Lucy wears tall riding boots and a helmet that looks like a bonnet when it’s hot out. Her hair is curly, but sometimes she straightens it. When I first met Lucy, she was wearing plaid pajama pants. My little girl, Ada, refuses to trim her nails because she wants them to be long, “just like Lucy’s.”
I met Lucy almost four years ago when she was only 14. She carried herself like she was older. The ends of her hair were bleached, she had a quiet confidence that reminded me of an old friend. She took my daughter outside to meet a pony named Cupcake. I don’t remember anything about my first conversation with Lucy, all I remember was an unspoken trust I had with her immediately. She is an interesting combination of open and guarded. My daughter loved Lucy from the jump.
Lucy is beautiful. Like beyond. Either she hasn’t realized yet that she is, or she is modest enough to carry herself like she isn’t—I can’t decide which.
All I know for sure is this: no one in this world has shaped my daughter’s life as much as Lucy has. Lucy, who lifted her on her first pony and taught her the names of everything in the barn. She helped Ada pick hooves and showed her the right way to brush a horse. She spent hours walking the arena with my little girl on her pony. She ran that arena until she was out of breath so Ada could practice trotting. She showed her how to clean stalls and sweep the barn. Lucy saw my daughter’s strengths and encouraged her. Once Lucy said to me, “There are better riders, but no one loves it as much as Ada.” That message stuck with me.
I’ve spent countless hours at the barn with Lucy, listening to her every word. Wondering what I can do to increase my chances of my daughter turning out just like her. Studying her and trying to find the formula.
The kind of girl who carries herself with a quiet certainty, one who is confident but humble, kind, brave, sure of herself. A beautiful teenager who spends her days riding trails, rather than watching TikTok. An old soul, who is wise and strong, with real-world experiences. The kind of girl who, as a mother, I would never worry about—she’s got this.
Ada says prayers at night and asks God to bless Lucy. (She doesn’t know I’m listening.) I say prayers at night to bless Lucy’s mom and all the parents like her who are raising teens who inspire young children and teach them things parents can’t, who serve as role models to them in ways a mom never will. I’m so incredibly thankful to these parents and to these future shapers. The trajectory of my daughter’s life changed the day she met Lucy.
Teenagers are challenging sometimes, I get that. Teenagers cause parents to worry. Parents might be discouraged at times, of course, but if you are a parent of a teen coach, an old soul, a babysitter, a helper, a Lucy . . . be encouraged. The impact of these teenagers is significant. These kids shape lives in tiny and huge ways. My daughter and I were so lucky to have the kindest teenager as our teacher. We were so lucky to have had Lucy.