Dear Daughter

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You are now a big ole' five year old. You're on the brinks of Kindergarten and entering into "big kid" school and you have a lifetime ahead of you. You don't know it yet, but these years you are experiencing in your childhood and the years ahead in young adulthood, are going to be some of the best years ever. 

I watched you swinging outside tonight and it took me back to my days of swinging in my parent's backyard on the long summer days too. I remembered how it felt to swing while watching the sky turn all shades of pink and orange. I remembered how simple life was. I remembered how beautiful my childhood was. I instantly thought of you, and hoped that in 10 or 20 years you'll look back onto these long summer days with the same sweet emotions. 

I look at how big you're getting and realize how quickly all of this big kid stuff is happening. Soon you'll be starting school, something that I know you will succeed at. However I can't help but feel all sorts of emotions when I picture you, my baby girl, out there in that big world. A world that while beautiful and enchanting, can also be dark. 

I think of how things in our modern lifestyle are always changing. Technology provides portals for things that scare me. Bullying. Comparison. Luring. And so on. I realize that I want nothing more than to shield you from it all. But along with being an overprotective parent, I hope most of all that I can be a teacher for you. I hope that I can pass down things to you that you can walk with daily in life to get you through the hard and scary days out there. 

Love yourself. You're stunningly beautiful and you always will be. Love yourself no matter what any idiot out there says. Never compare yourself to others, because chances are, they are already comparing themselves to you or they may not have it all "together" like you think. Love yourself no matter what size you are, no matter your test score and no matter if you get picked last for dodgeball. Dodgeball kinda sucks anyway. 

Be kind. Be kind to everyone you meet. Be the kid the who talks to all the kids. Be the kid who makes everyone feel important and special. Be the kid that the other kids are never afraid to talk to. 

But be cautious. Always remember to protect yourself. Be cautious of this great big world and some of the people in it. There are people in this world that are not so kind and that are harmful and ugly. Stand up for yourself and always walk your paths with caution. Walk with your head up, not in your cell phone. Always be mindful of your surroundings. And when you're a teenager, a phone call to pick you up from some party if needed is okay. 

Be righteous. Always try and walk with Jesus. He may come and go in your life here and there, and you may rely on him more at different times. But always keep him at the core of it. Live your life with him in mind, I want your little butt in Heaven one day. And don't be afraid to speak about him. 

Be simple and humble. Labels don't mean much. You'll think they do here and there and you'll beg me for whatever designer purse is in style and you may want some outrageously priced tennis shoes, but take it from someone who "thought" she heard angels singing when she purchased her first Coach bag. A few years and a few kids later, and you realize how silly all of that really is. Buy quality for it to last, not for it to be showy. Be simple, be humble and be proud of that. 

Be YOU. Stand up for what you believe in, but only because it's what you believe in and not because you think it is expected of you. Don't be a follower, be a leader. Be the person walking her own path and paving the way for YOU. 

Be wise. Learn what you can, enjoy life and laugh a lot. Find joy in the simple things, because those are what truly matters. 

Be a child for as long as you can. You'll be in a rush to grow up, I can promise you that. You'll be in a rush to have boyfriends and go to prom, to graduate and get your first car. But enjoy being a kid. Your life is carefree, innocent and beautiful. Run through the sunshine and dance through the sprinklers and enjoy this time. Don't rush it. 

Lastly, always come to me. I will be here to hold your hand through it all. The breakups, the makeups, the proms and the trips to the mall. We will laugh, we may cry and we even may yell. But at the end of the day, you'll always be my little girl. And I hope to always be the one you need and the hug you crave. 

Daughter, I could say a million more things. But this is just the basics. I hope you rock this beautiful life ahead of you and I can't wait to watch you do so. 

As you would say, "I love you to the moon and back 180,000 times."