For My Daughter

While enjoying pedicures with my daughter and discussing kindergarten excitedly, I overheard a mom and daughter discussing the girl’s first year of college with the same excitement. The mom and I caught each other’s glance and in that moment I knew we were both seeing something unique; she was seeing a sweet memory and I was staring at a beautiful future. I can’t be certain, but I think we both had tears in our eyes.

I’m not someone who overuses phrases like “how time flies” or “where has the time gone” but there are moments when I wish I could freeze time just long enough to forever etch an image in my mind, like my daughter wearing her favorite rock star jeans, cowboy boots three sizes too big, and hair in pig tails pulling her wagon with one hand and making a dandelion wish with the other hand.

But time does move on and my daughter keeps growing and with every new milestone she reaches, I add to the mental list I am making of everything she needs to know.

For My Daughter:

Childhood is finite; treat it as such. This is where dreams take root and this is where imagination is nurtured. Play with your stuffed animals for as long as you want; believe in Santa Claus for as long as you can. You’re going to be in a hurry to try so many things, but trust me, you will have plenty of time for all of it.

Warning: I’m going to talk to you about some pretty embarrassing stuff. There will be diagrams, strange vocabulary, and blushing, lots of blushing. When you’re a lot older, I’ll tell you some jokes to go with this topic, jokes that will suddenly become funny when you’re in your twenties and on an elevator somewhere and you suddenly remember and start laughing uncontrollably, scaring everyone in the elevator. You will try to explain and pay homage to me by saying, “My mother is quite the craftswoman of a good penis joke.” Which will only frighten the elevator passengers even more but you won’t care because you will finally understand how important that really embarrassing talk was.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially from me. Tell me your joys and your fears; don’t put everything on your own shoulders. You’d be amazed how much I can carry. And know that there is never anything you can do that would make me stop loving you. Nothing.

All those things you’re going to be afraid to try? Try them. Let life lead you where it will; be open to change and new ideas.

Forgive. You must always forgive because not forgiving makes you ugly and I’m not talking about the kind of ugly you can see in a mirror. It’s the kind of ugly that twists you and changes your heart forever. Forgive and don’t lose faith in people, but temper this with the knowledge that letting go isn’t the same as giving up and sometimes it’s the wiser choice.

Be prepared. One day the world is going to break you into so many pieces you will think you’ll never be whole again. But believe me, you will heal and you will be better than before. Don’t let the moment destroy you; let your renewal define you.

The fairytale you grew up hearing about? Yes, it’s out there, only it doesn’t look like a pink sparkly gown and it doesn’t live in a castle. It’s respect and compromise and arguments and tears and laughter and love. Prince Charming has flaws and so do you, sweet princess; you will save each other over and over again and fight the dragons of this world together.

And for every time you’ve asked me, “Mommy, what do you want me to be when I grow up?” My answer has never changed: I want you to be confident and compassionate; everything else will follow.

I love you bigger than big. Always have, always will.


17 thoughts on “For My Daughter

  1. My daughter starts Kindergarten next week, I can’t believe I have a five year old and truly do wonder where that time went. Sometimes I wonder what she would tell me, if she could articulate her precious child-like wisdom for me. This is truly touching, I even got a few tears. Thank you : )

  2. I got goose bumps and cried! I have triplet daughters in college and I just sent this to them. You captured so much in one short piece! The part about forgiveness is key, as they especially need to forgive themselves when they screw up. Today’s kids either blow it off or keep beating themselves up and I have the latter type of kids. Keep up the great work! Can’t wait to read more.

  3. I have 3 daughters, and a single mom. I love every bit of this. My oldest is a sophomore, and I will be letting her read this, and my other 2 are 5th grade, and kinder. I plan on tucking a copy of this into their baby books, so I can share with them, when the time is right. Thank you for allowing us to be privy to your private thoughts.

  4. I just discovered you tonight and already I have laughed so hard I cried and now you have made me smile through my tears. I am Momma to four beautiful, unique children. The youngest three are boys. My oldest is an incredibly beautiful, joyful, loving little girl who died when she was 3 years, 9 months & 12 days old. This post reminded me so much of her, and of a note I wrote to her in the book Someday just weeks before she died. Thank you for sharing your sweet and funny thoughts and for making me think of my beautiful girl! Also, if I may add one word of advice…don’t tell your children to stop growing! They all grow too fast. It’s their job, and too fast is way better than the alternative!

    • Melissa, it’s a rare occurrence when you can see someone’s heart in just a few honest lines. Thank you for sharing with me about your beautiful little girl. And thank you for reminding me to love every minute of my child growing up too fast. This roller coaster called motherhood is made smoother by learning and laughing with other moms. Thank you so much, Melissa!

  5. I don’t have the words to say how wonderful this was, but thank you so much for sharing. I am now an emotional mushy mess!

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