Dear Daughter of Mine,
In a couple of days, I will be thirty-six. This means that you have been with me, a part of me, for a third of my life. I was not much more than a girl-child myself on that day almost exactly twelve years ago when your daddy held my hand in a chilly little room, and we saw our first glimpse of your tiny face on the blurry ultrasound. The best birthday gift I’ve ever received was you, my healthy baby girl, kicking and rolling there on the screen. Aunt Faith and I made a cake covered with pink and yellow flowers to celebrate.
As the time came near and you stretched my skin and pressed my lungs, I dreamed of the way it would be and what I would say. But when they laid you on my belly, you were so beautiful, you stole my words. All I could manage was, “Hello, sweet girl.” And you, staring at me big-eyed, knowing the sound of my voice.
Could the years really have gone so quickly?
There are still many girlish things about you. How you clap your hands with delight over a field of horses. How you beg for a chocolate milkshake. How you get lost in your imagination. Don’t leave these things behind too soon. They’re beautiful.
But sometimes I see hints and glimmers, glimpses of the woman who’s growing in you. I see her in the far-off look you get when you’re sitting and thinking. I see her in the way you hug your little sister to your chest and brush her hair back from her eyes. I see her in the lengthening of your arms and legs and hear her in the strength of your voice when you sing. But don’t be afraid, because this, too, is beautiful.
You have lived long enough now to know that life is confusing and that dreams don’t always come true. You have grieved hard, been wounded deep, seen ugliness. These are things I would shield you from, absorb into myself like shrapnel from a grenade if I could. But I can’t protect you from all of it.
What I can do, though, is tell you a few things I’ve learned over the years of bruising my shins and bloodying my hands on the sharp edges of this broken world.
~ Life comes in seasons. Hard times come, yes, but they do go. The sweet times cycle in and out and back in, so pay attention to the moments. You’ll want to remember the details.
~ You can’t always trust your feelings. Especially now before time has had a chance to slow your heartbeat, and galaxies of new emotions spin and clash and cloud your mind. Chase wisdom, and you’ll find it in the words of the people who love you, in the Words of the God who made you.
~ You’re marvelously and wonderfully made. Nothing about your personality, your mind, your heart or your body is a mistake or a surprise to God. He sculpted you the way an artist creates a masterpiece, and your weakest weakness and your strongest strength are already written into his story for His glory.
~ Don’t run from pain or ignore it. Instead, work through it, talk it out, grow from it and let it make you hungry for the God of eternity, who’ll wipe away every tear.
~ There’s nothing, NOTHING, you could ever do or say or think that can make God, or your dad and me, love you less or love you more. You are loved. Period.
~ Life is good. Really, really good! You can’t even imagine the unexpected joys that are waiting for you as you go from blossoming girl to full-bloom woman. Welcome the journey with wide eyes and a thankful heart.
But today, sweet girl, sit here with me for a while. Let me smell your hair and memorize your face the way it is now, in this in-between time. You’ll have things to do and places to go, I know, but for now, just be mine. And let’s make a cake and cover it with pink and yellow flowers to celebrate. Yes, let’s celebrate.
I love you,