My tiny human, my gorgeous darling, my little one – you are a girl. You are our first girl and I will never stop celebrating it. You are a gorgeous, dimpled, delicious, just-two-year-old baby girl.
And my darling, there’s some stuff that comes with being a girl that I want to tell you about.
Most of it’s wonderful. We’ll have hours over late night coffee dates to talk about that. I’m already planning all the desserts I want to learn to make so we can linger over our plates and that kind of delicious conversation.
But sweetheart, there’s some other stuff that comes with girlhood too. Some stuff I’d rather you heard first from me. It’s stuff that isn’t as scary if we say it out loud and don’t let it sneak up on us.
My love, there will always be girls who are mean.
And you won’t outgrow it. There will always be mean girls. One day you’ll be thirty seven and reading the long line of stories that mean girls have left in their wake.
But daughter, that doesn’t mean we hide our hearts. That doesn’t mean we find a tower and Rapunzel ourselves away from the world.
No darling, it means that we learn to be braver than the mean girls. We out-love them. That is the secret weapon. To pour on the unexpected love. To meet them with open arms and mind, knowing that meanness is what bleeds from scars at their most raw.
Meanness is a symptom, not a condition.
And when they want to hurt you with their words, I will teach you how to hold up the shield of faith and firm belief that Jesus has declared you good and beloved. That you are precious and ransomed – His life for yours. There is nothing insignificant about you.
I will wrap my words, His promises and both our lives around you.
You were made to have friends, sweetheart. You were not made to be alone. This is a Jesus body we belong to and some days you’ll feel like the heart and soul and other days like just a bit of dried skin on the elbow and that’s OK.
It’s never a bad thing to be reminded that the whole world does not revolve around you.
But on the days when you feel like an outsider, on the days when your best friend stops talking to you, on the days when everyone gets invited to the sleepover and you don’t, on the days when you wonder if you fit in –
on those days, Zoe, I will remind you that love never quits.
Love always believes the best
And that sometimes the benefit of the doubt is the most precious gift we can give anyone.
I will treat your bruised heart with chocolate brownies, a tall glass of cold milk and The Princess Bride– yes, I’m certain it will still be my favorite movie even a decade from now.
And then I will send you back out into the fray, my love.
I will always send you back because friendship is worth fighting for. Women need one another. And if we give up at girlhood, what chance do we have during the minivan driving years?
Friendship is worth working hard at Zoe.
A year ago you stood up and walked for the first time. Since then you’ve fallen often. You fell at the pool this afternoon and have the bloodied knee and tear stains and my own sore heart to go with it. But you set determined hands to the floor, tilted forward, pushed back up again and took the next step.
Never stop getting back up again, darling.
It’s the only way to keep moving forward to all that life waiting for you.::