Every single day I teach you to become more and more independent. Mainly because I think you need these skills to do well in life. Every night as part of that process, I encourage and most times force you to sleep on your own bed, and tell you, you are not alone, you have your glow pets and princess dolls to give you company. I tell you that all other kids your age sleep this way and you should be like one of them. Deep down, I want you in my bed, and even though I don’t sleep well with all your kicking, I sleep better than when you are not in bed with me.
You turned 7 today, and while I said my goodbyes at school, I realized very soon you won’t need me to drop you off at school. You won’t need those last minute hugs and kisses and most definitely will prefer to hang out with your friends than with your mommy. I look around at the other kids who couldn’t care less if their parents were in the room, and even though there are moments I am jealous that those kids are so hands off, I know you are special and cherish each of those moments you don’t want to let go of me.
This past year I’ve seen you work very hard, both at home and at school. I’ve felt your struggles to fit in socially, to try and perform in ways that is expected out of you. I have experienced your transformation every single day and all I can say is I am very proud of you.
I am also very sorry, because I wish you lived in a world that was less judgmental, that did not require you to be a certain way. Which is why it was absolutely phenomenal to see you at school this morning wearing the outfit you had picked for your special day. It was a complete disaster – but it was YOU. And even though my first reaction was that of shock and a need to tell the world I had nothing to do with it, I couldn’t help but see how happy you were, and laugh about whatever other people might be thinking of the way you were dressed in school today. I did not have my camera with me, but this image will never leave my memory.
I know I am your hardest critic and push you every single day to be a well-behaved girl. But what I don’t tell you more often that it is okay to let go and be yourself and pursue things you love in any way or form. Today, on your birthday, I promise to do that more - to listen to your heart and mine, to value your opinions and personality, and to thrive in the glory of who you are and who you are meant to be.
That’s what being your mother is all about and I want to cherish ALL our moments together.