Hair bows, leg warmers, ballet flats – things that shimmer, things that tie neatly, things that smell pleasant – sequins, ruffles, and all the shades of pink that could ever be squeezed out of the palette.
This is a world that is foreign to me, a culture I don’t belong in, much less comprehend, because I don’t have a daughter.
I have two sons, the rough and tumble kind, children awaited and prayed for – and I absolutely wouldn’t have it any other way. I embrace the boymom role full on, arms wide open, anticipating the tackle and dogpile to come.
There are times, though, that my mind wanders to that sparkly realm of possibilities, like when I’m venturing into the princess section shopping for a friend’s daughter’s birthday. It makes me wonder, or I guess you could even say, dream:
What would it be like to have a daughter?
What would our relationship look like? How would we interact? Would she sit and craft with me for more than two minutes? Would she want to binge on “Anne of Green Gables” and raid the shoe aisles at Target together? Would she ante up the drama in our already loud, emotionally expressive family?
Would she fill my brimming mama heart with a sweet joy I didn’t know was missing?
What advice could I give her based on my own struggles and victories? How could I communicate her worth as a female, with all the ups and downs and wretched hormones that come with our gender, and validate her immeasurable value to the world, to me, to our Father?
The imagined conversations with my hypothetical daughter could go on and on, but if I had to limit it to what could be discussed over a cup of tea with her dolls and/or her brothers’ action figures, I’d share some of the lessons that have shaped me and offer my wholly imperfect wisdom to light for her a way of compassion, hope, and love.
My darling girl, you are stronger than you know, and weaker than you care to admit. That is OK, and important to acknowledge so that you gain a more complete picture of who you are. Dare to accept where you shine and where you sink, aspiring to grow in ways greater than you expect and clinging to the grace that sustains you no matter your rising or falling.
The world today is abounding with opportunities for women, yet still threatens to overwhelm us with unbearable pressures and unnecessary burdens. Dismiss the myth that you can have it all, and instead, choose to pursue those jobs, sports, hobbies, and missions that cultivate your mind, nurture your spirit, and produce delight in your life and the lives of others.
As your mother, it’s my duty to inform you that periods are THE WORST plague upon our kind. I’d curse Eve for her idiotic mistake that led to our monthly plight if God hadn’t already done so. Though you must accept this fate and persist by the grace of Advil and rice heat packs, remember the PMS Free Pass and use it to cover a multitude of emotional outbursts and nutritional indiscretions.
Dear one, believe me when I tell you that perfection is unattainable, physical attractiveness is fleeting, and popularity is overrated. Love what lasts – that which is good, pure, and true – and invest in relationships and endeavors that matter now, and for eternity.
Whatever you do, precious child, don’t follow your heart, for it was never meant to be your guide. Our emotions are a gift to be experienced, processed, and funneled into passions, but they can’t steer our steps with the same cognitive compass as our minds. Nourish that beautiful brain of yours, and let your thoughts and conceptions direct the way you live out your spirit’s longings.
It is with deep regret that I confess my complete uselessness when it comes to doing hair. The only styles I know are frizzy up or frizzy down; my braids look like gnarled celery roots; and the main accessories I use are generic rubber bands and the stickers your brothers attach to my head. I bequeath to you my neglected flat iron, and ask you to go with God on this.
Honey, you must know that your heart will at some point be broken. Whether it’s some friend who doesn’t keep your secret or some boy who won’t commit or some dream that can’t be fulfilled, you will face disappointment and be crushed by it. In your despair, invite your Father to come and cry with you, sift through the wreckage of your wounds, and redeem your loss through His mercy.
Of all the many wonderful roles you can have as a woman, the absolute best is being a daughter of our Savior. I pray that you’ll find joy and purpose in whatever vocations you occupy – as a wife, as a mother, as a leader, learner, employee, or creator – while recognizing that you are precious no matter what you do because of who you are as a child of God.
You are loved by your parents, and cherished by your Maker. Stay near to Him for life.