For the longest time, I just did not understand my daughter! There I said it…out loud…in public…for her to one day read.
The day I found out I was having a girl I couldn’t stop smiling. She was our second child, and our first was a boy. That boy had my heart, but I always dreamed of a daughter. I got her!
This Little Girl of Mine
At as early as six-months-old, we recognized her tendency to be rather, well, spirited, intense, dramatic and opinionated. She knows what she knows, and she never waivers.
As she grew, communication improved and there was less frustration and a lot more laughter. I settled in nicely, thinking we had come through the rough years ahead of schedule.
But there was another shift. I don’t recall the moment, or the day, or the month it happened. All of a sudden I found myself standing in front of this little girl demanding she, “get over it,” and saying things like “you’re fine,” and “I don’t have time for this.”
I wasn’t pleased with the words coming out of my mouth but my patience was working in overdrive.
Her response to life and it’s little ups and downs made absolutely no sense to me. She feels hard and displays it all for the world to see.
My confusion always left me feeling like I was stuck outside of her heart and I so badly wanted in.
As I chatted with other mothers, both old and young, I gained very little insight. I’m certain I was the one to blame as I kept candy coating my confusion out of the guilt and the shame of not understanding my own daughter. I received a lot of vague advice like, “Oh, she’s a girl,” “Oh wait till she’s 12, it gets worse,” and “Well, each kid is so different.”
Yes, I know she is different. That’s my problem. If only our kids came with those manufacturer labels attached? “Do not remover under penalty of law. Here is what you need to know about this particular human.”
One evening at a book club, I opened up again, this time with a little more vulnerability.
“I don’t get my daughter,” I said, “I don’t want to say she’s weird, but she’s a little weird.”
Of course, I immediately panicked that my vulnerability made me look like a horrible mother, but I didn’t care. I sat there, silently waiting for something, anything that may give me insight into knowing her more clearly.
I was determined to claw my way into her little heart one way or another. It was an all in moment because I would never be content with, “she’s just a girl, that’s how they are,” kind of answers. So there I stood, authentic, transparent and desperate.
Then the silence broke. Help came in the form of book recommendation by a woman I so admire.
Personality Plus for Parents: Understanding What Makes Your Child Tick, by Florence Littauer. (<–affiliate link*).
She loaned it to me and I devoured it. This book is packed with personality tests, character traits, and examples of unique situations that left me understanding more about how she is wired, how she deals with stress, and how to parent her from a place of knowing her. With each page I began to view her in a whole new light.
Then something happened that I didn’t see coming. I thought I was just getting to know this tiny little human I was divinely given to parent. As I leaned into this book, I started to get to know myself.
All along I thought the reason I didn’t understand her was because we were so different, when in fact we are so much the same!
This little thing is still free to be.
On one hand, she doesn’t totally understand which behaviors and responses are socially acceptable. But mostly, she hasn’t layered herself in masks of perfection, comparison and people pleasing! I refuse to let myself be the reason she does.
A letter to My Daughter
To my sweet Raegan,
I see you!
I’m so grateful this story doesn’t end with confusion and hands thrown in the air. It’s a redemptive and hopeful story because I see you now…you! The little girl crafted in my womb by your Creator to reflect His face. You are a leader, a lover and a feeler. You know what you see and stand firm on that knowledge
Raegan, you are never satisfied with the simple answer, but rather you investigate to challenge the assumed, explore the confusing and understand the unknowable. You are less worried about how something works and more concerned with why and what for.
You are strong, determined and a beacon of safety, friendship, creativity, kindness, generosity and laughter for those who come in contact with you.
You see things I have forgotten how to see. Your beautiful and unique eyes have opened mine. The eyes of a girl lost in responsibility, comparison, pressure to succeed, and the desire to get the credit.
Often we assume God gives us precious gifts simply because he loves us and answers prayer. I’ve come to learn that His gifts are not typically without purpose. He is the master of intentionality.
When He gave me you, His purpose was far greater than answering my prayers for a daughter or choosing me to raise you to fulfill your purpose.
He also gave me you to help me find mine. Not the pajama washing, carpooling, sandwich making, grocery shopping kind of purpose. The kind of purpose that flows from deeply knowing who I am. The one crafted in my mother’s womb to also reflect His face.
The more I learn about you, the more I learn about myself, which ultimately leaves me learning even more about the One who gave us both breath.
That day I learned I was having a girl was filled with excitement.
I remember hopping down off that sonogram table, ready to decorate a nursery, but clueless of my first steps into a wild journey toward purpose and passion.
I picture Jesus, head tilted, eyebrows raised, half smiling, half smirking as he watched with joy and the knowledge of what I’m only beginning to understand. His thoughts something like, “Girl, you don’t even know.”
I could only see what was directly in front of me. The full picture still tucked behind time, waiting, but never actually fully portrayed. We never get to see it all at once, but that’s what makes trust such an adventure.
At five-years-old, he used you to transform this tired momma into the brave explorer and curious creative she was made to be.
That’s what you do. It’s part of who you are. You ignite passion and sacrificially love as He does. You do brave things with purpose and take us all with you.
I only pray that I can return the favor.
So, sweet girl, let us continue discovering, knowing and growing together.
To my authentic little leader, my brave adventurer, and tiny champion of the hurting, leave the masks where they are and run from them. You don’t need them because every part of you was crafted with purpose.
Do not conform to patterns of this world (Romans 12:2), but let your intense passion for life shine (Matthew 5:16).
I need it, the world needs it!
Now, what is it we will learn from your little sister?
For more inspiration
Declutter Your Life
It’s time to stop managing our families and start leading them!
2 years ago I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off. I had no capacity to mom on purpose.
Living with less has gifted me time, space and some much needed perspective of what truly matters most. Below is the link to my FREE Beginner’s Declutter Like a Minimalist Guidebook. It takes a deeper look at the 7 Steps to getting started highlighted in my popular post, Declutter Like a Minimalist.
*Disclaimer: This post contains an Amazon affiliate link. I only suggest books and products I absolutely love! If you choose to buy this book through this link Amazon will give me a few pennies at no additional cost to you.