As Emma begins to get closer and closer to a teen, I can’t help but realize how mature she has gotten over these past few years. When I first found out I was having a girl, I was terrified. There is so much that girls go through in life and I wasn’t confident that I would be good for my daughter. Emma and I have always had a close relationship. She comes to me and talks about her crush, what fight she is currently having with her friends and things that concern her. It’s so different being a mom of a 11 year old girl than it was being a mom of a 5 year old girl. At 5 years old, she absolutely loved the camera. Every chance I got, I would take pictures of her wearing a new outfit or when she was trying on my shoes. Now, it’s a slow roll of the eyes when I say, “I'm going to take a picture of you.”. When she was 5, she was glued to my hip. She wanted to go everywhere I went and do everything I was doing whether it was washing dishes or painting my nails. Now, she would rather be in her room painting her own nails or listening to her own music....with her door closed.
I’m not going to lie, I miss when she was little and everything was able to be fixed with a hug and kiss.
As my daughter has gotten older and our conversations have changed, I've realized there are certain things that my daughter needs to hear from me.
1. Mean girls exist.
This isn’t just in movies. There will be girls that can be your friend one day, and the next she will treat you as if you don’t even exist.
I remember she came home one day and she was so upset because one of her friends was mad at her for no apparent reason. All I could think was....yep girls will do that. She needed to know that there will be times that her “friends” won't always be there for her. Girls can be jealous, especially at such a young age and that causes them to push friends away. It doesn’t matter if you talked to the boy they liked, you’re friends with the girl they don’t like, or maybe you didn’t play with her at free time...girls can be mean.
2. You are beautiful....on the inside and out.
Lately, Emma has become more aware of her looks. She has been telling her dad and I that she wants to get braces soon. I ask her why and she says because she doesn't want the gap in her front two teeth anymore. I remind her, gap or not, she is still absolutely beautiful. She smiles and says thank you but I can tell she thinks I'm just telling her because that’s what moms are supposed to do. Then I take it to the next level and I ask her if she knows what makes her even more beautiful. She asks what? I tell her, it’s her heart. She is always more considerate of other peoples feelings and will put others before herself. When I tell her that, I can see it in her eyes that she believes me. Every time I say she looks beautiful, I add that the person she is makes her even more so.
3. Be a leader, not a follower.
I remember last month when I picked the kids up from school and Emma told me she was going to try out for cheer leading. My heart stopped because I never even knew Emma wanted to be a cheerleader. I told her I would support her if thats what she wanted but asked what made her decide to try out. Her response was, my friends are trying out and they want me to try out too. I told her I didn’t want her to try out for something just because her friends were. If she was going to do something she had to make sure it was something she loved. A couple days later, she said she prayed about it and God didn’t create her to be a cheerleader and she would try out for the dance team instead. I was very proud of her for this and I told her to always be a leader and not a follower. What her friends love and what they want to do, won't necessarily be what she wants to do.
4. When in doubt, pray.
Anytime there is something that is bothering Emma or if she is struggling with a decision, I tell her to pray about it. As mentioned in 3, she knows that praying can always give her the answer she is looking for. I think this is something that’s important because it will follow her as she becomes an adult.
5. I’m proud of you!
It doesn’t matter if she got her front hand spring down in gymnastics or she got an A on a big school project, I always tell her I’m proud of her. Nothing makes Emma happier knowing she accomplished something and I noticed. Regardless of how big or small it may be, showing I'm proud means the world to her.
6. I love you, no matter what.
This may sound simple enough but saying “I love you” won’t ever get old or overused to anyone. There may come a time when my daughter does something she thinks is unforgivable but she knows that I will always love her. In life, we all make mistakes but Emma knows that I will stand by her side and love her through every trial she may face. Every day I tell both of my kids, “I love you, no matter what.”
7. Never give up on reaching your dreams.
Whatever they may be, I don’t want her to ever give up. She may have one dream in her lifetime or she may have several. I will support each dream she has and I will constantly push her to continue for what she wants. The world can be a scary place but if Emma has a dream than she has goals that she can turn into a reality.
Those are the 7 things I make sure my daughter hears from me. A mother and daughter bond is strong and I thank God each day for not only giving me a daughter but also a friend. She makes me a better person because she is watching me and I don’t want to disappoint her...ever. I want her to grow up to be a strong and faithful woman so my goal is to be the best example for her.
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Proverbs 31:30