My mama, Lynne, lights up a room when she walks into it. She just radiates warmth, and it's the most wonderful feeling in the world to be around her. People are simply drawn to her, and the friends she has are her friends forever -- and then some. That's why I'm so lucky that she's my best friend.
What we have between us is something rare. The older I get, the more I realize that. Growing up, I knew so many girls who used to fight all the time with their moms -- over everything, it seemed: boys, clothes, curfews -- and that used to make me so sad. I wished they could all have a mom like mine. (Although my brother, my sister, and I would've hated to share her with anyone else!) She is the strongest, bravest, most generous person I have ever known, and I'd be truly blessed if even just a little bit of that has rubbed off on me. An interviewer once asked me what I thought was the key to success. Well, I think it takes three very important things: (1) talent, (2) a belief in yourself, and (3) someone who believes in you. My mama was and is that someone.
I wanted to write this book so people could understand what a special bond we have between us and how much we've depended on each other over the years -- through good times and tough ones (and there have been some tough ones). I hope that in sharing our story we'll inspire mothers and daughters to open their hearts to one another. It would also be great to be able to encourage kids to follow their dreams and not to be scared to set high goals. I'm living proof that you can succeed, no matter where you're from or how little you have. My family didn't have a whole lot of "things" when I was growing up, but we had one another.
Back home, folks always joke that my mama and I can complete each other's sentences. It's true -- and besides that, she calls me at exactly the moment I need her most. Don't ask me how she does it. Somehow she senses what I'm feeling, even if we're thousands of miles apart.
So I'd tell her right now just how much I love her, but she already knows. Britney Spears
Britney and I would go to the moon for each other. Mothers and daughters aren't always as close as we are, especially during the teenage years. It's a hard time, and there's potential for a lot of misunderstanding. People say there's a generation gap. Well, I don't really believe that. We've always managed to put any differences aside and focus on what is the key to any good relationship -- love and respect for each other. You can love your child and you can love your mama (that's nature's way), but it is important to truly like your child and your mama, too.
Kids will make mistakes; they'll do things they shouldn't. That's a given. But didn't we all make mistakes when we were younger? I always try to remind myself of that and stay as open-minded as possible. (I just love it when Brit tells me I'm "cool.") Maybe I don't understand everything that she likes or does (the belly-button-piercing thing I just do not get!), but I give her room to learn, room to explore, room to grow. Which doesn't mean I don't worry -- that's a mother's job, after all. But I know that she's got a good head on her shoulders and a big heart, and they'll be her guides when I can't be with her.
I certainly don't want any of the credit for Britney's success. She's earned that all by herself. I haven't done anything more for my daughter than any good mother would do: I just nurtured her on her path. I believed that Britney had a great gift and that she should use it, if that's what her heart was telling her to do. There were people along the way who told me I was doing the wrong thing, that I was building up her hopes and it could only lead to heartbreak. What kid from Kentwood, Louisiana, ever went on to become a pop star, much less by the age of seventeen? But just because no one had done it before didn't mean Britney couldn't. Someone had to be the first, so why not her? I knew there'd be plenty of obstacles in her path, and I tried my best to prepare her for them and help her jump those hurdles as they came along.
I'm an elementary-school teacher and I love to teach, so of course I'd like everyone to learn something from our experiences. This book is a wonderful chance for me to share some of the things I've learned while raising Brit, her brother, Bryan, and her little sister, Jamie Lynn. Lesson 1: Being a parent is more than just helping with homework, kissing scraped knees, or nursing the chicken pox. It's a lifelong job and it's the most challenging -- yet the most rewarding -- one you will ever have. Lesson 2: There's no book on how to be the perfect parent, no rules to follow. (And I'm thankful for that because I probably broke them all!) Every child is special and unique, and you just do the very best you can. And finally, Lesson 3: There is no greater joy than finding your meaning in life -- except maybe helping someone you love find hers.
Writing this book with Brit has been a labor of love for both of us. We've shared so much over the past eighteen years, and we still do. (You should see our phone bills!) What I hope you take away from our efforts is a better understanding of who Britney is (who knows her better than her mama?) and of the power of love, faith, and family. If you believe in these things and follow your heart, the sky is the limit. Lynne Spears