Thursday, September 15, 2011

What I Want My Daughter To Know

Sweetheart, as much as I want to deny it, you are rapidly approaching a time that will be especially difficult for all of us, a time when what your peers think will be far more important that what your parents think. I hope I'm not too late already.

If you hear nothing else in this letter, hear this: Guard your heart. Let no man but Jesus rule your life.

I have a feeling you already think I'm horribly out-of-touch with reality. That I have No Clue how life is for you, and you're right. Only you know what goes on in your every moment and what comes to mind in the lonely times. But I do know this much; I know that for me, the fifth grade was the beginning of the loss of my childhood.

Sweetie, hold on to your childhood with all that is within you. Play babies. Play house. Play pretend. Be young. Don't, don't, don't play at being a grown-up. You have your whole life to be big. Be little while you still can.

In fifth grade I began to give away little pieces of my heart. I remember fighting with my sister about love. She insisted I didn't know what love is, and I insisted I did. As it turns out, I didn't, but that didn't stop me from trying to figure it out. I allowed thoughts of boyfriends to control nearly every aspect of my day. Does he like me? Do I like him? Will he like my clothes? My hair? My makeup? Will he kiss me? Does he like her more than he likes me? What about her is better? How can I be more like her?

Which leads down a rabbit hole of comparison and pain. YOU are amazing and beautiful. More and more, everyday. Don't let the affections of some boy determine your worth.

Don't carelessly give away kisses. And by careless, I don't mean frivolous. I once kissed a boy just to escape the porch. I never saw him again. And that kiss pains me far less than the ones I gave to boys that I thought I loved. Those kisses haunt me. Sometimes, even after I've been married to your daddy for fifteen years, those kisses show up in my dreams and this makes me so sad. I don't want to dream about anyone but Daddy. I want to save you from this. And I know that most people's reality will include kisses with someone they aren't married to, but if you can just hold on for a little longer, much longer if I have my way about it, you can save yourself a lot of regrets. You want to believe it's just a kiss, but that moment will imprint on your mind and it will pop up at the most inconvenient times. And whether you remember those kisses fondly or with regret, you'll wish you didn't have to remember them at all.

Really, sweet, I thank God for those missed opportunities I was kicking myself about years ago. For the boyfriends I didn't have and the kisses I didn't give, for the times I was dumped because someone else was prettier or wittier than I was. For the cowardice my friends teased me mercifully about.

Interesting thing about friends. I don't know where most of them are now. I cared so much about what they thought, who they thought should be my boyfriend, whether or not they thought I should drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes, if they thought it strange that I couldn't have sleepovers on Saturday because I would miss church, if they came to my (heavily chaperoned) birthday party and ditched to go someplace more fun, what they thought I should wear or what words they thought I should use. If I had it to do over again, would I? NO WAY. For I fear I would make the same dumb, bad choices.

Fifth grade is where it all began, that trip towards adulthood, and man, I wish I'd put it off a bit longer. Now is the time for you to develop the strength of character that I didn't have. Make wise choices. In friends. In behavior. In life. It starts now, Princess. These choices will be with you forever and I pray, every day, that they are good ones.

Follow Jesus in all that you say and do, Princess, and you won't go wrong. It might feel wrong, I won't lie. When your friends tease. When you are left out. When you are rejected and hurt and angry. But Jesus loves you with an everlasting love and he won't steer you on the path to destruction. I can't say as much for your friends. I can't even say as much for your mother. But you are his child and he loves you even more than I do, as hard as it is to believe. Besides, he doesn't snarl at you when you get sassy. Use that sass and confidence to make yourself into a strong, godly woman.

You won't regret it.

I love you,


KayJackson said...

Amen. Amen. And Amen. I pray your Princess truly listens to your wise words!

Sr. Citizen said...

I take exception about getting dumped because someone else was prettier - No way ! You got dumped because he was stupid - Good riddance from the bottom of my coffee grounds.

Now where did that woman hide my coffee cup - I'm still reading the tea leaves. Sr.

Sara W said...

Well said!

Unknown said...

I know this is very dear to your heart, but it should be published for all the world to see. If only more moms would instill this in their daughters. Thanks for sharing it. It really made me cry.