Dear Daughter, When I Fail At Being Your Role Model...
I always wanted a daughter. After two babies never made it earth-side, I ached and longed and prayed and cried for you. Every dream I had paled in comparison to my dream of you; and then you came. You came quickly like a tornado on a wild night that I will remember for the rest of my life.
What I felt for you was something I’d never felt before. I became a mother to a daughter, and I was born all over again.
A mother to a daughter is different. I know what it’s like to be born in a girl body. I know what it’s like to be a woman raised by a woman. I know what it’s like to feel awkward in my feminine body for the very first time. I know what it’s like to get my period and to like boys. I know what it’s like to think “I’m too much” one day and “not enough” the next day. I know what it’s like to compare sizes in the girls’ bathroom with my friends. I know what it’s like to travel through life as a girl. Our stories aren’t the same, but they overlap and intertwine in the most vulnerable spaces.
Everything in me wants to protect you from how the world will try and crush you. I would cut off my right arm if I thought it could keep the world at bay, and your soul untouched.
I always wanted to figure out all of my issues before I raised you. I wanted to truly and uninhibitedly love the skin I am in. I wanted to never, ever, use the word “fat” to describe myself (even in secret) or have a day when I felt less than worthy. I wanted to have conquered anxiety and depression by now and I wanted to have figured out my mood swings. I wanted to stop being so damn selfish. I wanted to shake it all off and be the “perfect role model” before your precious soul entered the world.
I haven’t done that.
It turns out I’m just one flawed mama doing her very best, and though I’ve gotten more and more free as the years go by…I’m still a woman who struggles.
And this is what I’ve learned, my love, from being a woman who struggles: it is okay to struggle. We all struggle, and sometimes our weaknesses are the things that bind us together.
I’m a woman who struggles to own her identity, who battles self doubt, who wrestles with fear, and whose body image is still complicated.
I will never be the “perfect role model.”
But I am a role model who tries. I’m a role model who believes that I am worth fighting for, so I hope you believe you’re worth fighting for too.
I’m a role model that is safe for you to struggle around, fail around, and fall apart around. Please know that I will never judge your mess; it’s okay, I’ve made lots and lots of messes.
I’m a role model that believes with ridiculous faith that the best in yet to come.
I’m a role model who apologizes often and wants to stay connected to your heart no matter what.
I look at you now with your deep brown eyes and your laugh that comes from the depths of your soul. Your laughter shakes your whole body; I love that about you.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have the urge to pull you tight under my wing and keep you hidden there forever, but I won’t. You have endless empty pages ahead of you that you get to fill exactly as you see fit. I will be your partner, your cheerleader, and your friend every step of the way.
As the words flow from my heart onto this page, I want you to know this: there is nothing you could ever do to push me away from you. Not ever. There’s no decision you could decide, no mistake you could make, no person you could love, no failure you could fail that could ever make me stop loving you. Nothing. Not ever.
I make mistakes and I fail every single day of raising you; but my girl, I adore you. I adore you in a way I could never quite describe. I adore your fire and your passion. I adore your sweetness and your creativity. I adore everything about you.
My girl, you aren’t just beautiful; you are beauty.
You are magic.
You were and are more than I ever could have wished or dreamed for.
I love you.
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