A letter to my daughter

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Dear A

There are so many elegant, beautiful letters that mommies write to their babies and I feel compelled to do the same.  I worry this will end up being like every other letter of it’s kind, but there is nothing, no matter how beautiful and well written, that can replace the words of your own mother.

Should I never accomplish more in my life, I am satisfied.  Being your mom has inspired and motivated me in ways I could never imagine.  At only a year you have pushed me to try new things, reexamine what matters to me, and take steps to be a better version of myself.  With that being said in your life so far you have already given me so much and I can’t help but think about how much you will think that I did wrong by you.  

I think you should know:

I have always tried to keep your best interest in mind.  Some day you might resent the fact that you had a working mother.  Know that I wrestled with that decision for a long time before I went back to work, and a year later I still think about it regularly.  I promise I am a better mom for the time I spend at work with like minds and projects that force me to stretch my brain.  As much as I would love to be at home with you the interaction you have had with others would have been limited.  The skills those experiences allow you to develop will come in handy when you have to go to school, join the work force, or otherwise go out into the world to interact with others.

When the day comes that you think I don’t love you or I am the worst mom ever, know that I stayed up with you when you were a brand new baby every night holding you so you could sleep.  I cried with you when you were upset.  I cried for you when I felt I was failing.

When you think I am ruining your social life because I told you no or won’t allow you to attend that party that is sure to be the event of the year, remember my job is not to be your friend but to teach you how to make wise decisions.  Trust me I would much prefer to be ‘cool’ and get to just be your best friend but when you are 30 looking back on your late teens and twenties, you will be grateful you missed out on all those ‘stupid moments’ that may have held back your peers.

When you think it isn’t fair that I make you choose between your beloved activities please try to understand life is about making choices.  Sure you will have to give something up but that is part of life.  It will be a valuable skill to learn how to compromise.  It’s a skill that you will need for every relationship, endeavor, and purchase you ever make.  I hope you remember that there is a difference in compromising and settling.  Don’t accept less than you deserve but don’t drive yourself crazy by being exactly what everyone else wants you to be.

There will likely never be anyone with bigger hopes and dreams for you than me.  When you think I don’t understand you, know you are probably a little right and a little wrong.  I can already tell you and I are cut from the same cloth but part of that cloth is a mind all your own.  I want nothing more than for you to be happy, know that you are loved, and to pursue exactly the life you want.  Being your mother I will want those things so badly for you that I have already formed an idea of what that looks like and it might be hard for me to understand that something very different than what I think will make you happy will actually do so.

Keeping that in mind, know I will always love you, so don’t be afraid to question, push back, and be who you are.  But also be sure to be respectful.  I choose your name because it was strong and beautiful, fiery and classic, simple but not plain.  It does exactly what I hope you will learn, it walks that fine line of being uniquely yours without unnecessarily offending anyone’s values and sensibilities.  

I am already so proud of the little girl you have become and I am so excited to see the woman you will grow into.

Love you always,

Mom

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