Dear Daughter

I bought my first bottle of eau de parfum yesterday. After sniffing more bottles than my olfactory receptors could handle, I decided on one. It’s woody and amber-y, and smells just like I’d want to be remembered. As I swiped my card to pay for my pricey 1oz. bottle of Sensuous Nude, I felt a little more woman. I softly chuckled, imagining spritzing myself with this fragrance, letting it dry as I lean over the sink to apply mascara to my lashes before deciding what to wear. There’s something so decidedly feminine, and sensual, and adult about the ritual of getting ready especially when it involves perfume. It made me think of my mom, and how much like her I’ve become.

And I thought of you – even though you don’t exist yet – and how I hope you get to meet my mom and marvel at one of God’s greatest masterpieces. And I hoped that you too would one day celebrate, and not mourn, the fact that you’ve become more like me with each passing year.

There are many characteristics of mine which I hope you never inherit. My mostly unhelpful ability to over-analyze and dissect any situation – real or imagined – to bits and pieces, or the giant pores on my nose and legs, or ┬ámy incredibly coarse, slow-growing hair. I hope you don’t become compulsively self-reliant or mildly pessimistic like I tend to be. Instead, I hope you get my fierce determination to live a story worth telling. I hope you enjoy food – the creating and eating, the complexities of flavor and texture. I hope you love to have people around your table, feasting on delicacies from your kitchen, sharing laughter and pain over steaming plates of mushroom risotto or pasta or bacon mac and cheese. I hope you celebrate your body in all its flaws and glories, treating it with dignity and respect, and not shying away from the admiration it was created to command. I hope you love to dance, both with company and alone. I hope you are sassy and opinionated and confident, as well as selfless, generous, and thoughtful. Good heavens, I hope you love a well-put together outfit or I’ll be biting my tongue for as long as we both live. I hope you inherit some creativity – whether music, or writing, or decorating. I hope you quickly find the thing that brings you the most joy and makes your Abba proud, and spend all your energy running towards it.

I hope you are strong and courageous, resilient and wise. I know that everyone is guaranteed a share of the world’s pain and turmoil, and while I will want to protect you from yours, I hope it molds you into a woman of character who is more empathic because she, too, has been broken. I hope that whether you are the life of the party or the quiet observer, you strive to be a safe place for others to retreat to, where people leave feeling loved, valued, and inspired. I hope that your words are marked with grace and kindness, building up and not tearing down. I hope you find the balance between intellect and faith, asking your own questions and finding your own way. I hope you learn that strength isn’t burying emotions for the sake of trudging onwards, rather it is giving yourself room to break because only then can healing occur. I hope you learn honesty, patience, and love. And above all, I hope you fall madly in love with Jesus because he makes everything else so much sweeter.

If entrusting my wishes and hopes to the care of the universe were enough, I’d stop here. But everything that is beautiful about me today was once a seed planted by my mother. Everything I’ve learned about life, love, and God I have learned from the woman who nursed me. So while I certainly hope you become an extraordinary world-changer, I’ll busy myself with embodying the above characteristics and becoming one first. These passionate, purposeful days of my youth are for you, darling. I will pursue greatness so you can become great also.

With all my love,