child do something for the pure joy of doing it. Trust me, they’ll still get into a good college…if that’s what they’re meant to do. And if you need anecdotal evidence? Molly graduated cum laude from Santa Clara University. (And I thank that horse for helping her achieve that goal because she was there for her at a time when she needed the emotional support instead of a few competitive ribbons on her wall.)
Don’t hold her hand, just have her back
Raising Molly was such a joy. Now that she’s all grown up, I am blessed with the privilege of being in my new role as mom-friend and confidant. When she was little, she needed some hand-holding so she could safely navigate the world. We created a safe environment for her at home and now that she has ventured out and is living on the other side of the country, she still has her virtual safety net with her father and me. She doesn’t need us to tell her what to do or how she should live her life. She knows that whatever she embarks upon, we’ll always be by her side bursting with pride. We’ll be there when she needs advice or a respite from the cacophony of life. We’ll be the first ones to cheer from the sidelines whether it’s in person or through a series of clapping, thumbs up, smiling emojis. We’ll always, always, ALWAYS have her back.
Please do a proud mom a favor and follow my daughter’s creative journey:
- Like A Million Creatures on Facebook
- Like Maude Gun on Facebook
- Follow @gloryofmaude
- Listen to A Million Creatures on Bandcamp
- Witness the Glory of Maude and A Million Creatures
Images courtesy of Molly Murphy. Some photography by Dani Lencioni. Maude Gun performance image by Anthony Mulcahy.