To my daughter, love mom

Would you believe me little one if I told you that from elementary until I was 18 I maybe wore shorts 10 times? Even in the hottest of summers my legs were always fully covered. In 6th grade I was invited to a pool party that I reluctantly attended. I got in the pool for 5 minutes before getting out and covering up because all of the cutest guys were there and I was embarrassed. You see, I had the palest skin in the history of mankind and it was humiliating. I looked in the mirror all of the time wishing that one day I would wake up freckeless and tan. I cringed in gym class when I had to put my gym shorts on, I could feel anxiety eating me to the point of tears, I was in 7th grade, 13 years old. Over the years mommy has accepted things about herself that she hasn’t always liked but it sometimes seems like more things have just stepped in to take their place. We live in a world that makes it easy to feel insecure and as I look back I realized that it starts so early on, when you’re still just a child.
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When I had you my life changed in so many ways. I had always thought about the future that I wanted for the boys and how my life and example effected them but you were different. As I watched you sleep tonight I couldn’t believe just how beautiful an 8 month old could be. You were perfect in every way and I found myself desperately hoping that a day would never come that you didn’t know it, though I knew that it would. It felt overwhelming trying to figure out how to make you believe and understand that there is no specific thing that makes you beautiful. I wanted you to see that beauty isn’t just an image but it’s action, and passion and words. It’s laughter and attitude, kindness and confidence. Beauty is outside and inside but no one outward appearance defines what it should be.

What I say to myself or about myself never seemed to matter (even though it totally did) until I had you. So many times I’ve caught myself making negative comments about my body, my hair, my face, and I’ve been devastated at the thought that those little 8 month old ears heard me. I would be broken if I ever heard you talk about yourself that way and it would be worse knowing where you learned it from. Wanting change is fine but putting yourself down on the journey is a habit I hope you never develop. There is so much responsibility that a mother carries when it comes to setting an example of how to be a woman in this world. A world that is full of beauty and love but can also be cruel and pass harsh judgements. I will spend the rest of my life striving to be that for you.

I hope you love yourself, every bit of you for exactly who you are. I hope that whatever it is that makes you feel like you need to hide becomes the part of you that you love the most. I hope that when you look in the mirror you see a perfect mix of mom and dad because you and your brothers are the most perfect part of me. I hope that when you encounter hate that you will respond with love. I pray that those that disrespect you will never tear you down but will instead play a significant role in making you stronger. I hope I can set an example for you of what it means to be compassionate but fierce. I want your insecurities to never hold you back but make you fight harder, pusher farther and do more to prove not to anyone else but to YOU that you are worth it. Someday I want you to marry a man because you love him, not because you need him. I hope you eat that piece of cake and never own a scale. I hope you care for yourself and love your body in every form it takes through each phase of your life. More than anything I hope you always remember that you were created to be exactly who you are by a Creator that loves you and would never want you to spend a day wishing you were anything more than you.

I wish I could go back in time and tell that little girl to rock those shorts and to stay in the pool with all of the cool guys because she was beautiful and their opinions didn’t matter. Besides, the man she was going to marry would love that ivory skin. You’re my second chance at giving a little girl the opportunity to confidently walk through life with her head up and I don’t plan on messing this one up. Mommy loves you sweet girl, for always and forever.

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