I don’t know about you. I don’t know how you do it over in your corner of life. I only know that raising a daughter has taught me EXPONENTIALLY about myself. Good and bad, beautiful and ugly. Like a mirror reflected back at me over and over and over. And it’s good. It’s all good.
I don’t think I ever realized that having a daughter would alter my view of the world, my view of others, my self-worth, my life perspective, my ability to love and be loved. No, see…..I didn’t get the memo that there was a sharp personal learning curve ahead with raising a daughter.
Because now, when I tell my daughter “you can be anything you want to be” I have to ask myself if I believe that is true for me also. Don’t I believe that for myself – even now – even in middle age? Don’t I still believe that dreaming those big dreams can still bring great rewards to my life? Have I let myself believe the “this is it for me” myth?
When I tell her “you are beautiful inside and out” and she turns those gorgeous brown eyes that bore into the fabric of my soul on me and says “you are too, Mommy” – I have to pause and ask myself…do I see myself that way? Or am I constantly caught up in a self-deprecating trap of low self-worth? How often do I let her see me content in my own skin?
When I teach her that life is full of adventures and journeys and that her gift will be in uncovering all of them…I hear that whisper in the back of my mind…”when is your next adventure and when did you stop uncovering those gifts?”
I remind her that some people are wonderfully good and yet, some people are not. That she must learn over time to how to protect herself, create boundaries for herself – all the while loving as openly as she can. But then I have to ask myself: do I love openly? Or do I judge first and hope I’m wrong later? Am I overtly guarded and have I built a fortress so strong around myself in the name “protection” that no one – not even those wonderfully good people – can venture past?
I see the way she loves others, and I am moved beyond explanation. This little girl, so full of life, heart, and soul. She oozes love out of her pores and it is such a privilege to be witness to her journey. Sometimes when the good stuff comes rushing out, I look around to see if anyone else is watching…can anyone see all this beautiful stuff that she just IS?!? Occasionally, AB will nudge me and say “she gets that from you”. I instantly rebuff…nah…she’s just goodness inside and out. She was born that way. Surely.
But when I see her stubborn streak or she sets about to have a Texas-sized tantrum or she gets a bee in her bonnet to be right about something…then I can’t help but feel guilty. Oh I recognize that girl. That’s me. That’s my temper and my flare for the dramatic and that right there is the bee that I’m always batting at. She gets that from me.
The reality is, she is her own person. Imperfect and flawed and human and delightful and proud and smart and beautiful and all those things. And she is loved immensely by a God so much bigger than our broken sense of self-worth often allows us to recognize. And yes, she reflects and mimics some of the good and some of the bad behaviors that I display. I need to make sure I’m giving her the best things to mimic more often. No doubt about that.
The more important question I have to ask myself is this: do I believe that what I’m teaching Keira is only valid and good and true for her…or it is truth for me too? I am her first and most important role model. The single most influential woman in her life. Do I live that out in all its glory and full color for her to see? Do I show her what it means to be strong, loving, confident, and humble? Do I exude the confidence of a Princess of the King?
Because that’s where the real raising of a daughter begins. And it's so much harder to put in motion than just spurring her on to be all that she can be.
It has to start with me.
It just has to.
It has to start with me.
It just has to.