I know people say it all the time, but I feel like I blinked and ten years went by. Although it seems to have flown by, we somehow have a million memories from the past ten years, and I’m thankful for each and every one.
I won’t say I’m sad you are getting older. While I miss your tiny toddler face, and young baby voice, I’m not sad to see the beautiful girl standing in front of me. I’m thankful we are here. I get to see you discover who you are and what you’ll choose to stand for. I get to watch you learn and grow and become. And that’s nothing to be sad over. Witnessing you grow and launching you into the world is the goal, after all.
You are my oldest child, and I inevitably made the most mistakes with you. I’m sorry for the times I didn’t get it right, and I’m indebted to you for teaching me incredible lessons of grace. I hope I have taught you the most important things, and I hope you know how loved you are. There are a million things I want to make sure I teach you, and I am realizing you are past the halfway mark of my time with you. We only have 8 summers left together. I want to be intentional with my time as I realize how little time there is before you are no longer “mine,” and then you’ll be your own.
Here are four important things I want you to remember, now that you have reached the “double digits.”
Kindness Matters More than Anything
You learned at a young age that people aren’t always nice. You have experienced what it feels like to be excluded and rejected, and you have felt the sting of broken friendships. I wish I could tell you it gets better, but humans are flawed, and relationships are often imperfect. People aren’t always nice, but you are in charge of YOUR kindness. Don’t hoard it. Give it away in abundance. People will let you down sometimes, but just keep on sharing your kindness, whether people deserve it or not. You never know what someone else is going through. Do your best to always choose to be kind to everyone. You’ll encounter in life people who are mean, or different, or just hard to understand…be kind anyways. You can brighten your corner of the world just by being kind.
Work Hard, No Matter What
Always do your best. Always. That means putting your best effort in, regardless of what anyone else is doing. Always put in the hard work, and you’ll grow in intelligence and grit, which is something money can’t buy. Be careful not to take the easy way out, but just keep doing your best. At first you may not see the benefits of working hard, but you’ll find in the long run that you have developed a character that is strong and resilient. Hard work always pays off, even if it’s in unexpected ways, and even if it takes a while.
I hope you’ll be a lifelong learner, and knowledge is found in books. Never stop reading. Learn about history, and care about the people who have come before you. There are amazing people in history who have done incredible things, and learning about them can have great impact on you. It’s also vital to be aware of the many mistakes made in history because there is much to be learned from our history’s stains. Never believe you know all there is to know, but instead seek out knowledge on the regular. Ask questions, and always be willing to learn something new. Harry S. Truman said, “Readers are Leaders.” Keep reading.
Never Doubt How Loved You Are
In life you’ll experience highs and lows. In your highest moments, it will be easy to feel confident and content. In your lowest of lows, don’t let difficult times deceive you into believing you are unloved. Daddy and I will love you endlessly. Nothing you do or say will ever change the way we feel for you. And your Heavenly Father created you on purpose, for a purpose. His love for you is more immense than you can even comprehend. It some how exceeds even the love of your parents. It can’t stop. It’s a love you can always count on. I wish I could promise a life that was free of difficulties and hurts, but that’s not a guarantee. So I want you to know before you walk through hard times, you will always be loved. Never ever doubt that.
You have already become someone I am proud to know and even more proud to call my daughter. You have so many amazing qualities, and I see great potential for your future. I’m excited and expectant as I sit back and witness you grow into the young woman you’ll be. As I slowly transition from being your instructor to becoming your coach, I’ll continue to cheer you on. I can’t wait to see the incredible ways you impact the world. I love you so much more than you’ll ever know.
Welcome to the double digit club,
baby girl big girl.