To my darling daughter on departure day

“…you are my rainbow to keep. My eyes will always be watching you; never will I lose sight of you.” ~Vesna Bailey

Yesterday is the day they found the Boston Marathon bomber guilty of all 30 counts.  Yesterday was also the day that another African American man was shot and killed by an on duty police officer.  And today is the day I brought my tiny, newborn daughter home from the hospital.  While these events don’t seem connected in any way they most certainly are because I am bringing a new life into a world where people bomb other people or simply hurt other people on purpose…and that scares the ever living daylights out of me.

I used to joke, after repeatedly watching the movie Baby Boom (I just KNOW Diane Keaton and I could be BFF), that all I wanted to do is buy a giant house in the country, homeschool my kids, and become a blueberry farmer.  And with each passing day this urge continues to grow and get stronger and stronger. Because all I want to do is keep my kids safe, and whole, and seemingly pure and these days  it feels like an exceedingly daunting and impossible task.  But as I sit here and lament over the fact I can’t keep them safe from everyone else in the world, I know that what I can do is TEACH them and be the most positive role model I can be.

So, to my darling daughter, on the day I bring you home from the hospital, and into the “big, bad world” what I want to tell you is this:

The world is scary, I’m not going to lie.  There are people in it who live just to hurt others.  Some of them do it physically.  Some mentally.  Some in other ways.  There is no doubt in my mind that you will encounter someone like these people at one point or another.  It may be in the mean girl who pushes you off the monkey bars when you’re four.  Or in the boy that starts a rumor about you in high school.  Or in the friend that constantly puts you down to make herself feel better.  There are times you will get hurt for no reason at all, simply because you are in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But listen closely, dear one, for this is important.  None of these instances are who you are.  None of theses people will define your character.  You are better than that.  I’ve only know you for two days (or 10 months and 2 days) and I already know how smart, amazing, sweet, loving, and happy you are.  And I hope you never let anyone make you feel less than that.

I hope that in our time together I am able to teach you not only how to stand up for others, but also how to stand up for yourself. That you never DESERVE to be treated with anything other than dignity and respect from anyone.  I hope I am able to instill in you an idealism that no matter how small, you are still able to change the world and I hope you are able to hold on to that idealism even on the worst days.  I hope I am able to teach you to see and appreciate the tiny joys in life: a ladybug, a sunny day, a favorite book, a tender moment.  I hope that even though the world can be dark and scary, you can learn to see the light and joy in some aspect of it every day.

And no matter what, I hope you know that things may get bad and things may get dark, but there will always be one person in this world who loves you more than anything else, more than anyone else and sometimes that’s really all you need to keep going.

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