Friday, February 27, 2015

A Letter to My Daughter As She Prepares to Graduate from High School

There are some things I want you to know. I've been composing this letter in my head for the last week or two, and I decided to write it down. I’m a little bit scared that you’ll be mad or upset at some of this, that you’ll take it wrong somehow, so please read it knowing that it comes from deep in my heart.  Because I love you more than you will ever know –always remember that.

1.  You’re beautiful – love yourself.

      I know you think that I’m just saying this because I’m your mother so of course I
      think you’re beautiful. But I promise there’s more to it than that. You are beautiful.

2.  Your body is what it is. Stop wishing you were something different and work 
     with what you have.
     This is important for you to know because as you get older, it gets harder to lose
     weight and keep yourself in shape – just look at me. You are building good, 
     healthy habits now and I want you to keep up with them. At the same time, learn to 
     love your body (see #1 above). You have more curves than you’d like – this does not
     make you less beautiful. Thigh gaps and bony hip bones are pipe dreams and you 
     would not be more beautiful than you are now if you had them (see #1 above). 
     Love yourself, curves and all. Be healthy.

3.     It takes hard work to make things happen.

     You have seen the benefit of hard work, and you have been really proud of yourself 
     when your hard work has paid off. But sometimes you either give up too easily, or 
     you just take the easiest way out – traits I’m afraid you got from me. Fight against 
     your tendency to do this. If you look at the people you admire, especially in the music
     world, you’ll see people who struggled for years before “making it.” And even if they 
     didn't struggle for years, they are pushing themselves every day. The people who 
     make it look easy are the ones who worked the hardest. Take advantage of the 
     things that come easy to you, but don’t settle for just the easy things. Work at the 
     easy things to make them seem flawless. Work to get better at the hard things too.

4.     Be kind.

      People matter. And people’s feelings matter. I’m not saying that you should let 
      yourself be taken advantage of. And I’m not saying that it’s not okay to feel what 
      you feel. I’m saying that it’s important to consider the impact that your words and 
      actions have on other people.

5.     You have an amazing talent. 

      Your voice is spectacular, and I believe that you could probably play any instrument 
      you wanted to, if you put your mind to it (see #3 above). Don’t ever stop singing. 
      Whatever song you are singing is my favorite song to hear. Plus you’re a really 
      good writer. Keep doing that too. Oh – and you’re one of the funniest people I know. 
      Keep that up as well.

Most importantly, know that you have a full and wonderful life ahead of you. I know that you worry about the future. But remember that you are smart and talented, and even if you take the wrong path every now and again, it’s always possible to change course. You won’t do everything right – no one ever does – but you are a good person. You are caring and funny and sweet, and the people who love you will always help when you need it. Especially me.

I love you,