As our first Mother’s Day together approaches, there is one nagging idea that I need you to grasp as you grow up. Hopefully I will be alive and well when you are reading this, and it will only be a reminder of what you’ve already learned. But in case not, I hope I have taught you how to be strong. And I don’t mean just physically strong; your physical strength was tested before you even left the womb. Here’s the thing about strength: sometimes showing weakness takes the greatest strength.
Be Strong, But Not Too Strong.
My mom (your grandma) was my hero. She taught me to be brave, passionate, determined, how to love big, study hard, write well, be open minded, have a sense of humor. And she taught me to be strong. Fiercely strong. Every ounce of muscle in my being can be credited to her. I saw her pursue her education with three young kids. I watched her courageously battle cancer up until her very last breath. I never witnessed my mom give up, be it seeing the good in a person or getting her PhD. I saw her take more than her fair share of knockout punches in her 52 years of life and never did she crumble, or really even flinch.
It’s no surprise I have an unusually high pain tolerance. I run races and do push-ups. There are few debates I can’t “win.” And when it comes to you, your brother and your dad, there is no obstacle to keep me from protecting you all. Strength, as measured by common standards, has never been one of my shortcomings. But that same strength, Princess, led me to a lot of difficulty. I’ve learned now that I’m older (but not that old), it’s only half of the equation.
I missed out on the opportunity for my mom to teach me the other critical element of the strength formula: how to be weak. How to truly need someone else. How to show vulnerability. How to breakdown walls instead of build them. Having you now, a daughter of my own, I want to raise you from day one to be strong just like my mom did for me. But I also need to know you are equipped to be weak.
Ask For Help.
Value community and friendships. Always offer a helping hand. Those were values I was raised with, and you will be too. But know you will need help at times too. It’s not a matter of if, it’s when. You cannot do it all on your own, nor were you designed too. That community you have built up and supported, they will be there for you just as you’ve been there for them. But Baby Girl, sometimes you need to ask for the help. Never be too afraid or proud to ask. Your people want to help you. I promise.
Say “I’m sorry” Early and Often.
It takes muscle to admit weakness. No matter how firmly you believe you’re right in a situation, like it or not, you are not perfect either. Being a mom and a wife sure has humbled me. I mess it up a dozen times before 8am most days (because you guys are up by 5:30!). The sentiment, “I’m sorry,” will always be a staple in your home and forgiveness will immediately follow.
Be strong my beautiful girl. I love you forever and ever and for always,