To My 10 Year Old Daughter

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My Daughter carrying Camden our dog in 30+ heat so he doesn’t get thorns in his paws

“Having a little girl has been like following an old treasure map with the important paths torn away.” Heather Gudenkauf,

My daughter and I have known each other intimately for 10 years and 9 months. She has known me from my insides out . And yet she is an enigma to me. If I were to write a list of what I taught her and what I learned from her I am afraid the latter list would be significantly longer.

She is my one and only. The only other person in my tribe who is like me yet starkly unlike me. With the boys I start out expecting not to know what  they are thinking or how they will react. I should have learned to do the same with my daughter but I haven’t.

My daughter is strong in spite of her softness. My daughter is fair even if it is not to her benefit. She is stubborn which means she won’t be easily swayed by her peers. She holds trust and discretion very highly and will not easily forgive or forget if they are broken or taken lightly. She is painfully self aware and sees things as they are. Then she calls them as she sees them. Loudly.

When I am angry and impatient with her she will come up to me and put her hand on my shoulder and say “are you having a bad day mama? is there anything I can do to help?”. When her younger siblings are having a particularly difficult time listening to me she steps in explains calmly that “mama needs some quiet time, do you want me to read you a story? Or we can go play!”.

She has conversations with me about the future and shares observations about people around us that are deep and very apt. When she’s happy she is over the moon and when she is sad she is heartbroken. My daughter is the hardest working person I know. Although some may find  things come easier to them she alway surpasses them because she is willing to work twice as hard. A couple of years ago her big brother started skipping rope backwards. For three days onwards she spent every waking moment practicing until she did it.

She baffles me, inspires me and scares me a little because I need to rise up to be the mother she needs me to be for her. If I want to be the shoulders she stands on I need to be as strong, as genuine and as determined as she is.

Happy birthday J. You are ten, and I have learned so much from you… Thank you.

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