A few days ago my daughter turned two. She’s still so young, but birthdays remind us all of the passing of time and that, year after year, she will continue to get older – for hopefully many, many years to come.
As parents, we all hope for a long, healthy, happy life for our children. But when I think more specifically, these are some of the things I wish and pray for my little girl.
First – may she always be loved, and always know she is loved. May unconditional love be her anchor and touchstone whenever someone or something tries to tell her she isn’t pretty enough, smart enough, cool enough and funny enough.
And may she know the beautiful tender vulnerability of loving others unconditionally too.
May she have a long childhood and an innocence that is gradually informed, not forever shattered. And during the crazy years of adolescence, may she discover her own strength and voice – not lose herself trying to please others.
May she have the faith and confidence to explore and to test the limits and the boundaries of her own strength – but the caution and good-sense to know not to get in the car with a drunk driver or to play chicken on the highway. (And as her mother I can’t help hoping that her experiments will be more in the realm of hair colour, fashion and sports, and less in the realm of drugs, giant tattoos and cults.)
May she learn generosity, kindness, and empathy by having them offered to her. May she learn to see strength where others see weakness, beauty where others see flaws. May the suffering of others inspire in her compassion, not contempt.
May the inevitable pains of isolation, fear, betrayal and rejection be tempered by the support of close friends and those who love her. May her wounds heal quickly and adversity challenge not defeat her.
And as the years go by, may she remember from time to time the mother who came to her when she cried in the night, who puddle-splashed, finger-painted and belly-tickled her, and who loves her with a love that is deeper than the ocean and fiercer than a lion.