Monday, July 22, 2013

(she always loved) larking: A Letter to My Daughters {Dear Daughter Series}

Today's letter is written by Courtney of (she always loved) larking. She's a wonderful writer, a voracious reader, has a terrifically dry sense of humor, and is a kindred spirit. She makes beautiful jewelry from antique book pages and is expecting her second daughter any second! Read more from her at her blog, check out her Etsy shop, then find her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest

I'm so pleased to be sharing a "Dear Daughter" letter as part of Ruthie and Afton's 2nd birthday celebration. I never had a sister, and I'm hoping to learn all about how to parent two sweet girls vicariously through Megan, since my second daughter is due about a month from now and I need all the help I can get!

Dear Lorelei - and baby girl on the way! -

Yes, I've always been this stubborn. I know you've been wondering if being a stick-in-the-mud is just part of the "getting older" process, but I'm here to tell you that I was just born this way. I've always wanted to do things my way - and it's hard for me to compromise even when someone else's way is probably just as good as mine. Sometimes it's been a good thing - it makes me stick to my principles and has gotten me out of some sticky situations - but it can be a tricky personality trait, too. Your dad is pretty good about being patient with me (though he can be stubborn in his own way, can't he?).

  "feeding goats": I was a little nervous to be with all of the hungry goats by myself but was so glad I did :)

One of the areas where I was most stubborn growing up was when it came to trying new things, especially ones where I thought I might look less than perfect. I didn't walk until I was almost 16 months old - even though my mom swears I could have done it long before! - because, well, I just wasn't ready to let go. I had my first two-wheeler in kindergarten or first grade but I didn't ride it until 4th grade because, well, I didn't want to do it until I could do it right. And driving the car? Not until I graduated from high school - despite having my learner's permit for years before that. I even turned down a Valentine's Day date with your dad to go ice skating because I didn't know how to skate very well and I hated the idea of falling or looking stupid. And that mystery novel I really want to write? I can't get past the first chapter because I'm worried it's just...well, not good enough.

"playing dress-up": I always loved being the star of the show - especially one I wrote and directed myself!

Don't get me wrong: there are lots of ways that I have been braver than other people might have been. I've always had the courage to play the violin or give a speech to an audience - did you know that I spoke at my high school graduation ceremony or that I was invited to be the faculty speaker at commencement for my first long-term teaching job? And there's never been a dance floor I haven't tried out - even when your dad was too shy to step onto it with me. But I've never been good at trusting that other people won't hold it against me if I "fail" at something - and it's hard to have fun when you're worried about being perceived as "perfect" all the time.

"totem pole climbing": doing something a little dangerous for once!

And that's my big hope for you two: that I'm raising you to be confident in yourselves and trust that failure is always an option. I want you to climb up the rope ladder at the park all by yourself - and to know that I'll be right there if you fall, but that I trust you to be able to do it on your own. I want you to go bowling and skiing and tubing with your friends instead of staying home because you worry that they'll laugh when you get a gutter ball or fall down or tip over into the water. I want you to paint, draw, sing, write, and dance for the pure joy of it and not be concerned about how it measures up to anyone else's art. I want you to go on new adventures and get excited about new ideas and embrace all the possibilities open to you - and to know that I don't expect you to be perfect, not even a little bit. What you are and what you do is always going to be good enough.

"college": one of my favorite pictures from college - a place where I felt confident and self-assured, especially when wearing those boots.

with lots of stubborn and imperfect love -
your mama

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