Sweet, beautiful daughter of mine, I think about you all the time. And recently I find myself staring at you wondering when you grew up. When you were tiny, I remember wondering what you would be like, what would make you laugh and what would make you cry, what your favorite foods would be and what you would dream of becoming. You are more wonderful than I could have ever imagined.
I watch you and I flash back to my own childhood. I watch you holding Georgia, and I remember holding your Aunt Gracie. I see you reading everything you can get your hands on–books and street signs and menus–and I remember doing the same. I see your tears when you mess something up or get embarrassed. I know those same tears.
Today, we were talking when we got home from Classical Conversations. I needed to apologize for the way I handled something with you, and I asked you if there was anything you wanted to say to me. You looked at me with your bottom lip quivering and said, “I couldn’t do the hula hoop at recess.”
I know it might not seem like a big deal to some people. But I get it, sweet girl. My bottom lip quivers too. We first borns want to be great at everything. We want A pluses and gold stars. We chase perfection. Because we think that’s what makes us lovable.
But then we fail or mess up–even just a tiny bit–and everything gets all cracked up, and we’re certain we’ve ruined everything. But you haven’t. And I haven’t. Sweet daughter, you aren’t loved because you can keep a hula hoop in the air. And I’m not loved because I can keep meals and laundry and the endless balls I try to juggle in the air. You are loved because you’re mine. And I’m loved because I’m His.
So, maybe today we won’t try to be perfect. We’ll laugh when the hula hoop falls off because at least we had fun trying. Or when we forget the meat for spaghetti and meatballs or the laundry gets mildewy in the washer. We’ll cheer a friend on when she keeps the hula hoop spinning. Or when she gets the answered prayer or recognition or any of those things that make us feel like life is a competition with finite blessings to go around and surely her good thing means there’s less good things for me now. We’ll be vulnerable and admit our insecurities to Mom. Or our husband or a trusted friend. Because sometimes we need a safe place to fail and an outside voice to remind us that we are loved. Whether the hula hoop is in the air or on the asphalt.