To my rule follower,

I know I don’t tell you enough what a good kid you are.

As both the oldest and the rule follower, you seem to always fall victim to the attention I have to give your younger siblings who are still in the young “testing-the-waters” age when it comes to rules.

While I try to keep your little sister from throwing her dinner on the floor, you quietly eat your entire meal before putting your dishes in the sink.

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While I am trying to calm your little brother’s tantrum and get him in bed, you read silently in yours having already put your pajamas on and brushed your teeth.

While I am trying to wrangle a child who doesn’t want to get into her car seat, you sit patiently in the back already strapped into your booster.

While the little ones are arguing over a toy, you are trying to be the peacemaker as you kindly suggest they each take turns.

So often you are doing what I have always asked of you.

Being a good listener. Having patience. Choosing kindness. Using your manners. Being helpful around the house.

And I know sometimes it gets overlooked as I spend more time trying to put fires out, and not enough time watering your beautiful spirit to keep it growing.

I don’t mean for it to be this way . . . but recently I’ve recognized it is.  

So today (and every day), I want you to know I see you, too.

I see you with the kind of empathy in your heart that could only be God-given.
I see you with your fierce desire to bring happiness into our home and to the people around you.
I see you with your kindness as you always ask me if you can help with the dishes or the vacuum.
I see you with your respect and the way you give it to your family, your teachers and your friends.

I see you being you.

And I hope you see me being me.  

Which is someone who remembers being a kid like you . . . one who followed the rules and sometimes felt like that made me blend in.

But today, I’m a parent who never wants you to feel like you’re not seen—but wants to make sure you see how much your goodness makes you stand out and SHINE.

I’m a parent who is proud of your big heart in a way that I will never be able to describe—and know I’m not always perfect at showing that to you.  But I’m vowing to do a better job. 

Because I’m a parent who never wants you to lose your inherent desire to DO good—and a parent who will love you through the days that you get to those lines that you’ll inevitably choose to toe.

But most importantly . . . 

I want you to know that I’m a parent who is SO proud to get to be yours. 

And one who will make it her life’s mission to help you always hang on to your goodness . . . by celebrating it every chance I can.

I love you,
Mom

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Brea Schmidt

​Brea Schmidt is a writer, photographer and mom advocate who aims to generate authentic conversation about motherhood and daily life on her blog, The Thinking Branch.  She also owns the Ohio-based family photography business Photography by Brea.  When she isn't writing, photographing or Mom-ing her three kids under the age of five, you can usually find her listening to country music or aggressively cheering for her favorite sports teams.