My dear sweet girl,
There are so many wonderful years ahead of you. Each year holds exciting new possibilities and adventures. You will make new friends and lose a few along the way. Sometimes, life won’t seem fair. You won’t be able to get everything you want, not for my lack of wanting to provide you with the world. I would place the world in your hands if I knew I could.
I hope you realize that the quality or quantity of toys or belongings do not make a good person. You’ll see how other girls and boys your age have bigger or more shiny toys than you. You’ll notice how some kids your age have toys that are smaller or more worn than yours. I hope you know how blessed you are to have toys, a warm bed, and a roof over your head. There are more admirable qualities.
I hope that you know how loved you are.
I wish you knew your Grandpa Neaderhiser and could have visited a garage sale or two with him or help him build something. I wish you knew your Great Grandpa Neaderhiser and could have played piano with him, like I did. I wish you could have spent the night over at Great Grandpa and Grandma McConnell’s house, drinking tweegee, exploring the sheds, and going to JC Penney in the afternoons like your Aunt Laura and I did. We are at a disadvantage in living so far away from our close family, but remember that there are always letters, phone calls, and pictures.
I hope you know that you do NOT have to know ‘what you want to be when you grow up.’ I am almost 27 years old and I know exactly what I want to be, but it isn’t what you would expect.
I want to be the best mom to you that I possibly can.
I want to be an artist, a baker, a musician, a builder, a singer, a dancer, a gardener, a seamstress, a house cleaner, an inventor, a personal motivator, a librarian, a history buff, and a walking encyclopedia.
When I was younger, I felt pressured to have life figured out. I thought that if I didn’t know what job I wanted when I graduated high school, that the world would implode and I’d be living on the streets by my 19th birthday. I assumed that to be successful, you have to have a high paying job.
I hope you know that it is okay to change your mind. It is alright.
I hope you know that success has many meanings. Sometimes, success is even defined as just making it through another day.
I hope you know that you can reach out to family, friends, or professionals for any help you need.
I hope you aren’t too proud to ask to search out help. You are loved.
Please, dear one, do not go through your youth comparing yourself to other people. I spent the majority of my life comparing myself to people around me, judging my own talents and beauty against theirs. Don’t do it. You are unique. Be yourself. Sometimes, this won’t be popular or cool. I hope you know that life isn’t a race and it isn’t a popularity contest. I expect you to be true to yourself.
I hope you know that life won’t be handed to you. You must learn to work with your hands. You must learn to face challenges and obstacles with a positive attitude, for there will be many. You can’t avoid those. Sorry, little girl. Most of the time, all we can change is how we respond to bad things that happen to us.
I hope you know that you have a choice to live a happy life or one in bitterness. I hope you choose happiness.
I hope you make many friends and are kind to everyone.
I hope you discover a few hobbies and talents that you want to develop. I hope you have in inquisitive mind and heart. Don’t let curiosity die.
I hope you know that there are mean people in the world. There are kids who will pick on you for your red hair, for your blue eyes, for your name, for how you walk, or for how you laugh. Mean hearted people will always have something mean to say, no matter the topic. I hope you do not let them get you down. You are beautiful. You are kind. You are smart and you are loved. These kind of people who treat you poorly are not your friends. They are bitter hearts and all you can do is love them through it. I hope you learn from us how to react to mean people in a grown up manner. I hope you learn from us to not return their mean comments with mean ones, but instead to shake it off and move on, fully confident in your abilities and in the knowledge that you are loved by your family unconditionally.
I hope that you see that Daddy and I are not perfect. We won’t pretend to be. Life is hard and to get through it, we lean on each other. We are here for you.
I hope you know that models and superstars, celebrities and famous people aren’t real. Okay…so they are real, but not really *real.* A lot of times, pictures are edited and changed to look more beautiful and to remove all the flaws. This can make some men and women look flawless and often impossibly ‘beautiful’ or skinny. I hope you know that you don’t have to look like them and it is normal not to. You are unique. I hope you know that you don’t need to compare yourself to them.
I hope you realize that you can be the BEST at whatever you put your mind to. You’ll get inspired by artists, musicians, celebrities, family members, strangers, or books. Give sports a try. Give art a go. Try a few instruments. Read different types of books. Explore many options and if you like something, do it! Don’t let anyone tell you that your idea is ‘stupid’ or ‘not cool.’
I hope you know that I really love being your mom. I love making you laugh and I really enjoy playing with you. I enjoy teaching you new things.
I hope you take the time to enjoy nature. I hope you enjoy spending time out on the porch watching it rain. I hope you like taking walks through the woods with me. I hope you don’t mind getting your hands dirty with me as we work outside with Daddy.
I hope you aren’t afraid of hard work. Anything worth doing is worth doing right. You may have to invest time and energy into your hobby to get better. That’s how movie stars get to where they are…that’s how musicians get up on stage in front of millions of people…that’s how artists have their work placed in famous galleries: They work hard at what they’re good at. They practice. They don’t get discouraged when they face a challenge. They keep trying. They throw themselves into their hobby. Notice that they don’t do it halfheartedly—but rather give it all they have. Remember that.
I hope you know how much we love you.