Happy Birthday to You, My First Born Daughter
Just three short weeks away from my daughter's 5th birthday, she came home from PRE-SCHOOL and told me she didn't think she was pretty. She was desperate for make-up. It was simple; apparently, a normally sweet boy from her class was mean. He didn't like her freckles, and he told her so.
Her confidence was shaken.
She came home hating her freckles, her angel kisses, as we called them. This mama bear nearly turned the car around, pulled that pesky little kid out of after-care and ...well, I better not go there.
Instead, I processed my anger and sadness by writing her a letter, kind of the thing I do. After that I got to work building her up, by admiring the very thing that now embarrassed her. We read silly books that exalted freckles. I found posts and articles by strong women that were embracing their uniqueness in every way. I'm so proud of who she is and how confident she's becoming. It's not one of her favorite features.
This fierce, freckled, female is turning 10 this week. I'll be fine, Y'all. I'm not emotionally spirally while I Make a slideshow or anything.
In honor of double digits, I thought I'd share with her and you, some essential truths for all daughters, no matter the age. I journaled this letter to here five years ago, just a few hours after she came home questioning the beauty of her uniqueness.
My Dear Ella-Bella,
My mama heart is broken for you today. I wondered when the day would come when you would begin to question how beautiful you are. I prayed for never, but I know the world can be so eager to rip apart the innocent at any age. Today, you felt a tear.
I wonder how it's possible that you could question your beauty. How is it possible that you could not see yourself the way I see you, the way your daddy sees you? I am at a loss. And then I remember I was probably the same age as you when I first felt threatened and embarrassed by my own uniqueness. That embarrassment felt far more justified when I was in your shoes, than it does now, seeing on the other side.
I don't know how to convey just how spectacular you are, how captivating you are. How talented, silly, gifted, smart and kind you are! My girl, you are not only beautiful on the inside but breathtaking on the outside. You are a prize, a gift, a treasure. I hope you hear this with excitement instead of dread: The beauty that God has blessed you with is exclusively yours. It doesn't belong to anyone else, in quite the same way.
That can be scary to consider.
Out of fear, it becomes easy for us to wish for someone else's life. Please spare yourself. The wish will never come true, and you'll waste so much time wishing it would. You're just chasing the wind, baby. And really, when you wish, you never quite know fully what you're wishing for anyway.
When you pray you're trusting that the One who knows you best, who created you, who loves you even more than your mommy, will give you whatever you need. And if your Heavenly Father doesn't give you everything you asked for, then you can trust that you never really needed it to begin with.
Still, there are days when we look in the mirror and we don't like what we see. We want a little more of this, a little less of that. Already, in your most sincere voice, you're pleading with me to let you wear make-up.
It's not the cover up that makes you fearless, confidence does.
It's not the lipstick that makes you beautiful, it's your smile.
It's not the mascara that makes your lashes enviable, it's the humility and shyness in your eyes.
It's not the blush that makes your cheeks rosy, it's the joy of your laughter.
It's not the perfume that lingers in a room after you've gone, it's the warmth of your kind and sincere conversation.
It's not just your mom that thinks you're beautiful, those that have known a mother and father's love will too.
Be you, angel. If people throw hate at you in life, give them love. Hate always leads to death, so don't follow them down that road. Mark your own path; clear your own trail in love. It's the safest and deadliest weapon for tearing down fear and hate.
As a mom, I need to remember this and model this for you too. I'll do my best. I know you'll continue to be an honest reminder for me. I love you, my very beautiful daughter. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!