written by: Janae
You’d think after raising one niece, one step daughter and three of my biological daughters – I’d be used to it.
That age. The age where a girl’s world starts shifting and taking on different shapes and definitions. That time when you transform from a young girl, that knows her value, beauty and talents, into someone who is a little bit more unsure of themselves. Remember those days? Do you remember when you not only felt like a princess, you knew you were? The hours you spent dreaming of your knight in shinning armor and which dream profession you would pick. Do you remember looking in the mirror and thinking how beautiful you were and how many wondrous blessings laid before you? Do you remember playing M.A.S.H.? I do. Do you recall the days that you would beg to be heard, or watched – positively knowing that whatever talent you had to share, was worth watching? Do you remember picking petals off of flowers and reciting “He loves me, He loves me not.”?
And then something happens. Is it the media or the people that surround us? Is it our friends or family that bring us down – just to make sure that our head isn’t too big? Is it that girls are naturally competitive with each other and they always compare their “worst” with someone else’s “best”? Is it that our bodies change so much physically and mentally in such a short period of time during adolescents – while boys stay, well, boys?
I remember wanting a boy to give me validation so bad. Someone, anyone, to tell me I was pretty or valued. My parents always shared their love for me, but all of a sudden, I wanted to hear it from a boy. I wanted my girl friends to think I was amazing and beautiful. Why couldn’t I see myself then, like I see my daughters now. It would have saved so much heartache.
Today, I went to parent teacher conferences. I sat down with each of my children’s wonderful teachers and heard everything they had to say about my kids. My ten year old, Ella, has struggled over the past several months with her self worth. As she sat down to read me the agenda for the meeting, in the seven habits format, she explained that her goal was to “find her voice”. I realized as she said it out loud, that this is exactly what needed to happen. In a house full of girls, it is her turn to find her voice. Nobody can find it for her. It is her journey alone.
I saw today, that she is right in the middle of that critical time in a young ladies life. She is trying to decide if she is pretty, or talented, or valued – really. She is noticing faults that she never knew were there, and wondering why she is “different”. She will soon make many decisions in her teenage years that reflect how she views herself and what things will fill her time and make her happy. Ella is strong, physically and mentally – but now instead of mom and dad telling her, she has to believe it for herself. Oh how I wish I could have handed her this confidence in a pretty little package, all wrapped up for her 10th birthday present. Why does it take a woman a lifetime to see her value? Why can’t we build one another, instead of fault find and judge? I believe it’s such a distraction and a drain of energy.
Ella, my love, my sweet Ella.
You are beautiful. You make the room light up when you walk inside. You are bright and loving and careful. You think before you create anything artistic or imaginative. You calculate before you turn in your math assignments – and that doesn’t make you stupid or too slow as some of the kids tell you, it makes you smart. It means that you care about the final result and that you are growing from each and every task you set out to do. Don’t listen to other people that would tear you down, for fun. You are beautiful and worth it. You have so much to offer, and you will have a life filled with friendship and love. Stay focused on the important things. Remember who you are. Keep smiling, and don’t let the world decide your worth. And when you feel sad, please talk to me. Let me be your mom and a friend. Let me wipe your tears, and hold you when there isn’t a lot to say. Someday, you’ll have daughters too, and you will will want the same for them. If I could give you only one thing for the rest of your life, it would be these words.