To my dearest daughter,
As we approach your tenth birthday, I find myself feeling especially sentimental. I look back on the past ten years of your life and it only feels like a second in time. If the past ten years have passed this quickly, I know the next eight years will flash by with the same momentum. How can that be so?
As the years began passing, I refused to believe you had to act in such a negative way just because society said you would. What if I didn’t allow you to act disrespectfully? What if I didn’t allow you to sulk around all day, acting as though the world owed you something? What if, just what if, I didn’t make excuses for you, always blaming your actions on “being a teenager?”
Recently in talking with a pastor at church, his words were deeply embedded on my heart. He said, “the bible doesn’t use the word teenager. It talks about children, but not teenagers. Teenager is a word humans made up.”
I believe that the transition from childhood to adulthood is not going to be easy. I believe you will have good days and bad days. That is just human nature. I believe you will make mistakes, need additional guidance, want to feel pretty, and be trying to decide where you want to go in life.
As someone who cares about everything you are about to embark on, I promise to never make excuses for bad behavior. Being a “teenager” has nothing to do with respect. Ever. Under any circumstance. To anyone.
I promise to listen to you. Really listen. To understand what you are saying through adult perspective, not looking at you as just my child.
I promise to never give up on you. I will always strive to raise an amazing adult, not just a “happy teenager.”
I promise to say no. But not just no. I promise to communicate why I said no as well.
I promise to say yes too. All of my no's, will lead to some really great yes's.
I promise to be your biggest fan, and your number one supporter.
I promise to go the extra mile to make you know you are pretty. But to also teach you that your attitude determines real beauty.
I promise to teach and enforce that rolling your eyes is not beautiful. It is also very disrespectful. Use those brown eyes for something beautiful.
I promise to teach you how to act like a lady. “Modesty reveals your dignity.” Dressing trashy does not do anything good for your life.
I promise to teach you how to find true friends. I will always welcome your friends into our home and lives, while still expecting you to find delight in spending time with your elders.
I promise to always make you clean your room. Trust me, it’s a good habit to have.
I promise to take your driving privilege away if you cannot act like a responsible adult. Driving at sixteen is a privilege, NOT a right. A child will not be allowed to control something that could potentially kill someone.
I promise to always keep you involved in church, encourage prayer, and pray for you.
I promise not to make insensitive jokes about very real things in your life. No, you don’t have to be forty to date. I know it does not make you feel like you are being taken seriously.
I promise to also talk to you and educate you on these adult topics. I will be here to help you make the right choices.
I promise to not make my own dreams of what I want for you. But I do want to be invited on the journey God has for you.
I promise to laugh at your jokes. Even if I don’t think you will ever master “knock knock jokes.”
I promise to make you go to all family events. You’ll end up having fun. You’re welcome.
I promise to never allow you to constantly have a phone in your hands. You will miss out on so much if you do.
I promise to teach you there is nothing wrong with a good sale.
I promise to treat you respectfully, and expect the exact same in return.
I promise to teach you what you want in your future husband. And I will show you how to be a good wife.
I promise to push you hard in your schoolwork. Intelligence is also beautiful.
I promise to tell you every day that I am so proud of you. You deserve to be confident.
I promise to sing loudly with you, laugh with you, and cry with you.
I promise to be strict and what some people call “controlling.” This is my job. You are what I am pouring my life into. I refuse to fail you. You are not ready to stand on your own yet, so I will hold you up until you can.
I promise these things because I am your mom. Because I will tell you one day how wonderful raising a daughter will be, and how beautiful the teen years will be. Because I love you too much to let you act in any way that is unflattering to the woman you are becoming. I have eight more years to have the privilege of raising you. Three more years until you are officially a teenager. I just know they are going to be great!
And have I told you today how proud I am of the young lady you already are?
I love you.