To my daughter in the event she finds herself in my shoes:
If someday you become a mother, I confess I have a secret hope you will have a girl. When you were born my mom was in the room and the very first words she said to me were, “Don’t you just love her?” Oh yes. That love hit me like a ton of bricks and she completely understood. I dream of you experiencing that first sweet baby love.
With all of the joys there will be challenges. I don’t wish them upon you, despite my yelling, “Just WAIT until you have a daughter someday, then you will understand!” when we are in the middle of a heated argument. Please know, I will hold no grudges. I will not be waiting to say, “I told you so.” You can call me.
Because I have been where you are today my friend. And today I am where you will someday be. I have learned a thing or two in both places. If you look closely at my me and my mom, you will see those lessons. Because we have come full circle. There is a reason I talk to her on the phone every day my sweet girl. And I believe someday you will be calling me too, you can always call me.
When your daughter rolls her eyes at you as you hold up what you think is a perfectly cute pair of jeans at the mall, you can call me. I’ll totally be on your side and chances are I will also think those jeans are cute. We will be back on the same team then my friend if you can believe it, we will both be equally uncool.
When your daughter ghosts you after arriving home from school and she only wants to hang in her room with the door closed thank you very much, you can call me. I will remind you of the days you disappeared down the stairs with barely a hello and would shout back a quick, “Whaaaat?!?!” when we would call your name to find out if you were even in the house with us.
When your daughter would rather talk to her friends about her problems (and I’m sorry to break this to you, most will occasionally be one of those problems), you can call me. We can reminisce about how you would spend hours on your phone with your friends, Facetiming and Snapchatting and other things that most likely are now archaic and crazy since your daughter is all about holograms and teleporting…or whatever. Those both sound like they belong in the future. The point is, I can remind you, you did the same thing to me and now look at us…we’re right back to talking about your problems. It will be OK.
When your daughter comes home and her heart is broken by her friends or God forbid a boy, you can call me. When you realize you are feeling every bit of the pain she is feeling plus a little bit extra because you can’t fix this for her, I will remind you that this pain will shape her in ways that will make her stronger and more compassionate. Just like it did for you. I’ll tell you it isn’t our job to keep the pain from our kids, but rather to help them see they are strong enough to make it through. And they don’t have to make it through alone.
When she doesn’t seem to remember you love her with all of your heart and that all you do and say comes from this love. When she doesn’t seem to know you look at her and see both a grown up beauty and a two-year-old sweet baby behind the wheel of a the car and that’s why you have broken out in a sweat. When she doesn’t seem to realize you are still a little baffled at how fast it went, and that it’s crazy she doesn’t want you to do her hair or pick out her clothes anymore. Call me. I’ll understand.
Call me, sweet girl, and I’ll remind you that we made it through. I look into our future and know this will be true. I look at my relationship with my mom and it has all happened just this way, you can see that now I am sure.
I know when you call me, I will feel a little thrill. I will be so happy that like so many mothers and daughters before we are friends. I will no longer be parenting you, just enjoying you. Our connection will no longer be embarrassing to you but something we both cherish. And really, if we think about it, it wasn’t really ever embarrassing at all. I will remind you deep down you felt special and loved when we worried about you. That even while rallying against the boundaries we set, you knew they were keeping you safe and from the fate of those kids who weren’t as lucky as you.
I will remind you we had glimpses of our future friendship, just like you and your daughter do, I’m sure. Those moments when she wants to lay by you on the couch, or talk a little longer in the car so you keep driving, or when she not so reluctantly denies friends to stay home for family game night. Or that glorious moment when she declares it’s more fun to go to Target with you because you’re her favorite shopping partner. Those are the sneak peeks of what is to come when she is grown.
I will remind you that through all of it, there was always love. That constant love that has flowed from each generation to the next is ours and always has been. Not even the teenage years can change that. No matter what, you can call me and I will be here. I am your mom forever, just as my mom is mine. And I will be just a phone call away. Always.