I looked into your hazel eyes that were turning greener by the minute as they pooled with tears, and as I looked into eyes so like my own, I saw the reflection of me—past the similar eyes down to the similar emotions that always opened the floodgates.

So just as I’ve done since that first night we both cried all night in that hospital room alone together, I just squeezed you tight. I get you, girl. At 6-years-old now, sometimes I think you are the only one who really gets me. Even when those are tears of anger in your eyes—possibly even directed at me—I get it. 

I know what it’s like to feel like the difficult and misunderstood one. I know what it’s like to be in your own little world—where your creative, overactive mind wanders and checks out, but others criticize you for not paying attention. 

I know what it’s like to be cautious and over think things rather than just doing them, while others roll their eyes at you “just being you” they say. 

I know what it’s like to speak your mind and stand your ground even if it’s only about a cookie right now at six, but people try to make you feel like having a mind of your own is a bad thing rather than a good thing.

I know what it’s like to be the one always out of line, marching to a beat of her own drum. Though sometimes I will catch myself as the one trying to shove you back in line, I will tell you now at six, don’t let me or anyone else shove you back into line or a box you don’t want to fit into because that’s what we want for you. You keep marching to the beat of your own drum, my girl; it’s OK to stand outside the boxes everyone wants to push you into. You don’t have to do things like everyone else or change who you are to fit their ideals; to be true to yourself is one of the hardest things at times. However, there will be many who love you for being the girl who always stands out of line, content to do things in her own way in her own time.

At six, you’re so happy to be like me, but some nights like tonight I lie here and wonder . . . will you still feel that way at 13? At 21? When you’re a mom? Because besides a few who really see my flaws as the same quirks that lead to potential, you’re one of the few who sees right past them to me—to really see how my flaws just make the imperfect me I’m meant to be. 

Despite all the ways I screw up and let my difficulties show, you love me the same at the end of every day. I see myself in so many things about you, and I want you to always love that like you do now. There are good things that come from our often-criticized flaws. I don’t want others’ criticism or frustration to overshadow your love for yourself. 

Even though, at times, you and I may butt heads, I hope I’m always the first one you run to when the emotions I know all too well start that flood of tears. Little girl, I know all too well about hiding tears when others hurt your feelings for constantly calling out your quirks like they’re all “fatal flaws”—but don’t let it turn into the resentful anger as I have been guilty of doing. 

You have the biggest loving heart I’ve ever seen, kid. People will always love you—new friends and old ones. People like us are never without enough people to love us, but I’m not sure how many people actually understand us. We  love so hard and fiercely, but because of that you’ll get hurt easily. I don’t know if you’ll master the stone mask of seeming like you’re hard and uncaring where you use anger and sarcasm to hide your true feelings. I hope you don’t become like me where you let your anger sit at the top of your emotional volcano because letting anger out seems safer than dealing with all the other emotions overly sensitive and deep thinkers like us carry.

I pray this bond between us lasts through the challenges we will face as you grow. You have loved me for me in such a way that I’ve never been loved or understood and I just hope I can do that for you. Whether it’s speaking up, or lagging behind because you’re deep in your own world, or talking my ear off,  just remember, kid—I get you. 

I get it all. I get the frustration of people’s criticism, I get the frustration of your own mind overthinking too many things, I get the frustration of controlling your emotions and feeling like you need to hide them, I get the need to ramble the constant flow of thought out your head, I get the doubt that lurks because all of that makes us think we’re not good enough. But, please, baby girl, know that you’re always enough just the way you are. If you doubt it for a second you just keep coming to your momma because I get you, baby girl.

Angela Williams Glenn

Angela Williams Glenn writes about the struggles and joys of motherhood on her website Stepping into Motherhood. Her book Moms, Monsters, Media, and Margaritas examines the expectations verse the realities of motherhood in our modern day digital era and her book Letters to a Daughter is an interactive journal for mothers to their daughters. She’s also been published with Chicken Soup for the Soul, TAAVI Village, Bored Teachers, and Filter Free Parents. You can find her on her Facebook page at Stepping into Motherhood.