I'm the youngest in my family. I vowed I would not pass on the legacy of the youngest to my youngest. I'm so arrogant.
I have pictures organized and scrapbooked for my oldest. He has copious amounts of videos of his cuteness. My middle girl is well documented. Then came my third. This sweet girl is lacking in the documentation of her early years. Have I failed her completely? I don't think so yet, but I've humbly realized that in order to not just let her get lost in the shuffle, I'm going to have to purpose to spend time with her. Thus, we went on a girl's retreat.
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A girls retreat doesn't have to be anything fancy. Actually, the less you have planned the better. If the point is to give your youngest your full attention, then don't crowd the schedule with too many events. There are, however, some elements that are important to plan.
Time Off Alone
It doesn't take too much to please a youngest. They've been fighting for your attention their whole lives. My girlie and I found a deal on a hotel just 30 minutes down the road. We went to Target and loaded up on some snacks, and enjoyed the evening with just the two of us.
It was really interesting for me to see her just by herself. I had taken my middle girl on a retreat a couple of years ago. While my girls are very similar, their personalities are very different. My youngest can really put on a show to garner attention, and when she had all of my attention, she had to figure out how to just be herself with me. The alone time was worth it.
Treat Her Like a Friend
I want to build relationships with my girls that last a lifetime. We watched movies, ate snacks, and hung out together like friends. On our supply run, we picked up some fun nail polish and painted each other's nails. I love the Sally Hansen Insta Dry polish because it is so easy to use and it dries so quickly!
We also both love to play games. We found a new favorite: Machi Koro, and played it several times together that night. Enjoying each other's company is a great way to build strong bonds.
Make New Memories
If you're like me and feel guilty about your neglect of their past, don't belabor the point. Start today (or tomorrow) making new memories. Even though my girl wishes there were some cute videos of her first steps, she'll really love having the memory of this time that I took off to be with her. I've invested in our relationship right now, and I know I'll reap the dividends in the future.
We went out to Chandor Gardens in Weatherford, TX, a place I'd never been. It was a beautiful day, and we came equipped with our cameras. Photography is a love of mine, so I love to share that with my kids. We had so much fun exploring the gardens with our cameras, and I know that she felt honored to be trusted to use one of my nice cameras. This also gave me a great excuse to take some pictures of her to add to her album later. While she's grown so much in her almost ten years, she's still a little girl and will be blessed by the documentation of this memory.
Spoil Her With Your Love
The youngest can often get the short end of the stick. Some express frustration with this by overcompensating by being the family clown. Others disappear into the shadows. If you want your sweetie to find a happy medium, their love tanks are going to have to be filled to overflowing.
Just like you can never hold a baby too much, you can also not ever give your youngest too much of your attention. This means putting the phone down, not checking email or Instagram. It means being fully present in the moment and admiring the sweet precious gift that God has blessed you with and loving them like crazy. My youngest feels my love best when I tickle her, or have a dance party in the hotel room at midnight.
When their face is fully lit by your love, you know you've successfully completed the task of spoiling them rotten with your love.
How do you make sure your youngest is getting enough of your attention?
Betsy Strauss is an unexpected homeschooler, mother of three, who is in a relationship with a sweet man for life. She loves reading books, drinking coffee, and learning anything with her kids.