For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to have a daughter of my own. My heart always longed to raise a little girl, to pour into her the way my mother did me. And I just wanted one daughter. For some reason, my mind only imagined one daughter. Maybe that was because I myself was just one daughter, and thus, I got my mother all to myself (my brother was there too, but “girl time” was all mine). Maybe I just always knew there would be one, and so my heart was prepared early on.
I envisioned this daughter of mine so clearly, yet the girl who arrived 13 years ago was nothing like the one in my dreams. The girl I envisioned was a physical replicate of me, dark hair and eyes, tan skin, the italian genes flowing strong. But this beautiful, fair, light-eyed beauty arrived instead. Her spirit is so much spunkier than I imagined. Her heart sits right out there to be broken. She loves big, hurts big, lives big. She’s so much more than I ever dreamed.
I thought it would be special to share this story today. After all, my little girl becomes a teenager today. I can’t believe how fast it’s all going. I swear it was just yesterday that they placed her in my arms for the first time.
I’ll never ever forget that first time, because this girl of ours entered the world with a tremendous BANG, and has yet to slow down. She was born in the most unforgettable way, with a room full of nurses screaming, my little girl looking so blue, not breathing, the words “code blue” floating around the room while I looked on helplessly. Eventually, she gave a loud cry, everyone celebrated, and time began again. Since that day, we’ve had several more trips to the ER with her, an ambulance ride or two, seizures, broken bones, and more gray hairs than any woman my age should have (that’s true, right?). She’s probably aged me more than both of her brothers put together, but her smile and her eyes melt my heart every single day, and make every single gray hair worth it. Truly.
As many of my readers know, B is my WHY.
Sandwiched between two brothers who think that the sun rises and sets on them, B is starting to struggle with her confidence, with her beauty, with her value. Seeing this change in her has changed me. My purpose is to pour love, worth, and self esteem into her, simply because she’s alive, because she’s B. And as many of you know, this mission has now poured into my life as a dorm mom and as a photographer. Every girl who enters my dorm, every girl who stands in front of my camera- I see my B in them. And I want to pour confidence and self-esteem into them, to encourage them to love themselves, because they’re worthy.
So today, on the day when my own girl moves into the next stage of her life, I want to celebrate her.
My mother always told me that raising a girl was so much more difficult than raising a boy. I used to balk at that, but it makes a lot of sense now. For me, raising a daughter is so much more visceral, more raw. I can’t intellectualize my parenting, the way I sometimes can with my boys. My heart feels more exposed with my daughter. I worry about her in such a powerful and tender way.
Does she know how beautiful she is, down to her core? Does she feel worthy? Does she believe in herself? Does she trust me? The questions are endless.
And so I also come at you, my readers and friends, with a request for help, for advice. Those moms who have raised teen girls before me, what advice would you offer me today? Leave me some comments below.
In honor of my girl’s birthday today, I’m having a special giveaway over on Facebook. I’m announcing the winner today, so if you haven’t seen that, go check it out now. I want to celebrate her birthday (and mine) by giving another mom an opportunity to celebrate her daughter.
Thank you for letting me share the story of my girl. I encourage you today to stop and remember the stories surrounding your own daughter. It’s true what they say- the days are long, but the years are so short.
And to my precious B, Happy Birthday Miss Teenager. You make my life better, just by being in it.