In a few days, we’ll be putting five candles on a cake and watching you unwrap presents while you squeal and jump up and down.
Being your mom isn’t perfect, but it’s the best gift I’ve ever been given. Having a little girl like you is a lifelong dream that I get to experience every single day.
You are so strong. By your second birthday, I knew I would never out-stubborn you. You are creative. So smart. Caring. Determined. Sensitive. Stylish. Independent. Observant. Beautiful.
I know I’m not actually supposed to tell you you’re beautiful anymore. I’m not supposed to comment on your physical features at all–that’s what the experts online have told me. And I fully trust and believe there are GREAT reasons for that.
But I literally can’t stop saying it. So I won’t.
Raising a little girl is a lifelong dream, and also increasingly terrifying in 2020.
It only takes me a few clicks on any social media platform to see girls only a few years older than you doing very adult things. Things that I, as a married woman, have ZERO desire to do – let alone in front of a camera.
Girls only a few years older than you know more about contouring and smokey eyes than I do. Preteens look like adults, and they learn how to make modeling faces before you learn about taxes.
But you, my little girl, are about to turn five years old, and you still love every single “stuffy” you’ve ever touched, playing make-believe with your little brother, pretending the floor is lava, and being chased around the living room by your daddy.
If it were up to me, we’d stop the clock right here.
I’ll deal with the occasional tantrum, as long as I get to keep the cuddles, the sweetness, the sloppy handwriting saying “I love you mom,” and the lack of social media.
But it’s not up to me. The clock keeps ticking.
It won’t be much longer before we have to navigate extremely uncomfortable and painful situations. It won’t be much longer before you ask me difficult questions about the world–and it won’t be much longer before I don’t have answers.
In just a few years, you’ll be asking me for your own cell phone. You might start looking at boys differently and not wanting to tell me all the details of your life and your feelings.
The truth is that I’m scared.
I hope I can stay honest with you about that through it all. I’m scared to let go and let you grow up. I’m scared to let you make your own mistakes, but you’re going to have to.
I’m scared to have to tell you that the world can be a scary place. You and I are going to disagree on things, and that’s okay.
I hope that you will always know that I’m doing my best to walk the line between protecting you from the darkness in the world and equipping you to thrive in the world.
…Because it turns out that line is actually a slackline, so I’ll be flailing all over the place for the next few decades. But in the end, I hope all my flailing allows you to feel some semblance of balance.
Walking from childhood to womanhood is scary, and it isn’t going to be easy for either of us.
But I also know that you are going to have a massive impact. It’s 2020, and your future won’t be limited by your gender, marital status, and maybe not even your education–you will be able to do whatever it is that you are passionate about.
You will have the access, ability, and the strength to permanently change the world.
Happy birthday, daughter. You are my gift to the world.