There are a lot of things I want both my children to know, and I’m sure that when I tell it to them, they will wholeheartedly and eagerly disregard it for at least the first couple decades of their lives. A lot of what I want them to know comes from the things I wholeheartedly and eagerly disregarded from my parents’ wise lips, or from my astounding siblings, or from my own ridiculous (and oftentimes embarrassing) lessons. But that is neither here nor there.
Since I am of the same gender as my daughter, I thought I would start with her. And so, an incomplete, possibly ever-growing, list.
Don’t chase boys. No, really. First of all, nine times out of ten, they can outrun you, if it were to come down to an actual footrace. I chased a boy once (literally) when I was in the second grade. His name was Benjamin, and my friend Christina caught him first. Even though I was more aerodynamic than her, I was kind of a runt, and I have a sneaky suspicion that he actually let her catch him. Being the slower runner probably saved me a little bit of heartbreak and rejection, so…just don’t go down that road.
But on a more serious note, don’t chase boys. There exists no less than two (and possibly up to five) instances from my adolescent days when I wrote (and gave) boys a love letter. What can I say, I was a writer, even back then. Out of these 2-5 times, I succeeded exactly zero. And these boys either a). don’t even remember my debilitating crush on them, or b). remember. I can’t decide which is worse.
My goodness, you are beautiful. You might have a difficult time trusting this, especially when things feel all weird and awkward and bony, and your ears or eyes or nose just don’t seem right for your face, and you’re self-concious about your ankles or knees or teeth, and you had to get glasses or braces or (God have mercy!) both…there will be plenty of times you don’t feel pretty, and maybe times when other people intentionally make you feel unpretty, but remember two very important things: for one, you come from good stock (seriously, stop laughing), and secondly, God created you with beauty in mind.
I absolutely know you are going to be stunning, but more than that, I hope I can teach you to be breath-taking within, to make your heart beautiful and generous and elegant. I hope I can teach you that your worth lies deep within your mind and tucked sweetly in your soul, that people need kindness and gentleness more than they need something pleasing to look at, that being genuine is so much more lasting than being gorgeous.
Wait for the man God picked out for you. Or at least the one I pick out for you. (Chances are, he’s one and the same!) See, God and I, we’ve already been talking about this boy, and God promised to make him great. The thing about being a woman is that our hearts are usually much larger than the cavity beneath our bone suggests. A lot of things in this world threaten to shrink our hearts, fold it within itself, suck out some of the juice so that it fits neatly in some pre-conceived notion. But God created us to be pursued, to be romanced, to be swept off our feet. He ought to know; He Himself runs after us with a passion unmatched. And if you are worthy enough to be prized by the Creator of all things lovely, you better make sure the man you choose to bestow your good graces on knows it, too.
I fully believe Great Romances exist, and I hope you will, too. I hope you wait for the man who actually makes your heart flutter, for years and years after you first meet, whose gaze you hold unquestionably and without distraction. I hope you wait until your romance becomes a reality, when things like chores and bills and sticky, screaming kids bouncing between the two of you are all a part of the greatest love story you know. I hope you wait for the one who makes life exciting, despite the mundane, an adventure, despite the routine, and abundant in love, even when you’re at each other’s throats.
God knows best. Furthermore, I know second best. Remember that. FOR-EV-ARRRR. (Anyone?…Anyone?…Smalls? Squints? Hercules?) Honestly though, this is one that I will never doubt with my head, but daily have to practice in my heart. So just know we can work on this together.
I feverishly hope and have been praying for months (as in, ever since you’ve been floating around in my womb) that you will learn to trust and love God with a zeal unquenchable. I hope and pray that you will follow Him more purposefully and less haltingly than I ever did in my youth. I hope you learn from me, from my words and from my actions, that in God alone can we be perfectly satisfied.
I love you. Like, a lot. Sitting here, now, down the hall from where you are peacefully sleeping, we are best friends. You literally light up when you see me. We may have a few years of this, maybe ten or twelve if I’m lucky, but I’m not disillusioning myself into thinking this will last throughout those tumultuous teenage years that are bound to sneak up on me. I hope you still think I’m cool when all your girlfriends are off fighting with their mothers. I hope you know, even if you only know subconsciously, that I am obsessed with you, that I see you, and I see the very best parts of me and more, and that I only want you to be so much better than I ever was, in every aspect of life, and that I fully believe that you can be.
I hope you know, beyond any semblance of a shadow of a doubt, that I violently love you.