Last night I stumbled across a blog post titled, “Dear Boys, we protect those who are smaller.” When you’re old enough, I suggest you read that letter as well as this one. I’ll print a copy to place in the book I’ve been making for you since you were born. You know the one. It’s small and purple with silver elephants on it, and it’s filled with family stories and poems written just for you.
Dear Daughter, I love you no matter what
Right now, you’re very young, and you’ve given me a challenge this year that I never expected. Your dad and I have been trying to teach you boundaries which means tempering a few of the qualities that I love about you. You’re independent, strong-willed, friendly and you know how to stick up for yourself. You have no idea how much I want you to retain these qualities, and it pains me every time I have to discipline you for doing just that. But it’s also important for you to learn that there are times to follow directions, there are times to stay within physical boundaries and there are people you should not approach even just to say, ‘hello.’
You probably won’t remember this when you’re older, but I hope you’ll remember the lesson we were trying to teach. Just last week, Dada gave you a spanking (which is rare) because he wanted to impress upon you just how dangerous your actions were to yourself. You were in your room for some quiet time because you don’t always take a nap anymore. You dad was tired too, and he fell asleep. A short time later, he woke and went to check on you. Your door was closed, but you were not in your room. He went downstairs to find the back door open and you and the dog both outside. You were across the way talking to some neighbors who were grilling out. Then you told him you had also taken his turtles (Russian tortoises) outside for a walk. He checked and saw that one was now back, but the other was indeed missing. He took you back outside to show him where you’d put the tortoise. You showed him the clump of grass under which you had buried Julius. He was relieved to see the animal was alive and well since the riding mower at our town home was being employed at that very moment. What you did that day was wrong on so many levels.
Daughter, you are so smart, and you know the rules. Yes, you really do. You know you’re not allowed to leave your room during your short nap/quiet afternoon break. You know you’re not ever allowed to leave the house without an adult. You know you’re allowed to look at but not touch the tortoises. This last rule is more tricky. I’ve been trying to teach you which strangers are “safe” to talk to. The neighbors across the way probably are, and though I’ve spoken with them on occasion, I’ve never introduced you to them. Therefore, you should not have approached them on your own unless you were lost or hurt and could not find me or your dad. I know that’s complicated!
Daughter, we want to see all the qualities that you displayed above. More than anything, we want you to be safe and happy. The other day, you did many things right. You let the dog out–she probably convinced you she needed to go. You put your shoes on before you went outside. You were courteous and friendly to the neighbors. You didn’t cross the street. On a more gut level, you scared the crap out of us!
I hope, as we guide you through childhood and into adulthood that you will retain your fierce independence and that you will continue to be caring and kind, loving and giving. At the same time, I want you to learn that there are times when it is more than okay to be selfish which means to look out just for you. Eventually, you will date. Whoever you fall in love with, I want you to love yourself first, and no matter how much you love someone else, I want you to keep yourself safe: physically and emotionally. Don’t ever let someone else touch you in ways that make you uncomfortable. If anyone ever does that, speak up right away, and if they persist, do whatever it takes to make them stop. Yes, that does include, hitting, kicking, screaming, gouging at their eyes, etc. And then tell someone else. Do not ever be ashamed if someone else does something to violate you, be angry and fight back. Speak out, don’t hide. Take back control because you are precious, and you are worth it.
Why must I tell you these things? Because there are people in the world who are not kind and who are not going to look out for your best interests. There are some truly sick people such as the man who kidnapped three women. The only way I know to protect you from people like that is to make you aware of the dangers in this world and to teach you how to protect yourself.
I second what the mom who wrote the “Dear Boys” blog post said. If you ever find yourself in a tough situation or see that someone else needs help, even if it’s because you broke some of the rules we set for you, please please PLEASE do not hesitate to call us. I will not ever mind coming to pick you up from anywhere at 2 in the morning if you’re in trouble, no matter how you got to that point and no matter what happened as a result. I will be there if you call for me.
I hope you will continue to be loving and kind, friendly and accepting of others, fiercely independent and strong-willed, even if that means making decisions I disagree with. Stand up for what you know in your heart is right, stand up for others and stand up for yourself, always.
I say this to you often, and I’ll say it again right here for the world to see. “I love you, Daughter. I always will. No matter what.”