To the daughter I never had.

I am blessed to be the mother of two sons. One proudly serves our country and the other is an outdoorsman who loves all things Tupac. I’ve often joked that God knew what He was doing when He gave me two sons because there is no way I could handle a mini-me. But as I get older and reflect on the years of muddy boots and baseball, I feel a little sad that I never had the pleasure of shopping for dresses and Barbie’s. What would my daughter be like? Would she be strong willed? What would I NEED her to know? And so I wrote her this letter.

When you are little, I want you to always feel safe. I want you to know that if you’re feeling afraid, you should tell me. You deserve to be protected, always. As a child, I had a rare treasure. I had a home filled with love and laughter and a sense of security. You, my child, are so worthy of that too.

I want you to know that some people might think you’re weird. Let them. When you’re older, your weirdness will be your favorite thing about you. People can be cruel. Don’t be one of those people.

You might get teased about how you look or how you dress. I was called “bug eyes” and it made me so insecure. I had a teacher who told me that someday, I will see the beauty in my eyes and that people would no longer tease me about them, but they would complement them. I pray that you have a teacher who will take the time to change your perspective like she did with me.

I want your days to be filled with adventure, daydreaming and laughter.

When you’re a pre-teen, I want you to know that popularity is not the same as character. Your character is what will make you special. Don’t just “fit in”. Be your authentic self. Be kind. You are setting the tone for what you will and will not allow and it is absolutely necessary for you to set boundaries.

I want you to know that your body belongs to you and you only. It is the only physical body you will ever have, so be very good to it. If someone hurts you or your body, you must know that it is not your fault. You are not ruined. You are just as pure and precious as you have always been. You have the power to retain your innocence. You have the right to say no.

I want your days to be filled with testing limits, thinking you know everything and an attitude.

When you’re a teenager, I want you to know that your voice is powerful and you should start to use it whenever something touches your heart. Speak up. Find your voice and be of service to others less fortunate. Don’t allow hate into your heart. I did and I only ended up hating myself more. Don’t listen to the bullies. Don’t be your worst enemy. Love your beautiful self.

I want you to ignore the people who think they know you or that spread lies about you. This will happen. I want you to have the confidence to hold your head high and defend those that are less brave. People will try to knock you down, they will call you names and they will crush your spirit, if you let them. Do not let them.

I want your days to be filled with falling in love, finding your passion and learning about yourself.

When you’re an adult, I want you to know that every single thing that has happened to you up until this point, has made you the woman you were always destined to be. I have seen so much pain, and yet I am grateful because I can empathize with other people who are hurting and I have discovered that I am so much stronger than I ever gave myself credit for.

I want you to find an extraordinary love that teaches you just how powerful unconditional love is and makes you worry that your heart might actually burst. You might find that in a soul mate, you might find that when you become a mother, you might find that in both places! Never stop searching for it.

Know your worth. Do not shrink to fit anyone else’s perception of who you should be. Be yourself and do it boldly. Stick with people who build you up and truly care about your wellbeing. Find your tribe. Look for the ones who make you feel safe and give you faith when you’re feeling weak.

I want your days to be filled with contentment, a desire to help others and feeling secure.

When you are elderly, I want you to look back on your life and know that you lived it to the fullest. That you didn’t let anyone take away your peace. You’ve been through so much, but you leaned on your support system, your friends and your family and you got through all of it, together.

I don’t want you to have regrets. Continue to play and act as young as you feel. I plan on being young forever, in my heart.

I want you to know just how loved you have always been and that even though life had rough spots, those spots became stepping stones to perfection. The perfection that is you.

I want your days to be filled with a solid faith, loving family support and memories that make you smile.

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