The day I became a parent, my world suddenly stopped revolving around myself and my desires. Suddenly, I was given the responsibility of loving and nurturing this helpless little being. All too soon, it became clear to me that there is SO much more to parenting than diaper changes, feedings, and play time. This tiny human who I love so much will become an adult! She’s going to have to grow up in this harsh world. The reality set in that she was going to have to face the very things I would always want to protect her from. How on Earth will I be able to raise a child who is happy, healthy, and successful? I’m still not so sure. Thankfully, she’s still a baby and our current struggle is teething and learning to sit unassisted. But the time will come all too soon for her to begin to grow. I’ve compiled a list of 10 things I need her to know throughout her life. So here they are:
The very moment I realized I was going to love this child forever and somehow have to guide her through her life.
- I hope you play in the dirt and make mud pies. I promise to let you play in the rain when you ask me to. I might even play in it with you. If you can find a creek to catch crawdads in, you should do that too. What I mean is that I want you to play. I want you to giggle. There’s no need to take life too seriously. It’s ok to get dirt underneath your nails; that’s what soap is for. It’s ok to be foolish when it’s all in good fun. One day responsibilities will come your way and you won’t have time to just play. Enjoy your childhood. It’ll be gone much too quickly.
- Whenever you have the opportunity to do the right thing, do it. I won’t always be right with you to guide you, so you must follow your heart and listen to what God is telling you. Stand up for people who cannot stand up for themselves. If you see someone sitting alone at the lunch table, know that most likely they don’t want to be alone. They’re praying for someone like you to sit down beside them and ask them how they are. Be a friend. Always ask yourself if you can do anything to help this person. If you can, then do it! What are you waiting for?!
- There will come a time when someone treats you badly. I wish that I could always protect you from this, but I cannot. Know that people who put others down are most likely struggling with something themselves. They most likely need a friend. If they will allow it, then be that friend. If they won’t allow it, then walk away. It is ok to just walk away. There is no need for you to waste your time on people who can’t see the beauty in you.
- That brings me to my next point. Sweetheart, you are good enough. You will never be too fat, too skinny, too tall, too short, too smart, etc. You will grow up in a world that will try to convince you that you aren’t good enough, but you are! You and everyone else were made perfect in God’s image. God cannot make junk. You are as he wishes you to be. You are as I wish you to be. When someone tries to make you feel like you are less than beautiful, remember that God and I love you. From the moment you were placed in my arms, you were my very dream came true. You are all I’ve ever wanted and you most certainly are good enough!
- I hope that when the time comes for you to experience the love of a man that you choose wisely. This will be a memory you will never lose. I won’t be unrealistic and tell you to wait for marriage, because that’s not the world we live in. But I will insist that you wait for love. You owe that to yourself. If you do find yourself in a situation you aren’t ready for, you have the power to say no, and you most certainly should say no. You have the power to say “not now” if that’s what your heart tells you. Your heart will never guide you wrong. However, your father says this rule will never happen anyway. (Yes, he added that.) We’ll just let Daddy continue to live in his fantasy world.
- My sweet girl, PLEASE do not believe that your mother is a moron. I’m not. If you think I won’t know the things that you are up to, then you are wrong. You know how I know? Because I was a young girl once, too. Here’s an important life lesson: If you can’t go to sleep with what you’re about to do, then DON’T DO IT! Also, if you don’t want others to know the things you do, then you better not do them. But it is inevitable, you will get in trouble and you will do things that keep you up at night with worry. When you do wrong, do what you can to fix it, learn from your mistake, and move on. Know that there is nothing in this world that you could ever do to make me stop loving you. You will disappoint yourself along the way and you’ll disappoint me, too. But, through thick and thin, no matter what, my love for you will always remain.
- You know how I said you should play hard? Well, you must also work hard. This world is not an easy place to live in. In order to survive, you must put in some effort. Please don’t ever put yourself in the position where you must depend on another financially. You can become anything you want in this world, but be sure that you have the means to support yourself when the time comes. You may wish to be a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher, a secretary, a housewife; the list can go on and on. Know that if you want to be a stay at home mommy like me, that’s just as noble as being a doctor like your daddy. But please be sure that you can support yourself in some way if you ever have to. Also, working hard isn’t only financially rewarding. It’s also good for one ’s self esteem to see that they have completed a job well done. It’s something you can be proud of.
- I need you to know that whatever issue you are facing, you are not the first person who has ever faced it. There is nothing new under the sun, my dear. Nothing. Talk to me. I am here. Chances are good that the very same problem you have, I have had too. Maybe not, but regardless, I can help you through it. Something that should always comfort you is this: There is no problem that God doesn’t already have the answer to.
- Remember your roots. Be proud of your family. We are proud of you. One day you will leave the home you grew up in to start a life of your own. This is normal and is what every parent should want for their child. But always remember where you came from. It won’t be long until you find yourself wishing for the safety of home. You’ll always be welcome here. I’ll make you your favorite meal and pull down your covers at night when you come for a visit. You, my little birdie, will learn to fly, but your nest will always be waiting for you when you need a rest from the world.
- Sweetheart, the time will come when I can no longer be with you. I pray that is a very long time from now, but no one knows the time we have left on this Earth. That’s why I want you to know all of these things. Know that you are my world. You are my happiness and you are my sunshine. I will love you forever, for always, and no matter what.
These are just my wishes for my daughter. When she’s old enough to comprehend and appreciate my words, I will share them with her. I’m certain that we all have different hopes and dreams for our children. I encourage you to search your heart and decide what you would like your children to know about life and record your own thoughts for them. Life is fleeting and children grow much too fast. They’ll need our guidance through every stage of their lives. My hope is that when my daughter doesn’t have the courage to call me at 2 a.m. when her heart is hurting, that she will pull out my words from her bed side table and read them time and time again.