For My Daughter . . .
My dear sweet baby girl, there are some things that you need to know.
You need to know that you are special. You need to know that you are brilliant. You need to know that you are strong. You need to know that you are kind. You need to know that you are determined. You need to know that you are beautiful. You need to know that you are capable of anything. You need to know that you are fearless, and you are limitless. And you need to know that I am sorry.
I am sorry that I can’t keep your heart and soul as fresh and as pure at it was the day you were born.
I am sorry that here you are, at the tender age of 11, and you are learning all too well that there are mean girls. Girls that you would call your friend. Girls that you would pour your heart and soul out to, girls that you would spend all of your free time with, girls that you would stick up for with your very last breath. These same girls talk behind your back and lie to your face. One day you are buying “BFF” bracelets at the mall and the next day you are crying in your room because that very same friend has lied to you so that she can hang out with someone else. And you aren’t wanted.
I can’t tell you why you wouldn’t be wanted. I can’t tell you why you are the only one who wasn’t invited to the sleepover. I can’t tell you why your phone doesn’t ring for days at a time, or why your phone calls aren’t answered. I can only be here to let you know that this isn’t the end of the world. This is only the beginning of your world. It is out there, to make it whatever you want it to be. And when the days are at their darkest, when you think that you are never again going to leave your room, you need to do your best to remember that.
If I were an 11 year girl, I would seek you out as a friend. You would be the coolest friend that I could have.
You are amazing. You loved princesses, you catch frogs and you are a fish whisperer.
You loved to play with your American Girl dolls, flinging them down a zip line that you designed and built yourself. At the age of 9.
You have the kindest heart. You are the first one to help rescue a lost duckling and the first one to cry when it couldn’t be saved. You buried it in our flower garden and you decorated a headstone so that it would never be forgotten. Babies and animals flock to you. They know a good duckling.
You are witty. You are the funniest one among us. You know too much and you aren’t afraid of letting us know it.
Never be afraid of being the smartest one in the room. Never feel like you shouldn’t give it all that you have, every time that you have a chance. Never settle for second best. Always try your hardest and do the best that you can. It is your weapon again this world.
Be even more fearless. If you want to do something, anything at all, DO IT. Make it happen. You have the power.
Don’t ever be mean. Don’t ever be petty. Don’t ever change yourself to be what you think others want. Because the moment you do so, they will change what they want. Be who and what YOU want to be.
I can’t tell you that these next few years are going to be easier for you. They aren’t. The mean girls get meaner, the world gets messier and finding your place gets a whole lot harder. Hold on to all that makes you who you are.
Most importantly, darling girl, I want you to know this:
I will be here for you when the girls aren’t nice to you. I will be here when the world tells you girls can’t do that (whatever that might be that particular day). I will be here when your heart gets broken. I will be here to help you put it back together. I will be here to braid your hair and paint your nails and bake cakes with you and build robots and make jewelry and watch Psyche and play games and laugh at silly things that only we know. I am your mother. And once, I was a girl like you. I know the particular hell associated with being a girl in today’s world. I survived. And I found the most amazing of friends. And I married the most amazing of men. And I had two wonderful sons. And I had you. And that, my dear, makes every lonely night, every awkward lunch hour, every day spent hiding in my room reading a book instead of going to the dance, and every quilt I sewed during the long weekends that I didn’t go to the sleepovers, all worth it.
Tomorrow those girls who made you sad today will be your best friends. Until then, I’ve got the Princess Bride in the DVD player, we can order Chinese food and maybe, just maybe, you’ll sit and knit with me.