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Dear Mary Clare

Parenting is the wildest ride out there. It is deeply complex and at times can be terrifying. Yet it brings the greatest love and joy I have ever felt. Raising a girl is a responsibility so vast and so important that it knocks the wind out of me. I have a vision of who my daughter is and who she will be - happy, kind and confident. Yet I am dumbfounded when I think about how exactly I am supposed to do that. Then again, I don't think it is really my job to decide who she will be. I have the privilege of holding onto her for a little while, just until she is ready to go out on her own. We are trying to raise this little girl to be a strong, independent woman in a complicated and flawed world. I suppose, we are all just figuring it out as we go.

My Darling Girl,

When you were born you became our whole world, my hope now is that we can give you the world. Each day I get to watch you grow into the beautifully unique woman you are meant to be, how did I ever get so lucky? It is not my job to tell you who to be, so think of this as my wish list for you.

  1. Always be kind and compassionate, never complacent.

  2. When you don’t know what to do. Listen closely, there’s a voice inside that knows what’s right for you. The more you listen to this voice, the easier it will be to hear.

  3. Say “please” and “thank you.” Even when no one else does. Good manners will take you far.

  4. Make your voice heard but make sure you know when it’s time to just listen.

  5. There will always be people with more than you and many with far less. Be grateful for everything you have, share some of what you’ve got and never ever stop relentlessly fighting for what you want.

  6. When someone tells you that you can’t, go ahead and show them that you can and you will. It is your actions, not your words, that will prove them wrong.

  7. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Get help when you need it.

  8. The greatest joy in life is to love and be loved. It’s a cliche for a reason. Love with abandon. Love from your nose to your toes. Love even when it’s hard. Just love.

  9. Don’t go looking for happiness anywhere but in your own heart. All you’ll ever need is inside you (this one is passed down from your Nana, she always tells me this and it’s never steered me wrong).

  10. Above all, be confident in your worth. People will follow your lead and treat you accordingly. This is my most sincere wish for you. If you know your worth everything else will follow.

Mary Clare, I have been dreaming of you for as long as I can remember. Yet you are so much more than I ever could have imagined. Stay true and listen closely to the voice inside. You will do great things with this life of yours. Daddy and I are so lucky to sit beside you and enjoy the ride. Make your own way, my love. Let these wishes guide you whenever you need them.

With every ounce of my love,

Your mama

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