Tonight I held you on my lap and chuckled at your bruised knees. I think today you fell a total of five times. Each time you stood again and went about your business as if nothing ever happened. Your clumsiness you get from me. I’m sorry.
I brushed your teeth and smelled your freshly cleaned hair. You sang your songs, hideously loud and horrendously out of tune, and then quickly tried to escape to the backyard. Completely naked.
I listened from the kitchen as your dad dressed you and tickled you. Your belly laugh filled our home. It is the best noise a mother could ever hear. (Besides the quiet breathing of a sleeping toddler and baby.)
Yesterday your Pop Pop yelled at me for giving you a whole doughnut to eat. I explained our “treats rules,” but in the back of my head I was thinking, “and right now, at this age, she just loves that doughnut and doesn’t care an ounce about those calories.”
Dear Daughter, the world is harsh. I write this at nearly 27 and though my days are filled with immense joy and incredible happiness – I know the harshness of the world. I know the harshness that lies within me. The harshness I have allowed to permeate my existence.
As I hold you and survey the bruised knees, the dirty hands and face, the innocent way you galavant through the yard – I want to press pause and save you from ever growing up. From ever leaving this safe, care-free world you call home. I want to stand up and shield you from the world in which you will face. I want to beg you to homeschool through college. I want to protect your eyes from ever seeing the front of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition or Victoria’s Secret commercials. (Or worse…) I want to throw away our scale and make sure you never hear me when I show disdain for my own body.
I want you to be a scientist. Be a lawyer. Be a chef. Be a doctor. An engineer. A ballerina. An author. A poet. A mailman. A princess. A homemaker or stay at home mom.
I want you to be confident, but never cocky. To look at a task or a mission and work hard at it. I want you to never back down from an obstacle, but learn to duck your head when you need to.
I want you to be humble, but never silenced. You ARE of value. Your opinions mean something. But be respectful of those who don’t share the same ones. Remember that quiet confidence beats screaming insecurity any day of the week.
I want you to know true love, but never lose faith in its existence when your heart is broken. True love isn’t butterflies. It isn’t always hand holding and romantic getaways. It isn’t a boyband lyric or a hot makeout session in a car. True love is in the ugly moments. The hard moments. The defeated moments. The days when life wrecks you, and you need someone to sit beside you and say, “WE’ve got this.” True love is the hand holding yours in the face of the impossible. It is the one swimming against the current with you. True love is anything but romance. It is gritty, but it is sweet.
I want you to know Jesus. Oh how badly I crave this for you. I know it’s only my job for you to see Him in me, but how I would love to take you down the road I’ve traveled to get here. There is no place of peace or love more perfect. He is Hope in the midst of impossible storm. Truth in the face of lies. Promise in the wake of uncertainty. He is Good.
I want you to call your Dad every week. See, he won’t tell you this, but I will. He’s a little broken, we all are in a way, but his brokenness runs a little deeper.
When he held you for the first time I saw healing.
When he held your brother for the first time, I saw healing.
When I walked down the aisle towards him, puddle of tears and all, I saw healing.
God knows well beyond all of us how to fix our hurts – our brokenness. Becoming a husband helped your dad, but becoming a father restored him. The way you shout that you love him, how “he’s the best dad ever”, or even when you cry when he leaves – it reminds him of who he is. He’s Dad. And it is his favorite rank he’s ever been promoted to.
Fatherhood is not easy. To be a protector like your dad. To be a warrior and champion, but be forced to let your children grow and make mistakes. To leave the safety of his arms. These things will hurt him. It is a natural part of life. He will learn. Just call him once a week. Tell him you love him. Ask him how his golf game is going. Let him vent to you about how I want more chickens. You are his heart walking around in the world, so let him know you’re okay.
Dear Daughter, I want you to be brave, fearless, a leader, strong, hopeful, humble, and a good woman in a storm.
Never ever surrender. Never let the world take from you that which is good. YOU are good. Be kind. Be hospitable.
When they say you can’t – Do.
When they say you aren’t – Be.
This world, and nothing in it, defines you. You were stitched and formed within me by the Great Hand of God. The same hands that shaped the Earth and called it into existence are the very same hands who shaped and moulded each facet and detail of who you are. He knows your inner workings and provides each need. He commands each breath and heart beat. He knows every hair that rests on your head, and He keeps record of every tear you may lose.
Dear Daughter, you were entrusted to me. Of all the women in all the world He made me your mother. It is terrifying – each day. But as I hold you on my lap, while you’re still small, I listen to you sing and I pray …
“Oh Lord stand high above her. Go before her. Shield her. Make her strong. Let no one seek to harm her. Make her resilient. Make her a leader. Put some fight in her. Let me be the example. Whatever she touches may it be changed. Whatever she does may it be ordained. Whoever she becomes may she be brave.”
Love from the deepest parts of my being,