Last night, somewhere between your tsunami of tears, and the loud thunderous claps of laughter we shared; I realized something:
You are poised on the precipice of puberty.
God help us both my baby girl.
You are strong, kind, resilient, brave, bold, gentle, elegant, funny, enthusiastic to please and at the tender age of 9 someone who daily gives me pause to think about how I can be a better person.
Ahead of you lies a vast ocean of stormy seas and calm sailing. I will be your compass, and your father will be your sail, but there will be times that you will choose to weather your storms without any guidance, and we’re hoping we are prepared for this.
I’ll try and lay off the metaphors for a moment and fill you in on some things I wish someone told me when I was 9.
Your friends will break your heart, and you will hurt them in your turn. Learn to forgive, and learn to forget. Learn to be angry at the action and not the person, and learn when to walk away, even if you really don’t want to. More importantly, dig your heels in and stick with the few good friends you have had for a very long time, as when you are old like your father and me, having people to anchor you and remind you of where you came from is a treasure that only childhood friends can bestow on you.
You will feel and be the object of unrequited Love at some, but more likely, several points in your life. This sucks, but oh it is just so necessary for you to feel the sting of rejection so you can fully embrace true and lasting Love when it comes to you.
I would NOT be capable of the huge and honest Love I have for your father, nor would he be able to put up with my vast and varying quirks and craziness if we had not both been through many, many, MANY heartaches and trials before we found each other.
Be gentle with the hearts that melt when they see you. Whether you know it or not you have great power. You are confident and you breeze into a room like an angel, filling the space with an energy, freshness and fullness because of your extroverted and bubbly personality.
Please, please encourage other people to shine, I know you can, I have watched you, and this only serves to make your brave and beautiful brightness more powerful.
Somewhere, somehow, in the not too distant future, you will break a heart or two.
Never be a mean girl. Treat anyone who crushes on you with kindness and sincerity and do not lead them into false hope or use their affection for your own gain. Never be a mean girl. Never. Ever.
You will feel and think things that scare you. Please talk to me about them, and if you don’t feel like I am listening, make me. I think we should establish a code word for situations when you need me and I am missing the point. Only to be used in earnest, kind of like the bat phone.
Learn from your mother’s self-destructive behaviours, and know that I am better without my digressions and my regressions. You are born into a generation that finds far more fun and wonder outside of the traditional drinking and smoking and experimenting with stupidity, than was the standard when I was your age.
Know that you can be strong without wine and cool without compromise.
Stuff does not matter as much as you think it does, but please remind me not to discount or belittle the things that you are going through.
The world ended “completely” for me a thousand times while I was growing up.
Good decisions will keep you in good stead. Bad decisions will teach you to make better decisions.
You are Loved.
You are Loved by so many people who want you to shine.
Some people will be jealous, some people will simply not like you, and that is ACTUALLY okay. Leave them enough space that they do not bring you down, and say a quiet prayer that they are okay and wish them well from a safe distance.
I could go on for pages and pages about the trials that lie ahead.
But let me tell you this:
You are going to see, do, learn and feel AMAZING things.
And I will be there. Wherever I am I will be there.
And I Love you. I Love you to the moon my only daughter. And we are going to face the next few years together and we are going to win.
Happy Birthday Stephanie-Jane.
3 thoughts on “An Open Letter To My Daughter on Her 9th Birthday”
Oh, for every 10 year old to have such a loving mother! Brought me to tears. cheers, Andrew (Painstakingly pecked out on my iPhone; please pardon my brevity and tpyos.)
You are good to the very bone Andrew. It is an honour to call you friend. Have a great rest of the weekend. XXOO
This came up on my fb news feed and after drying the emotional tears from my eyes, I realised that you are Stephanie’s mum. My own middle daughter, Summer had her birthday last week and as you know we had to “postpone” her birthday as she got sick. Reading this was everything I would want to say to her and to her sisters, but do not have a way with words like you do! I hope that you don’t mind if I share this with my own daughters as it is so well written and heartfelt and I hope Stephanie has a very happy birthday. Catherine