Raising Daughters

It seems that the lack of movement in my feet has led to an increase in the activity in my brain.  Or at least an awareness of the activity in my brain.  It’s funny how the going, going, going provides an escape from the constant chatter in my brain. . . or shall I say my heart? 

I think Chanelle has enjoyed the slowing down of my feet. 

More than a few times she has run and jumped in my lap and just snuggled into me.   She doesn’t say anything. . . she just sits silently without an inch of space between us. In these quite moments I whisper softly and tell her how much I love her and how thankful that of all the little girls in the world. . . she is mine. 

It is in these quiet moments that I feel it.  I feel it with an intensity that almost shocks me.  In these small blips of time I come face to face with the weight of the responsibility of raising this little girl. . .

I look at her in all of her innocence and wish I could keep her that way.  I know, though, that the world hurts.  I know that sometimes girls can be mean.  Even now, when I allow myself to think about it, my heart breaks at her first broken heart.  I feel a little strike in my gut when I think of the hurt she will experience when girls squabble like girls sometimes do.  I wonder how I will comfort her tears as I fight back my own.

We’ve all got our struggles. . . I have no doubt about that.  I’ve certainly had my fair share of personal “stuff” and I’ve yet to meet the person (male or female) who has it all together.  I think women, though, have a special knack to carry on struggles far longer than they should.  Insecurities, self-worth, depression, anxiety, weight. . . I could go on and on.  Maybe it’s the hormones or maybe its the socialization. . . I’m not sure.  I just know that I want to do whatever I can to build my daughter up to be confident and comfortable being who she is.

At 32, I’m still on this journey.  I’m a lot further than I used to be. . . but I’m not there yet.  I don’t think my Mom ever came to the place where she was able to embrace herself as she was and that makes me really sad. It makes me sad because my mom was a beautiful and very lovable person. . . but she didn’t know it.

I think as mothers we have a huge responsibility to set an example for our daughters.  This can be challenging.  It’s so much easier to live by “do what I say, not as I do.”  That doesn’t work, though.  I think if Chanelle sees me challenging myself, she won’t be afraid to challenge herself.  I think if she witnesses me laughing at my mistakes, she will be able to laugh at hers.  I think if I don’t obsess about my body, she won’t obsess about hers.  I think if I show her it’s okay to step outside of my comfort zone, she might not be so afraid to step out of hers.  I think if she sees me doing things in spite of fear, she will too.  If she watches me being kind and accepting of others, she will do the same. 

I realize that even at 3 years old. . . she’s looking to me.  More than anyone else at this stage in her life. . . she’s taking her cues from me. . . and I don’t want to mess this up.

This is important stuff.  I want her to dream.  I want her to believe in the beauty of her dreams.  I want her to listen to her heart and not allow others to define her.  I want her to see not only her own beauty, but the beauty of others.  More than anything. . . I want her to see and feel me loving her just the way she is.

Yep, this raising a daughter thing is as scary as it is beautiful.  And I am so very thankful that I get to enjoy the ride with this little girl.  And maybe, if I do my part, when Chanelle is 32 she will be a little further down the road than I am at this stage. 

  • Trophy Life - December 16, 2010 - 12:30 pm

    YOU are a fantastic mother of a beautiful daughter.

    (and a blog writer who make me cry!!)ReplyCancel

  • Sassytimes - December 16, 2010 - 1:46 pm

    Do I really have to tell you that I got all choked up reading this? Crying. Hard. I didn't think so. šŸ˜‰

    She is so sweet. You are a wonderful Mommy.

    Regarding the wrapping paper: You can use any type of paper (we tried to use packing paper, but my husband couldn't find any at work…so we got creative and just used old wrapping paper turned over to the blank side). Then, pull out all your Christmas cookie cutters, dip in washable paint and stamp away. You can also make stamps out of potatoes, which is fun. Sophia loved making the paper and it was very easy for her to do on her own. Perfect project for someone who really should be sitting still. šŸ˜‰

    We'll wrap all grandparent's gifts with it. I know they'll love it.ReplyCancel

  • Written Permission - December 16, 2010 - 3:07 pm

    Sigh and sniff. That's how I always seem to read your posts: With a sigh and a sniff.

    This was beautiful, friend. Just beautiful. A post that will surely mean a lot to Chanelle, too.ReplyCancel

  • Charbelle - December 17, 2010 - 2:16 am

    I love this post, it totally made me cry!! The pictures of you two are just beautiful!!! The last few sentences, they are so very very true!!!ReplyCancel

  • Love the Present - December 18, 2010 - 3:17 pm

    I can relate to everything you've just written. I had a bunionectomy in June and had to put aside my running shoes for 4 months, while feeling helpless at not being able to take care of my 2 year old daughter and 4 year old son. I know just what you're going through. And my husband said the same things yours is saying. I did an 18-miler yesterday, and you'll be back running soon, too. Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

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