I have never known anyone in my life with more determination and strength than my daughter. Never have I seen someone persevere with so much clarity and vision. She’s a true force to be reckoned with. She loves superheroes and ponies — rainbows and magic. She believes in her own power.
Throughout all my life I battled fear and insecurity. I never took the lead. I hid in the shadows. I missed many opportunities.
But not my daughter.
Though she is only 5, I can already see the woman she’ll become. I see her fierce competitiveness raw and unfiltered. I see her empathy for others dawning before me. Her sweetness, her compassion.
My daughter goes and gets what she wants. She blossomed from a painfully shy child into an ambitious go-getter. I’m still not sure exactly how this transformation happened and I’m positive this is only the beginning of the many transformations she will go through in her life.
I know my daughter will face many challenges. Her already intense perfectionism will be shattered by the reality that you can’t always be perfect and that “perfect” doesn’t even exist. Her belief that superheroes like Batman and Superman will swoop down when the “bad guys” come will eventually be shadowed by the sober truth that sometimes the bad guys win and the magic heroes aren’t coming.
My hope for my daughter is that she will find new ways to navigate not being perfect — to accept and love her flaws. My wish is that she’ll find the real, everyday heroes that don’t have the capes. My gut tells me she’ll also be one of them.
I see the absolute beauty in my daughter. Her physical beauty is there, but her mental beauty is what I try to highlight. Am I doing a great job at that? Maybe. I try not to make comments about my own body or put myself down in any way in front of her. With my daughter now being close to 6 years old, I realize I have a long way to go with this.
Will my efforts to build a healthy self-esteem in my daughter pay off? Will she value her talents over her appearance? Will she care more about her self-respect than conforming to what a boy wants her to be like? Will she lose all sense of herself the first time she falls in love? Maybe.
These are the things I worry about. These are the things I carry with me as I prepare her meals, take her to school, watch her in gymnastics class, and see her play.
I noticed my daughter catching a glimpse of herself in the mirror recently. She doesn’t usually see herself in mirrors. She’s too busy playing or making up imaginary stories. But I saw her pause when she gazed at her own reflection. What did she see? Did she see strength? Did she see beauty? Did she see flaws?
I’ll never really know. Her journey has begun. I’m simply a guide who has the ability to give her a positive example and try to mold her sense of confidence in this world.
The rest will be up to her.
The rest will come when my daughter grows into a big kid, a teen, and an adult. A woman.
What kind of woman will she be? I have a pretty good guess. But ultimately that path will be hers. And I know she’s going to run that path as hard as she can.
(This is dedicated to my phenomenal daughter, Natasha & to every other parent out there trying their very best)
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