Monday, January 5, 2015

A Letter to my Daughter

Dear daughter,
First off, I am so in love with you. You are my world. I am proud of you, absolutely love your spunky personality, cherish the daily challenges you hand me, and I would not change one thing about you.

Ever.

But, I do worry about you.

I worry about people being mean to you. I worry about your academic progress. I worry about you not getting enough sleep or having enough vitamins or minerals in your diet. 

I worry about raising a daughter in general. When I was growing up, having a daughter was never in the picture I had in my mind. For some reason, I always imagined that if I had children, I would have two boys. And, I did.

But God also gave me you. And I thank Him every single day for that gift. 

But knowing that God had a hand in my family doesn't stop my worry. And it isn't fair, but I worry about you more than I do your brothers.

I worry because you are so different than me. You are brave, physically strong, tough and assertive. These are all qualities that I work hard to have, but ones that God has naturally bestowed upon you. If you don't act in plays, sing in choirs, or take dance lessons like I did, will we be friends someday? I know I will support and embrace every endeavor you tackle, but what if you grow up to be so different than me that we can't relate to each other? 

I know I need to parent to your basic needs now, and for the next several years, but there will come a time in your life when you do not need me to parent you the way I do now. You'll need a friend, too. I worry our differences will hurt our relationship. Will you come to me with your problems? Will you trust me to comfort your tears and celebrate in your successes? Will I be your first phone call when you get engaged or receive that big promotion at work? 

So, I worry about us.

But my worries are on a macro level too. You are only four years old, so you don't understand this yet, but our culture is rapidly changing. Especially for young women. I work with teenage girls and young women every day, and I see differences in them than even in the societal culture of 15 years ago, when I was a young woman. 

For one, young women dress different. And by different I mean they, well, wear less clothing. Respectable, beautiful, smart young women are wearing clothing that when I was a teenager, would have NOT been acceptable. I disagree that this is an aspect of feminism or a tool of empowerment. In fact I feel this way of dressing has the exact opposite effect.

Although you are most happy wearing princess dresses with a football jersey on top now, I know this will likely change. And if it doesn't, and you decide to buck the trend, will you be bullied for your unique style, or modesty?

Some of my worries are ridiculous, considering your young age. But I work in an urban, socioeconomically challenged part of a larger city, and I see young women becoming mothers sooner than they planned. Another worry I have is that you might encounter motherhood before I want you to. Many young women are wonderful moms; and I would welcome any child God graced you with at any age He deemed right, but I have a plan for you that involves college, a good job, a loving partner and then, when your life is established, motherhood. And that plan does not include teenage pregnancy. I realize my plan may have to be adjusted, because it is your life, but that worries me too.

I worry, worry, worry.

I have always been a worrier, and being a mom has not made that aspect of my personality any different.

You do ease my worries sometimes though. When I see you stand up for yourself with your older brother when you know you are right, I worry a little less. When I see you smile at your little brother and laugh with him when he does something cute, I worry a little less. When you see me sad or tired and you come up to me and give me a big hug and tell me I am "beautiful and gorgeous" I worry a little less.

So just as God surprised me with the gift of a daughter, you surprise me with your gift of empathy and care. You are one of the most thoughtful people I have ever met, and you are just a child.

With you amazing me every day, I do worry less. But I fear I will never completely stop worrying about you. I guess that's just part of my job in being your mother.

And thanks for coming up to me just now to give me our secret hand shake.

I sure do love you.

Mom