My dearest daughter,

I’ve been asked to write you a letter to tell you things that I wish for you to know about this life. Before reading on, you must first know that not even my most vivid and heartfelt imagination will conjure up the image that can capture how stellar you will be. This letter can only ever be a wild estimation of what you would need to learn from me, because I already know you will hold the whole world in your eyes.

Baby steps. Although time is experienced as linear, my dear, it is important for you to remember that life’s experience can be very dynamic. Things that you learn from early in life can, and will, stay with you. For this very reason, the first lesson for you to know is that I am your mother. This means many things. Inherently, it means that I am your caregiver, I am your protector and I am your parent. I want for you to learn to be the child, in order for you to learn that you deserve the very best care. Not because of anything you do or don’t do, but simply because you are my daughter and because you are loved.

Becoming you. Sooner than I can ever prepare for, you will want to become your own person. Despite your possible interpretation of my actions and opinions, I want the very same thing for you, too. By this time, our relationship will grow and evolve. You will need to learn to be patient with those around you, because although you will know what is best for you, others will only want even better.

When love finds you. It will strike you. It will take you. It will be the best thing that words will never be able to describe. It will challenge everything you know, and for that you will grow stronger both as the person you are and as the person you can be. It will remind you why life is so beautiful and will highlight to you the things that you can’t live without. You will know when love finds you, not with your words, not with your actions, but with your whole being.

If hurt hurts you. It will hurt. Come find me and I’ll be there with a box of chocolates and a stash of tissues. We will talk until it no longer makes sense, and I will hold you until you remember that the world is safe again. It will hurt. But you will be okay.

Perhaps by the time you read this, you will have your own daughter. And you’ll know that I was only ever one step ahead, but always walking side-by-side with you.

With all my love,

Your mum.

Beauty is most definitely in the eye of the beholder

Dear Lily,

There will be many times you will encounter the saying ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ and as many times as you hear this phrase, you will at times doubt it in yourself. Don’t.

When you were a baby family always said you were beautiful. When I held you in my arms for the first time, I knew you were beautiful. But as you get older, you won’t hear it as much from people around you. You will most likely hear and the see the words beauty, beautiful, gorgeous from movies, television, social media or whatever is the current media medium in your world today. You will see pictures of what the world thinks the meaning of beautiful is. Maybe skinny models, photoshopped faces and perfect teeth. (Side note: I apologise right now for your teeth; that you certainly got from my side of the family).

You may not look like Jessica Alba or Jennifer Lawrence (modern day beauties), but I didn’t raise you to concentrate your beauty on the outside. I raised you to always believe in yourself, even when no one else does. To be strong in spirit, when everyone around you may not be. To be kind and respectful to people you meet, even if they are not nice to you. Everyone grew up differently to you and their definition of beauty may be different to you, don’t argue with them, just listen and respectfully disagree.

So, what is beauty to me?

To me beautiful person is someone who can hold their head high, who is logical, but is not afraid to be emotional and sensitive. A cry once in a while is cleansing for the soul. You can’t always be strong dear girl. Beauty is not only looking good, but feeling good. When I see a beautiful person in the street, I see a happy person, I see a confident person, I see someone not afraid to be vulnerable. I see someone who is not afraid to be themselves and not really listen to the negatives around them. I see a person who is kind and loving to those who matter to them. I see a beautiful soul first, their smile and their genuine interest in people then I see their face.

When you are a genuine person, this shows on the outside. So concentrate on being beautiful on the inside and look after yourself, the outside will soon follow.

“The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a Woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she knows.” Audrey Hepburn

“The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.” Audrey Hepburn

You too may have your definition as you get older and it may change over time, let’s talk about this over hot chocolate and some chocolate mousse. Just don’t tell your dad about the chocolate mousse I secretly made for you.

X Mummy

‘A Daddy’s Letter to His Little Girl (About Her Future Husband)’

 

Dear Cutie-Pie,

Recently, your mother and I were searching for an answer on Google. Halfway through entering the question, Google returned a list of the most popular searches in the world. Perched at the top of the list was “How to keep him interested.”

It startled me. I scanned several of the countless articles about how to be sexy and sexual, when to bring him a beer versus a sandwich, and the ways to make him feel smart and superior.

And I got angry.

Little One, it is not, has never been, and never will be your job to “keep him interested.”

Little One, your only task is to know deeply in your soul—in that unshakeable place that isn’t rattled by rejection and loss and ego—that you are worthy of interest. (If you can remember that everyone else is worthy of interest also, the battle of your life will be mostly won. But that is a letter for another day.)

If you can trust your worth in this way, you will be attractive in the most important sense of the word: you will attract a boy who is both capable of interest and who wants to spend his one life investing all of his interest in you.

Little One, I want to tell you about the boy who doesn’t need to be kept interested, because he knows you are interesting:

I don’t care if he puts his elbows on the dinner table—as long as he puts his eyes on the way your nose scrunches when you smile. And then can’t stop looking.

I don’t care if he can’t play a bit of golf with me—as long as he can play with the children you give him and revel in all the glorious and frustrating ways they are just like you.

I don’t care if he doesn’t follow his wallet—as long as he follows his heart and it always leads him back to you.

I don’t care if he is strong—as long as he gives you the space to exercise the strength that is in your heart.

I couldn’t care less how he votes—as long as he wakes up every morning and daily elects you to a place of honor in your home and a place of reverence in his heart.

I don’t care about the color of his skin—as long as he paints the canvas of your lives with brushstrokes of patience, and sacrifice, and vulnerability, and tenderness.

I don’t care if he was raised in this religion or that religion or no religion—as long as he was raised to value the sacred and to know every moment of life, and every moment of life with you, is deeply sacred.

In the end, Little One, if you stumble across a man like that and he and I have nothing else in common, we will have the most important thing in common:

You.

Because in the end, Little One, the only thing you should have to do to “keep him interested” is to be you.

Your eternally interested guy,

Daddy

———

This post is, of course, dedicated to my daughter, my Cutie-Pie. But I also want to dedicate it beyond her.

I wrote it for my wife, who has courageously held on to her sense of worth and has always held me accountable to being that kind of “boy.”

I wrote it for every grown woman I have met inside and outside of my therapy office—the women who have never known this voice of a Daddy.

And I wrote it for the generation of boys-becoming-men who need to be reminded of what is really important—my little girl finding a loving, lifelong companion is dependent upon at least one of you figuring this out. I’m praying for you.

Original letter can be found here.