The other day while looking at pictures of you I came across a letter I wrote when I was pregnant with you. It was full of hope and making every promise any mother intends to keep to their child. However, I promised you something that was necessary to myself, and not common; I promised to never let anyone take you away from me, and to always be there for you.
When you were placed in my arms, there was nothing in my life that I took more seriously than loving, protecting, caring and raising you – even if it meant I had to do it alone. Much to your fathers dislike, you slept with me, and I never let you out of my sight. We rarely got a sitter, and the first time you spent a night away from us was when you were almost three, and your brother was born. You were this beautiful, rosy, soft, smiling, perfect little angel, and by far the greatest thing to have happened to me, and from me. The pride I felt when I looked at you, listened to you and watched you learn everything that every other baby learned, simply left me in awe. You were perfect.
Now, here we are eleven years later, you are still perfect, it’s just you, your brother and I, and I’ve kept my promise and you’re right by my side. You have grown into this genuinely beautiful, hilarious, intelligent little girl that fills my days with equal amounts of frustration and laughter. Although at times, it can be excessive, you speak your mind clearly and precisely. You are extremely quick witted, caring and kind.
My grandmother always told me “Pretty is as pretty does” and you my sweet baby girl, are absolutely gorgeous. You are a great big sister to your brother, protective and loving. He knows he can count on you, and that at night, you sometimes sneak in when he is asleep and kiss him goodnight – which melts my heart.
Truth is Gracie, you are the first great and right thing I have ever done in my life. I know there have been times I’ve made mistakes, and I wont lie and make false promises that there won’t be more. However, I will tell you as your mother, I will give you my all. Even more you need to know that there is no way you could ever let me down as my daughter. You have already surpassed every hope I had for you thus far, and I have more faith in you every day. No matter what path you take in this life, you need to know that you are perfect just the way you are. There isn’t one obstacle you can’t overcome, there is no distance you can’t travel, and there is nothing that can ever keep you from chasing whatever dreams you want to chase. You have the world at your finger tips.
I’ve never known the love a daughter feels from her mother but I knew I was going to make it a priority that you did. My intentions were clear from the start, I wanted for you to know the safety in my arms, the confidence and security in who you were growing into as a young woman, and finding a voice that speaks volumes when necessary, yet holds silence when needed as well. Always keeping open and honest lines of communication was important too. Making sure you knew you could always ask me anything, and tell me anything because, trusting each other was and is vital. It was also important to me, to ensure that when you looked at your own reflection you saw beauty, natural, raw and effortless beauty that grew from the inside out, and that only enhanced the beauty on the outside .
I want you to be aware that your abilities are endless, to make your own path, and test the limits. Do not be afraid to love or to be loved in return. Love who you want to love, even if others dont agree or understand. You may at some point in your life love the wrong person or a bad person, so be resilient and wise enough to know you can choose to love someone without allowing them to stay in your life. Fall hard, trip, land on your ass or flat on your face, whatever it takes to learn the lesson you need but remember to always get back up. Know when to respect and obey an answer or response of NO, and when not to. Trust, believe, hope, dream and wish on every star if it pleases your heart. Know God, love God, believe and talk to him for he will never leave your side.
Ask questions, silly ones, uncomfortable ones, necessary ones, because you can’t ever know too much. Always try, even if you have ninety-nine reasons why it won’t work and only one why it will. Don’t be afraid to make a fool of yourself, to be wrong or fight for something that is right. Stand against the crowd, and stand proud for your beliefs are your foundation. Kick, scream, throw a fit and cry like a baby, if that is what makes you feel better, but do it in the privacy of your own space, or with a best friend.Get it out, feel it, deal with it but most importantly once it’s out, let it go and move on. Do not let anything or anyone hold you back or tell you you can’t do something because believe me daughter, one thing I know is YOU CAN.
Give everyone a chance, the benefit of the doubt, lend an ear, a shoulder, and even your last dollar to a loved one or stranger in need without prejudice, preference or expectation of gaining anything in return. Don’t judge people or situations because you never know the struggle God has asked them to take on. And, most importantly if you forget all of these, fall short or fail, know I’ll be here always in your corner, believing in you, until you remember how to believe in yourself again.
There is no way to adequately describe the amount of life, love, pleasure and happiness you have blessed me with – except to simply say that my cup runneth over for you baby girl, cup after cup, after cup.
Here’s to you kiddo and a very Happy 11th Birthday