Sugar and spice, and everything nice.

That’s what girls are (supposed to be) made of.

But, what about grit?

Determination.

Perseverance.

Diligence.

Hard work.

And bravery?

What about sass?

Leadership skills.

Intelligence.

Fierce.

Bold.

And fiery ice?

What about compassion?

Kindness.

Grace.

Integrity.

Humility.

And empathy?

Raising a daughter is a swirling whirlwind of skinned knees, glitter explosions, bossy looks without a word said, and tenderheartedness. A beautiful concoction only made possible by the intricate handiwork of her Father Above.

Raising girls is a work of heart. And nothing less.

It’s nursing her through her first weeks and months, only to solely sit on your hip, when no one else in the world will do. It’s holding her hand as she fumbles her first steps and cheering her on, as she dances away to her favorite Disney songs. Just in time to find the perfect seat, front-and-center, as she makes her first real-life dance recital debut.

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It’s attending princess tea parties while wiping away her dripping milk mustache. It’s teaching her to slide into first base while walking away from gossip. It’s guiding her to carry an empathetic heart while standing up for her beliefs. It’s allowing her to set the world on fire while following her with a bucket of water. It’s tucking a tiny hammer into her back pocket, as you explain the term glass ceiling.

It’s teaching her she possesses limitless gifts and not to sell herself short. It’s reminding her that she does not fit into a cookie-cutter mold or impression, and never for once will she. It’s gently letting her fail, so she can learn how to pick herself back up, stronger than ever before. It’s ingraining within her that size doesn’t matter as she prepares to face peer pressure, eating disorders, jealousy, competition, and cyber-bullying.

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It’s missing her tiny fingerprints that once stained your coffee tables and walls, as you watch them leave their fierce impact on the world. It’s watching her unfold her blend of fire-and-ice as she pushes you toward the heat, then suddenly melts into your arms at the first hint of despair. It’s remembering the tiny, spriteful pig-tails that are now twisted into an intricate updo for her senior prom and wedding.

Raising a daughter is nothing short of an undeserving gift.

A gift that you have the blessing to wrap, watch unfold and open her wings to fly away into the world, on her own . . . as her wings soar upon the knowledge you have bestowed upon her every second, along the way.

Raising a daughter is raising a woman who will one day become your very best friend.

Liz Spenner

Liz is a former elementary teacher and now a stay-at-home mama to six little ones. She writes as an inspiration and encouragement to other women, and most especially mothers on her blog, at www.gracefullywoven.net (where you can subscribe and receive her free Five-Day Mini-Motherhood Devotional!). 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.