Every time that I decide to consult the family about a good topic for the next SaveGoodness post, my youngest daughter who is now 15 says I should write about her. We laugh and joke about it, and I blow her off a bit because I think, for the most part, she’s just messing around with me. Oh, don’t get me wrong, she’s amazing. Sincerely. She is a one in a million kid – bright, creative, polite, compassionate, responsible, and full of Goodness. I feel incredibly blessed that she was given to us. It has been a joy to get to be her mom. But there are thousands of Goodness people out there that are years older than her that I have not even begun to talk about, like Mother Teresa and Desmond TuTu, so writing about my 15 year old has not been my first inclination…until now.
I want to talk to you about the Goodness that comes from flexibility and the willingness to put yourself second. You see, we just moved to Maine about 6 weeks ago. It has been a dream of mine for 15 years. The first time we visited here, Olivia was less than a year old. We vacationed here several times when she was a little girl, but it had been 5 or 6 years since she had seen the Maine coast when we moved.
In Nashville she was in a school situation that she loved and she had many close friends. She was born in Nashville and had never moved away. Her whole world was there and she loved it. All of her extracurricular activities like drama, voice, and choir were there. Her “Best Buds” were all in Nashville. Her LIFE was in Nashville and it was a Good one! So when we decided to put the house on the market to get ready to move we were asking her to leave everything she had ever known.
She was understandably non-committal about the move. She did not know if she wanted to go or even if she would be willing to stay. There were technically options for her to stay in Nashville and live with her grandparents or friends – but that was not what her dad and I wanted for her – we naturally wanted to have her with us. I think with any other child we would have simply said, “sorry but this is how it is, you have to go.” But with Olivia it was different. She had lived her life and behaved in such a mature and respectable way that we felt she had earned the right to have some choice in the matter.
We asked her to come to Maine for three months and then make a decision about school. Anyone can imagine the hardship for a teenager to have to leave everything they know and start over at a time in life when people generally tend to feel the most insecure and challenged. It was asking a lot, and I had no idea how it would go.
Here is how it has gone: Olivia made up her mind that she would give herself to this adventure even though she did not want to. She was willing to be flexible and change and grow, taking on a new shape and a new form. In Nashville she and her sister had an upstairs apartment and a lot of privacy – not here. She has to have a bedroom right next to ours. She has had to be with her parents non-stop. (seriously) We only brought one car here and that means we go everywhere together and do everything together. She has had to be without dear friends and willing to make new ones. She has had to enroll in public school after being a homeschool student for most of her life (MAJOR ADJUSTMENT). And she has had to stretch in every way imaginable to make a new life here on her own.
You need to know, I really needed this move. I felt like it was almost a life or death thing for me. And Olivia has put her wants and her preferences second to mine. She has no idea how much that has blessed me and supported me. It is a gift of magnificent proportion in my life. She has been positive and open to a new way – not without some normal meltdowns – but willing to put herself in tough situations and be BRAVE to help the family as a whole. She does not know that I am finally writing about her, but today she is my Goodness hero, more than Mother Teresa or Desmond TuTu, because she has lived out her bravery and her Goodness in my life – for my benefit. She could have chosen to make this transition a misery for us – to be self-centered and inflexible, and it would have been somewhat understandable, but she didn’t.
Olivia is my Goodness hero. She starts at her new school this week. If you think of her, please send some wishes and prayers for a great year… she deserves it! Thank you, Olivia. This post is yours kid.
“Generosity is not giving me that which I need more than you do, but it is giving me that which you need more than I do.”
Who is your Goodness Hero?