Tonight, as I rocked Livie to sleep and stared at her in admiration, it hit me. My baby girl is growing up. It feels like it was just yesterday that I brought her home, but almost a year has gone by already.
I started to wonder about the person she will become. What will she be like? What sports or activities will she enjoy? What will she want to do for a living when she grows up? What footprint will she leave on the world?
In thinking of this, I was reminded of how exciting it is to watch her grow and get to know her a little bit more every single day. However, I was also reminded of how life can be difficult at times and worried about what hardships and challenges she would inevitably face throughout her life.
In that moment, tears filled my eyes as I realized that I would not be able to protect her from all of life’s troubles. This pained me so very much.
This led me to think about what I most deeply wished for Livie on her journey throughout life and what I aspired to as her mother.
As I continued to rock her to sleep and admire her, I shared my thoughts with her. This is what I told her:
Be you. Be exactly who you are. Always. Don’t let anyone tell you or make you feel like you are not enough. Because you are. Let the judgments and criticisms of others slide off your back and hold on to the kind things that people say about you. They will help you flourish. Be kind to yourself. Remember that part of being human is being flawed. Your flaws are just as much a part of what makes you unique and beautiful as are your strengths. Embrace them. Don’t let anyone tell you who to be or how to act. Just be authentically you. Because you are perfect just the way you are and you are enough. Most importantly, surround yourself with people who appreciate you for all that you are and all that you have to offer. People who will encourage and uplift you. People who believe in you.
As your mother, I promise to be one of those people. I will love you unconditionally and support you always. I will do my best to guide you and help you make good decisions, but most importantly I will be there for you when you make mistakes. Because you will make mistakes and that’s ok. Mistakes are often life’s best teachers. I will be by your side when life’s challenges hit and I will see you through them. I will be there to catch you when you fall. I will build you up when you are feeling down and humble you when you need grounding. I will respect you. I will listen to you. I will hear you. I will accept you for exactly who you are. Always.