Sweet daughter, 

I see you. I’ve been watching observantly for quite some time now. Your uncertain tightrope walk between little girl and teenager. The push and pull. The tug-of-war. The wildly high emotions. The balancing act. 

The dolls, Barbies and endless bike-riding, versus time with your friends and sports practices. The “I love you, Mommy” versus “You are the worst mom ever!” The hormonal tears versus the playful, little girl giggles. The taking more notice of your handcrafted looks. 

My eyes well with tears as I recall years past, thinking about how your heart once beat within me.

Meeting you on my chest for the first time. Being responsible for your every need. The nighttime feedings. Cuddling you under my chin.  

Your wobbly, chunky thighs learning to find their balance across the room for the very first time. Those same thighs that now support your growing figure, as you run confidently during your cross country meets. 

Your sweet, toothy, baby grin, now shining brightly with braces, shaping your gorgeous smile.  

Your love of books continues to find its place in your changing world, as you still become completely lost in the words—now alone in your room instead of cuddled on my lap. 

Precious child, your gifts and talents, once hidden within your developing frame, are now at the forefront of your bubbly personality. As you timidly learn to share with the world what God has bestowed upon you: a mixed bundle of sweet, sass, humor, wit, intelligence, boldness, kindness, and curiosity. 

A mother’s greatest wish would be to hold you forever in this moment. Just exactly the way you are. But as life would have it, you are meant to keep growing and blooming, and a mother’s love is just not powerful enough to hold you back as you cross this inevitable bridge from girlhood into young adulthood and beyond.  

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Beautiful girl, each new step you take is more important than even you or I could imagine, filled with character building and strengthened confidence. And with every new footprint you leave on this world’s surface, my love for you only grows, just as my wishes accumulate. Simple hopes, but set firmly in faith in the One who created you.

Lead by example with your heart, smile, and laughter—and never forget integrity always wins. 

Just like your races, focus on your own lane. Watching those around you will only throw you from your game. You were not created to be compared to others. Instead, you were intricately handcrafted, to be you, and only you.  

Kindness counts. Whenever you can, give to others . . . your time, talents, and treasures. Let God’s whispers guide you through. 

Never forget please and thank you. Those words are so often lost in today’s world but they are so very easy to carry in your heart and share with others. 

Mistakes are only opportunities for growth, even if we need to find that silver lining together. There is always a lesson to be learned. Always. 

Run like a girl and make the world catch up. God gave you to us as one of the greatest gifts we could ever have received. You are a born, natural leader, and your ability to share this richness with others has only just begun. Use it wisely, in prayer. 

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My dearest daughter, as we journey together on this wavering venture between mother-daughter and the best of friends, my hopes for you are simple, yet sacred.

To keep you safe even if it means choices that don’t fit into your young plans.

To keep you strong as this world of ours tends to shatter confidence in ourselves.

To love you hard. Unconditionally. Tough. Motherly. In a way only my heart can feel for yours.

All the while knowing there will come a day you will be ready to let go of my hand.

And while I will always and forever be there to catch you when you fall with my own two hands, I also know if I hold you too closely, for too long, the light you are meant to shine upon others will only be stifled.  

My beloved, growing girl when you hear the phrase, “The days are long, but the years are short,” this phrase envelopes you. And if we can’t slow down time, we will simply stay in-stride together, hand-in-hand, heart-to-heart, following God’s footsteps in prayer, hope, and gratitude—the entire journey through. 

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Liz Spenner

Liz is a former elementary teacher and now a stay-at-home mama to six little ones. She writes as an inspiration to other women, and most especially mothers on her blog, at www.simplycomplexmom.com. Liz loves spending with her family, outside as often as possible, as well as sneaking a few moments to herself with a run, dark chocolate and writing, with her faith as her greatest motivation.