Seven and a half years ago, I wrote a love letter to my daughter. It was part of a high school assignment. The purpose was to involve her family members in her life experience. Participation in her experience meant we’d be touched, too.
I wish love letters to teenagers were required writing of all parents. Writing a love letter to Princess put a magnifying glass on my connection to her. It helped us know each other better. That’s what happens when you connect through writing.
I decided this would be a good day to revisit my letter to her. Today Princess turns 25.
Reading it now, makes me think. We know what we see in our children but do we voice those feelings? Do our children know for sure how we feel about them? Do we keep them guessing or assuming what we see as their finest qualities?
Here’s my letter, heartfelt and as written –
Feb. 15, 2009
The moment you were born I cried tears of joy. I had my little girl. And what a little girl you turned out to be!
I know most of what I will say in my letter will not be news to you since I am lucky that we have had mostly exceptional communication throughout your life but here goes.
The wish I have most for you is that you will someday be able to see yourself as I and so many others see you.
You are an amazing young woman, Princess. I say this not because I am your biased mother but because I recognize traits in you that I don’t see in many your age. You are very mature and don’t always relate to the ways of your peers. I know this has made your junior and high school years difficult, but I assure you that you will grow into your life and be very happy with the person you are.
I have watched you struggle to “fit in” at times and then I see you give up on trying and return to your true self. I know that you have felt lonely through your teens and I have always wished that I could help you more with this. But as you grow up and crave more independence, a mother as a friend isn’t what a teen wants, is it? I have prayed so many times for you to have faith that life will turn out great for you.
You are very honest in your opinions. This is a refreshing way to be. It leaves no room for “game playing” and this will keep your integrity in tact as you venture out into a bigger world.
You are caring. Your natural ability to be with people and make them feel good about themselves is a gift. The way you have always interacted with your grandma has made me proud. Remember when you did her toenails for her? She was so thrilled with the effort and time you spent. Don’t forget to give yourself some of that kindness along the way.
You are off the charts for risk-taking. When you decide you want something you put yourself out there and go for it. You take constructive criticism and work with it.
I value our relationship. The time we spend together has been a true joy in my life. To be honest with you, Princess, I sometimes wonder who is the mother in this relationship, you or me. You have the ability to put things in perspective for people whether they like it or not. People like you are put into the lives of others for a reason. Most people whose lives you touch will remember you. I often feel you will have a large purpose to fill in our world and whatever that is, you will crash and tumble into it yet somehow give the appearance of grace.
Your singing is a gift. I hope you use it as such. There have been so many times when just listening to you practice has calmed my day. Your voice is so lovely and I am so glad you have kept up with your lessons. I wonder what else you could do with your voice, style-wise, if given the opportunity.
I know you can’t wait to finish high school. To be honest, I can’t wait for you to finish high school either. I am excited for your future and wish you so much unconditional love. This kind of love you will only fully understand when you become a Mom yourself. My love for you is enormous.
All these years later, still nothing I can say is news to her. I feel the same way now as I did in 2009, only now I see that my wishes are coming true. I’m still watching her “crash and tumble yet somehow give the appearance of grace” only now it’s with her career goals on track and her adult life falling into place.
Today, as we celebrate Princess’s 25th, I couldn’t be more proud. Even though, she knows how I feel, it simply doesn’t hurt to remind her once in a while.
Princess, may you continue to live life with zest and walk in your own integrity. May you continue to spread kindness, saving a little for yourself. May you see yourself as the wonderful daughter you’ve always been.
Happy Birthday! xoxo
Have you ever written a love letter to your child? Will you write one today?