“#1 told me today that it wasn’t fair that girls can’t do everything boys can. I mean she was crying and in tears at 6. What she was referring to or where it came into mind I am not really sure. I told her I know it isn’t fair. I went on and we talked about how women make less money than men by 25 cents (dear God I told my kindergartner this?) She thought for a minute, she looked me dead in the eye and smiled and said, “I know.” And the scary thing she truly looked like she did.”
Want some context? Monday I did the traditional teacher purge of clothes in my closet I made an awesome find. I found a binder with probably 300 pages of writing altogether. I wrote this story about my # 1.
As I read those words I cried. Not the sad cry. The super proud moment where I thought oh my how did I not see it then. My (almost) 15 year old cares more about politics, equality and ethics than I ever even thought of when I was even 20. She is a 15 year old in a 30 year old body. Sometimes we have to tell her to chill out. But I love it so very much. I do wonder what that momma was thinking back then. I did always make a pact to real talk with my kiddos, but telling my 6 year old that women make 25 cents less on the dollar then men….??
My girl. My # 1. My mini-me is going to be 15 Friday. 15. Gonna be taking driver’s ed and driving. Gonna be leaving my house in four years to go to college. A college she has been stalking for a long time. A college far away from me. Woah. So in honor of that and her….
My dear sweet baby girl # 1-
How is it that you are going to be 15? Weren’t you just that tiny little girl in kindergarten that came home crying that someone was mean to another girl in school and it made you so upset. I hugged you and said, “Baby girl, what did you do?” You responded, “I didn’t know what to do. I sat there.” I I asked you how your stomach felt when that happened and you said “funny, why?” I told you that God gives us those feelings because it is sign we need to do something. We went through all that you could have done. I didn’t realize it then, but those stories are numerous. Story after story of you with your heart on your sleeve.
I hate to tell you baby girl. You got that from me. It is a burden sometimes, but I am so proud of how far you have come. And no that doesn’t make you immune to your own sense of meanness. You aren’t perfect. None of us are. Sometimes you say things you shouldn’t or react in a way you will regret. But this is where I would like to remind you that we all make mistakes. Say I am sorry. Say it a lot and say it with meaning. If others can’t accept your imperfections. Hug them goodbye and don’t be afraid to move on.
Notice I didn’t say it won’t hurt because the reality is that it will. Sometimes it will hurt a hell of a lot. Sometimes it will hurt so much you will want to compromise who you are and please don’t ever do that. There is no one else in the world just like you. If there is anything I ever want for you (or your sisters) in this life it is just that. Be okay with being uniquely you with your scars, imperfections and I am sorrys. Also always remember that “funny” feeling in your stomach. It is there for a reason.
You were our first so of course we made mistakes. Gosh we made (and will continue to make them) with all of you, but with you I know you got to see me royally screw up (look above 6 year old 25 cent comment) over and over. Often you were front and center and I am sorry for that. And when Daddy got sick and had his surgery you had to step up and be an adult sometimes even though you were so young. And yea it changed our lives and made things feel a little more scary, but woah look at how close we all became because of TN. It wasn’t fair and isn’t fair, but trust me baby girl I got this. We got this. We got you.
Daddy and I figured it out. Sure we will make mistakes and no it won’t always be perfect, but spread your wings, make silly mistakes, strive for some imperfections because now is the time. You have us to fall back on. You will always have us. The time will come when you get to go out into the world and be an adult. Please don’t take yourself so seriously now and be sure to spend many late nights up with your friends giggling, fighting, singing because that is how you know you are living. And yea it is okay if you like a boy. But it is also okay if you don’t. Life is meant to be lived not on the sidelines, but right the heck in the middle of that game.
Yes you may trip, you may fall and you may want to quit. But don’t do it; it is who you become after the fall that makes life worth living. And can we just take a moment and thank God for Daddy. He lets us keep our head in the clouds and shooting for the moon, but he keeps us grounded and reminds us that home is safety and comfort. Home is where we get to fall down and figure out our way up.
I am sorry (okay no I am not really) you didn’t get the television version of a mom. I may not go to church every single Sunday. I probably cuss too much and I know I shoot a little straight sometimes. I maybe intense, driven and stubborn, but girl I am always in your corner and that you will never have to question. I have always raised you to have your own mind and speak it and if the above isn’t evidence of that I am not sure what is. My faith is strong. My love for my people, my life is so strong it could move mountains and shatter walls. So no I am not apologizing for that. Not ever.
But if I don’t say it enough I am so incredibly proud of you and who you are. You are gorgeous inside and out and I know you will make a mark on this world in ways that neither of us can even imagine. My request is simple: Follow your passion, love, love, love and love, never ever let anyone tell you, “No, you can’t do something”! (Except of course me. :D) And be kind. Be kind to every human you come in contact with. You have no idea the battle they face every day. Finally, forgive yourself because remember love always wins with you and with others. Love always wins sweet baby girl # 1.
Love, Your Momma
And this is where I hang on tight, pray hard and love her up because time is flying and soon it will be time for me to truly let her go.
Thanks dear readers – MR