When I was younger, I used to dream about having a daughter. I would think about how she would be my little best friend, and how we would do everything together.
When I found out I was having a daughter, I was over-the-moon excited. I needed all of the pink things! I had visions of dressing her in little pink outfits, with sparkles, and huge bows for her hair. Luckily for me, she was born with no hair, and the huge bows were a necessity!
I wanted a girly-girl, and I had one for a while.
As she got older, she started to have her own opinions about clothes and shoes, and her opinions weren’t pink or sparkly. In fact, her opinions were turquoise blue and athletic.
Now, at just six days shy of eleven years old, my daughter, my once girly-girl-pink-loving daughter, is asking for a skateboard for her birthday. She wants a skateboard, she plays 2nd base in softball, and most of her outfits consist of ripped jeans, and hoodies, with Vans shoes. She isn’t at all who I pictured having as a daughter when I used to dream about it.
She’s so much better.
Somewhere throughout my eleven years of being a mother, I’ve learned a very important lesson.
Motherhood isn’t about making them into who you want them to be. It’s about helping them become who they’ve been meant to be all along.
My daughter is fierce, and strong, and brave, and tough. She’s independent and resilient. She is also loving, and kind-hearted. She’s the perfect mix of sassy and sweet.
And she is exactly who she is supposed to be. She’s so much better than my dream daughter.
It’s the same way with my son. I’m raising a sensitive boy in an insensitive world, and I’m ok with it. My son plays football, and basketball, and baseball. He wrestles with his dad and plays in the dirt every chance he gets. He loves to climb trees and jump in puddles.
He also cries when he scrapes his knee, or when his feelings get hurt. And that’s ok! He doesn’t like loud noises or fireworks. He’s shy around kids that he doesn’t know. He doesn’t like rides that go fast, and heights make him nervous. But, you know what?
That’s who he is, and it’s completely fine. That is exactly who he is meant to be. He’s plenty tough, but he’s also plenty sensitive. I don’t need to raise him to be fearless or macho.
I just need to raise him to be kind and a genuinely good person. And I am.
Raising kids doesn’t mean making them into little carbon copies of ourselves. It means doing our best to guide them, and teach them how to be their own person. When all is said and done, if they become kind and good-hearted people with good intentions, then you’ve done your job as a parent.
Let them be the loud kid. Let them be the “weird” kid. Let them be the different kid. Let them be the silly kid.
Let them be exactly who they are.
Just don’t let them be the mean kid.