Wednesday, May 18, 2011
You are a little softy.
Before I became a mommy, I thought it was a parent's job to teach her children. I didn't realize that while I would be teaching you the basics of living, how to eat and bathe and cross the street, you would be teaching me the hard stuff about life. You teach me how to be patient and kind and because of you, I'm even getting the hang of placing somebody's else's needs ahead of my own.
I watch you with your sister, how you're always hugging her and using your funny, high pitched mommy voice to tell her, "You're a sweet little thing, aren't you?" I see that sometimes she annoys you, like when she crawls right up to you and grabs a toy out of your hands. You never let her know it, though. You calmly pat her arm and say, "You can see it for a minute, Cheesy, but then it's my turn." And I'm your mommy and I have no idea how I ended up with such a beautiful and caring daughter.
I've always been a fighter.
I've always wanted to win.
You are more brave than I am.
Recently, I had someone imply that it might be good for you to grow a thicker skin, to learn how to be selfish, how to stand up for yourself.
Can I tell you how I feel about that?
Being selfish is a very common way to be, especially when you're four years old. Standing up for yourself and demanding what you want is something that pretty much all four year olds are able to do. What you are, is uncommon, and I will never encourage the world to try to talk you out of your gentleness, in favor of toughening up. As far as I'm concerned, you are a wondrously uncommon little girl. You're a diamond in a grey expanse of nothing. A speck of light on the face of an otherwise unremarkable humanity. As long as I am your mommy, I will never ask you to stop caring about how your actions are impacting the people around you, just so you can win, and get what you want, instead.
You are you, and the day you were born, the sun started shining and world turned good again. You've taught me so much that, after a lifetime of stumbling around in the dark and keeping to the shadows, I am finally proud to be myself. I finally realize that I don't need to win every fight. I finally see that fighting isn't the point at all. You've taught me to hold my tongue, to stop up my indignation and to think before I speak. You're full of impossible things.
I love you and stay as you are, please. You don't need to learn how to be another thick skinned person. The world will do plenty to encourage you to learn how to be selfish, but not very much, I'm afraid, to encourage your sweetness and tenderheartedness. That's my job. It's the only job I've ever been suited for and I'll protect the glowing seed of love inside of you for as long as you'll let me.
I know that someday you'll be a teenager and you're probably going to want to give it up, you're going to want to be liked more than you want to be likable. Do you know what I'll do? I'll wrap up all that softness and kindness, and I'll covet it and keep it safely in the hollow of my ribs, the place that was slippery and empty before I met you. I'll do my best to breathe life into it and keep it warm until you're ready for it, again.
Because you will be. Because I'm not going to let the world convince you to be different than you are... to be just like every other sad and sorry dog that learned how to protect themselves from things that weren't meant to harm them. You and your sister are the only perfect things I've ever known. Stay as you are.
Stay as you are.
I love you, always,