Luke and I often talk about how we can maintain a good relationship with our girls as they navigate the tween and teen years – and just as importantly to us – their adult years too. It’s tricky because we have to be the constant as they go through all these difficult life phases and somehow end up on the other side with a strong relationship with them. It’s possible, but it obviously not easy, and it is certainly not guaranteed.
Our desire to stay connected to our girls, and maintain a strong, comfortable, and loving relationship as they grow has been on my mind even more lately. Recently, I sat at the desk in our office feeling emotional. An ongoing conversation with two wonderful women in my life had me feeling sad and frustrated, but also determined. Determined to focus even more on the relationship I have with my girls and to learn from the experience of others. It seemed I couldn’t just let life carry me along and hopefully end up with solid relationships with my girls. I needed to make an oath of sorts. A statement. A written reminder of the goal and the path to that goal. A promise to my girls and really a promise to myself.
I started typing and at first it was just me getting out the words and emotions that were rattling around in my head, and then in turned into something I had to share.
My Promise to My Daughters
Life has many twists and turns, ups and downs. No matter the changes or phases we go through, my love for you will never change. As we make our way through life this is my promise to you…
I will build you up. I will fill you up. I will help you form a strong foundation.
I will wake up each day determined to do better for you. To learn from my mistakes and be a better mom.
I will respect you. You are your own person with your own goals, ideals, and interests and I will respect our differences along with our similarities.
I will not hold grudges and bring up past disappointments. Doing so would only encourage feelings of guilt, disappointment, and spite and take away from an honest and trusting relationship.
I will be present and available to you but I will give you space to live your own life. As you grow I will support you as you need and want to be supported.
I will love you fiercely, every single day. Through difficult and trying moments, I will love you.
I will always be your safe place. There is nothing you cannot share with me and there is no part of yourself you need to hide. There is no judgement within the walls of this safe place, only love.
I will be your biggest cheerleader, your biggest encouragement giver. My criticisms will be constructive and uplifting. My praise will be thoughtful.
I will remind you of your manners and your kindness, your compassion and heart.
I will remind you of your bravery and strength, your determination and perseverance.
I will challenge you to work hard, reach, and step outside your comfort zone.
I will teach you to love, respect, appreciate, and care for your body and mind. Your body is strong, capable, and beautiful. Your mind is flexible, hungry of knowledge, and miraculous. Together your mind and body are you and you are incredible.
I will challenge you to think positively, and see the world with a heart full of gratitude. Focus on the light and conquer the dark.
I will acknowledge your individuality and celebrate what makes you unique.
I will remind you of your humanity, your connection to the world, and what makes you the same as everyone else. Because your sameness should be celebrated as much as your uniqueness.
I will always believe in you.
I will hear you, really hear you, even when what you are saying may not be what I want to hear. There is a difference between listening and truly hearing someone.
I will teach you the difference between right and wrong.
I will let you fail. I will let you make your own choices and make mistakes, and not get in the way of your opportunity to learn from life.
I will lead you by example. I’ll reach outside of my comfort zone, let you see me fail and learn lessons, and show you the qualities I wish for you to have by cultivating them in myself.
I will encourage you to solve your problems, and conquer your fears.
I will teach you that challenges are opportunities, and that hard work pays off.
I will teach you to get back up when you fall down.
I will hold onto my own interests and passions. You will always be my number one priority but I will show you the importance of also prioritizing yourself.
I will remember that you are a gift. My time with your is precious and should not be squandered.
I will raise you to say no with conviction and confidence.
I will raise you to know that spreading happiness in the world is a gift, but the happiness of others does not rest on your shoulders. Ultimately, happiness comes from within. You can help someone build their happiness, but you cannot build it for them.
I will expect you to ask questions, make your case for change, and not be afraid to stand up when you see something is wrong.
I will hold you when your heart hurts and laugh with you when you are happy.
I will understand that sometimes I’ll be the reason for your hurt, or anger. I will own my mistakes. I will teach you to own your mistakes. We will love each other through it all.
I will remember that our points of struggle and disagreement are reason to show you more love, not less. Opportunity to give you more support not less, and cause to encourage you. I will not turn my back when you struggle.
My girls. You are the most magical, amazing, wondrous things. You are powerful and strong, intelligent and funny. You carry such beauty inside you. Being your mom is the very best thing I have done, and will do, and I am constantly amazed that I get to be your mom. I know I am not perfect, no one is, but that doesn’t stop us from trying to be our best. Together we can be our best.