Daughter Lessons


Dear Emalee,

You are almost 5 years old. You are almost half a decade. You are almost tying your shoes. You are almost ready for a brand new set of firsts. But I am not almost ready. I am not a little ready. I. Am. Not. Ready. I’ve tried my best to keep you alive for almost 5 years, skirting around the possibility that you will be a big girl, a young lady, one day. But now you are almost there. Soon you’ll be learning that some mistakes cannot be rectified. Some words cannot be unsaid. Time cannot be unlived.

There are several things you need to know:

  1. You can live with other people’s mistakes if the other person is reflective and willing to correct whatever action led to that mistake. Other people can live with your mistakes if you are reflective and willing to correct whatever action led to that mistake.
  2. You can NEVER (and I mean never) get ink out of clothes once a pen explodes in the dryer.
  3. It’s never too early to love. But it’s never the right time to forcibly change your life for someone else. With love, change comes easily so let it be natural.
  4. You and only you have power over how others treat you. If someone mistreats you, let that person know know that you are valuable and not to be treated as if you were expendable.
  5. Be valuable.
  6. Laugh a lot. There are so many things in this world that aren’t funny. Don’t be one of them.
  7. Get lost in an art. Paint, write, play music, dance, make a sculpture out of sawdust and apple peels, but WHATEVER you do, get lost in it.
  8. Never underestimate the power of salt water therapy.
  9. Learn the difference between people who push you and people who pull you. One group is healthy and imperative for growth. The other will bring you down and make you question your morals and your worth. This lesson is hard and mostly learned from experience. You will get hurt. Don’t let it define you.
  10. Some people come into your life for the sole purpose of setting an example of exactly how you SHOULDN’T be. Pay attention, but don’t get too close.
  11. Kindness is free and limitless. Give it away.
  12. Charity is not. Proceed with optimistic caution.
  13. Enthusiasm and a positive attitude will be a key that will open more doors than any amount of experience or education you may accumulate over the years.
  14. When in doubt, listen.
  15. Pray. Pray while you wait in line at lunch. Pray when no one sits next to you on the bus. Pray on the long car ride home. Pray while you wait on the oven to heat. Pray while you get dressed in the morning. And when you’ve done all that, pray some more.

As I hold you in my arms, I can see your childhood slipping away. I see it in your thinning cheeks, and I can hear it in your maturing voice. You’re growing so fast. One day I will pick you up, put you down, and NEVER pick you up again. That day is coming. It will be here soon, and I’m not ready. But I hope you will be.


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