Dearest, darling, child of mine,
I will still call you that, for, at ten, you are still a child, though it’s hard to believe.
You’re growing up. You’re only six inches and two shoe sizes away from my size; I can slip my arm around your narrowing waist without bending over. You suddenly see the point in conditioner for your hair and I can’t shop for you unless you come with me, since you’re developing your own wonderful sense of expression through clothes.
I love you, sweet girl, and there’s something I want to say to you, so listen well.
I’m not a perfect mom. Sometimes I fail you. I try too hard or I ask too much or my demons trip me. I’m sorry.
I know that sometimes you can’t even hear your own growing voice because my figurative voice echoes so loudly, in your thoughts and in our home. I know that you want to pull away and think for yourself—I want you to do that, too.
I know you want to try on most (and I’m very grateful it’s not all) of the voices and behaviors and styles that you see out in the world. Try them! Just always know that I’m that person who loves you enough to say when the jeans make your butt look weird—or when the way you’re acting doesn’t show you for who you are.
I know that I’m the foundation under your feet and you’re getting ready to leap off and soar. I know part of that leap means pushing against your ground—your grounding, your anchor, your mom. I want you to push and I want you to soar! Sweet daughter, I want you to reach heights I can’t even see from here. I only ask that you try to remember, if you can, that I’m also a person who loves you very much and, if you can, don’t make that pushing off too hard.
I love that we share books and music and jokes. I love that, gradually, you’re bringing wonderful new things to me instead of me introducing you to the world. That’s how it should be. And I want that connection of words and sound and humor between us to be our guideline. No matter how far apart we are, in space or feeling, I want us to know that that line exists and love flows along it, even during the times when it must go in disguise.
For go it will, sweet girl. The love will never stop flowing from me to you, in whatever form it must take. Know that now and let it go. Only think of it when you need it, but trust that it will be there. It will.
Now you go, leap, soar, discover—and remember, everyone deserves a chance to fly!