Can I be sappy for a minute, please? (Let’s be real. I’m typing this whether you like it or not, with or without your permission). My sweet girl, my first born is 8 years old today and it’s giving me all the feels.
I took this picture on her 6th birthday, 2 years ago today, and it was her last birthday as my only child.
When I think of her today, I’m so proud. I feel like I say this every year, but she’s so independent, she’s so her own, and she’s developing her own likes, tastes, and opinions. But she’s so smart and so compassionate that, when I think of my daughter, my heart swells.
She roots for the underdogs, she hurts for people who are hurting, and she prays without ceasing for us all to know the love of Jesus. She asks good and hard random questions, challenging us all to think not only about our answers, but the way we live our lives (and also puts all of our random knowledge and stuff we learned in school to work). She’s creative and imaginative, and that plays out in some of the funniest and sweetest thoughts, jokes, and stories. She cares enough about our environment to pick up litter on our walk home from school. She cares so much about spending time with people and making memories with those that she loves, but knows well enough when she just needs to be home, recharging.
And even when she’s sassy or acting a little too big for her britches, I know that there’s no way anyone is going to get away with anything with her around. She’s not the type to have the wool pulled over her eyes or go along with something just because someone said so. She’s not afraid to speak her mind, and she champions for fairness and equality, and fights against any injustice – even if it means standing up against a friend.
But too, because she’s the first, my heart grieves. Being the oldest, she takes the brunt of my failings, mistakes, and mishaps as a parent. The same as all her milestones as the first I’m fortunate enough to experience, she has the sometimes misfortune of experiencing all of the methods and styles of parenting I’ve pulled from first – and they’re not always the best.
Because she’s the oldest by 6 years, sometimes she gets less of her mother than her brother, but more often, simply less of her mother’s best. She has the higher expectations and less one-on-one time because of school or work or whatever.
But thanks to the person she is, even in my grief, I am proud. I’m proud of this girl because, even though she hates it when I forget stuff, she shows me SO much grace. She’s a lesson in unconditional love and forgiveness (except for the time in preschool when I forgot her backpack and she said, “I just don’t know what to say to you right now,” when I asked if I could be forgiven 😂). Because when I come to her, knowing I’ve done wrong as her mother by yelling or losing my temper, or saying something to offend her (she’s seriously about those bad words sometimes), she is quick to understand and forgive. When I am sad or upset, embraces me with compassion and empathy, and I’ve seen her do this with her friends as well.
I read something somewhere that struck me and I was like, “YES. THATS HOW I FEEL!” It said something like, as long as my kid cares about other people, I’ll feel like a success as a parent or know I did something right or something like that. But it resonated with me because my daughter can have a real attitude. She has little desire for sports (even though she’s more competitive than anyone I know), she doesn’t desire to make a lot of money, or achieve in anyway that doesn’t involve relationship. She just CARES. She’s so empathetic and so compassionate, and that makes me so proud.
To my daughter, if you ever read this post, I hope you know that I love you. Dearly. I adore everything that you are. And you make your mother SO proud and so happy. For 8 years (and beyond) you have done nothing but light up my life. Thank you for being the person to make me a mother, thank you for growing up with me, and loving me when I felt so unlovable, and thank you for always reminding me that I can do the things that I think I cannot. You mean the world to me, daughter. I’d do anything for you. I’m sorry for the things I do wrong, for any way I have hurt you or misled you, but Mommy loves you. 💜