I dedicate this post to my five beautiful daughters but want it to remind all of us women and moms to be real with our children, to know that you are doing the best you can and will continue to do so. We need to believe in the power of love above the circumstances of life that may not always be the best. Believe in yourselves as moms…they are counting on you.
From the moment I knew you were inside my womb, I dreamed of how beautiful you would be, how smart, and how loving to the world around you. Your first cry marked the beginning of your incredible journey of life in a world that isn’t always kind or loving back. So with the amazing joy I felt at that instant, a fear also gripped my heart. I was afraid of losing you. Every mother feels this bittersweet tug of war in her spirit. I also feared that I would somehow not be a good mother to you, that I would monumentally screw up your life in some obscure way.
You gripped my finger with your tiny hand- a sign of complete faith and trust in my position as your caretaker, your mother. My vision of your life expanded. You developed quickly and shined your endearing personality on everyone. I hoped one day you would understand my bliss when you would hold your daughter in your arms and sing to her softly.
I wanted to be perfect for you. A naive desire. I know now that was and is impossible. I know now that you needed to see me hurt, confused, lonely, broken, and scared in order to gauge life, to understand that those fairy tales you loved as a child aren’t the norm. Your first broken heart seared a hole in mine. But watching your triumphs and joys built a bridge that healed. Nevertheless, some pain remains. Not that of silly fickle boys or scraped knees, but knowing that I was the source of some. You returned the favor though. The first “I hate you, mom!” cut like a razor, but I understood. And knowing the very fibers that connected us so tightly are the same ones that made us hurt each other is beyond reason. But that is life.
I need you to know how proud I am of you. The fact is, you are more beautiful, smart, and loving than I dreamed you would be. You are the essence of all that I showed and taught you…good and bad. I can’t have any regrets about my life or the choices I made, because taking one thing back might mean that you wouldn’t exist or would be different. You, I wouldn’t trade for anything. Just as I’ve poured into you over the years, you have taught me the most important lesson of all…what unconditional love is.
At each stage of your life you will grow, change, and understand more about life and people. You will know that being perfect is not an option. You are who you are. The perfection of that is enough. Your own daughter will see your imperfections as you see mine. She will hurt you and overjoy you. But there is no other transference of life more powerful than that between a mother and daughter. You are my legacy, as she will be yours.
Just as the umbilical cord that kept you alive was severed all those years ago, many more would be cut along the way. It was hard to let you go…even enough to ride your bike without me by your side, let alone to venture out into the big world. You rose to each occasion with pride and a little fear, I’m sure. So did I. But I will never let go completely. The tether is there. The last one that is the true umbilical cord. It will always catch you if you fall, carry you if you can’t take another step, feed you if you are lost and starving. It is unbreakable. I love you my daughter.