Well, it’s official. I’m now the mother of a 5-year-old! This past week was our daughter Sydney’s birthday. We had an amazing day, just the four of us, our happy little family playing at a new park that we’d been wanting to go to, eating cake and playing with new presents. It was wonderful, peaceful, quiet and perfect. It’s also been an emotional one for me. I don’t know why. She gets older every year. But 5 seems like such a milestone, doesn’t it?
Although she doesn’t start kindergarten until next year (which will make me a whole new level of emotional I’m sure), she just seems so grown up, and the little baby girl that I once held and nursed has now transformed into a big girl. So it isn’t without tears (of both nostalgia and happiness) that I write this simple letter to my daughter, my big 5-year-old, the one that had me before hello, always and forever.
I cannot believe this day has come to be—you’re now five years old! How is it possible that time has gone so quickly? Everyone says that, but it’s so true. My life before you—the one who made me a mother—was not even a small fraction of busy or fun until you came along!
I want to tell you that I’m insanely proud of you. That you’re so independent, you try hard to do things on your own now, you clean up after yourself and you try to help Mommy and Daddy out with little brother. I know he’s proud of you, too.
I love seeing the world through your eyes knowing how innocent and sweet it is. I pray that you’ll be able to always see the good like that even when you learn about how things really can be out there in the real world. Your sensitivity and compassion will take you far in this life, no matter which path you take. I pray you don’t lose that.
I love the way you look at me like I’m one of your favorite people on the planet. I know you think that I hung the moon. It is my hope that I can still be someone you’re proud of, someone that makes you happy, someone that you’ll still want to share everything with when you realize that I’m NOT perfect. Because that day will certainly come. (I just hope not too soon!)
Even though I’m far from perfect and I’m still working on a few of these myself, there are a few words of advice that I have for you now that you’re a big girl. These might seem silly now or might not make full sense, but they will apply in your life, always and forever.
You cannot ever, ever lose faith. Faith in humanity, faith in yourself. Faith in God that He will always light up the right path for you if you let Him. I’ve crossed over to the dark side and told God “I give up” a couple of times in my life. It was not a place in my life that I’m proud of. But you know what? It got me nowhere fast. And as soon as I let Him guide me again, He took me in like I’d never left. As a matter of fact, He had given me one of my greatest gifts in life once I trusted Him: You.
You cannot ever give up on your dreams. You might think the impossible. But you never know what you’re capable of until you try. Try out for the team. Enter the contest. Apply for that college if that’s what you want. And do it again when you fail. Because YOU WILL fail. But you have to be ready to jump back up and leap again.
You don’t get anywhere in life by sitting still. You have to take the plunge and see what happens. The worst that can happen is that you go back to the drawing board and try it again or try something else. Don’t lose sight of the big picture. Dream big and if you work hard, you will get there. Just remember that nothing will get handed to you—you do actually have to work hard for it. Daddy and I love you too much to do the work for you.
NEVER say you aren’t good enough. You are good enough. As a matter of fact, you’re better than good. You’re the only you there is and God created you perfectly to be exactly who you are. No one can be like you. So don’t be like them. Be like you. You’re always smart enough and pretty enough. Tests at school can’t measure every bit of your IQ in the same way that a mirror cannot measure every ounce of your beauty. You are perfect, and you do not have to prove that to anyone, except yourself.
Always be you, the true you. Learn this now. Because as we get older we get harder on ourselves. I’ve said things about myself in front of you that I’m not proud of. I vow to work on changing that. But you can’t just say words, you have to mean them. So I’m working on loving myself more. Because loving myself more means I’m loving you more. And when you take that pressure away of caring about what other people think, then you’ll feel free. You’ll go places. And you will see what you’re really capable of. And my love, you are capable of anything and everything.
Never say never. Because if you do, you are closing doors in your life. You want to see them open everywhere, especially when you’re young. You want to always be able to see new opportunities and be thoughtful about what you could do or where you can go. Always be open-minded. You’ll never regret looking back knowing that you’ve given it a chance.
When you’re five, the sky’s the limit. You have big dreams. You believe you’re a beautiful as mommy says you are. My job is to make sure that you hold onto that, always and forever.
I love being your Mom and I thank God every night for hand-picking me to have the honor. My big 5-year-old, Sydney Jewel, I love you more than you’ll ever comprehend!