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Things have been a little tricky lately. The days are getting longer, but unfortunately, they don’t come with more hours. With more daylight, sleep seems elusive for all of us, and I feel as though all of the ends are frayed. In these moments, it’s hard to dig deep and be a better mom, and I’ll admit that my moments have not been the finest. Or best. Or even memorable for all of the right reasons. But you, my darling sweet girl… In you, I see a promise and hope that makes me want to be a better mom.
You have these remarkable moments of patience and compassion. When your brother was upset about going to the doctor, I saw you calmly place your hand on him and talk him through why going to the doctor was a good thing. Sure, you may have overpromised (what mother doesn’t?), but you were sincere and kind and patient and compassionate. It was a wellspring that I didn’t possess before 7 in the morning, and yet there you were. In that moment, you were sowing the seeds for me to be a better mom.
You have an uncanny talent of caring for us and loving us with your whole heart. Even when we’re grumpy and tired, you still find a way to find the smile and joy. It sits well with my soul that you still want to climb into my lap, be close to me, and be still. You still call your daddy your best buddy, and I hope that never changes. I hope that you will look to him as your protector and advocate as the days and years pass, and you will have that safety net when the world gets too big and too scary.
Your curiosity and imagination are limitless at this age, and that is such an important quality in a mother. You tell the most magnificent and fantastic stories, the good ones that are enthralling and entrancing, and you tell them with such gusto. You come from a line of storytellers, my sweet girl, and stories are a magnificent cornerstone of childhood.
You confide in me all of the things that go on in your day. And when I tell you about my day – the abridged version because she doesn’t need to know all of the nitty gritty details – I can tell that you listen. Listening is such a key component to be a better mom. We teach you and model active listening skills, and you’re probably tired of us telling you to click on your listening ears when we’ve asked you to put on your shoes for about the seventh time in just as many minutes (not that we’re keeping score, mind you).
But are you ready for the easiest way you’ll be a better mom?
You’re learning. You’re watching.
You stand on the shoulders of giants, my love. Each of the mothers in your family that comes before you is your bedrock, your foundation. You will have taken everything you have learned from our historical collective knowledge… and you will do more. You will be a better mom.
You will learn from my mistakes. You will see when I am quick to anger, and you will learn from that. You will see when I grouse to go outside, and you will learn from that. You will see when I moan that no, I just need 5 minutes, and you will learn from that.
You have it written in your soul to be a better mom.
But let me not discourage you, sweet girl. I’m not all bad. You will listen to the fanciful songs that I make up, and you will learn from that. You will see that I will never refuse a book purchase, and you will learn from that. You will see that I will always find time to snuggle with you, even if it is fleeting and short, and you will learn from that.
You will see a mother who worked so hard to show you that a woman can do anything she sets her mind to, and you will learn from that.
You will see a woman who finds a way to give back to her community, to serve those who cannot speak up for themselves, and you will learn from that.
And you will see a woman so in awe of your potential, a woman who wants to be the kind of woman who makes her daughter proud, and you will learn from that.
My love, you will see all of these triumphs and trials, and you will be a better mom. You will be a better mom if you decide to be a cowgirl in Wyoming or a homemaker in Dallas. Your natural maternal instinct will blossom in many forms, be it nurturing students, pets, or your own children (please note: your father and I will never pressure you to have children, but if you happen to have children, we’ll whisper in their baby soft ears that we’ve been waiting for them for a long time… it’s nothing personal).
And one day, our lullabies will be whispers in the wind, and you will have to be brave and scared on your own. In that moment, you will be desperate for one more phone call, one more hug, and you’ll start to bargain anything and everything for just. one. more.
But my darling girl, you won’t have to look far. As your mother, I am etched into you, the good and the bad. You’ll never have to look far for I’ll always be with you. When you sing a song to your children, I’ll be there. When you read a story to your children, I’ll be there. When you obsess over the right color toy, I’ll be there.
And when you sit down with your children and realize that you need to do something more or different to be a better mom, I’ll be there.