An open letter to my daughter.

My beautiful amazing young woman.  You are perfect, just as you are.  You are brave, smart, loving, fun, spontaneous, beautiful, and kind.  I am proud of you.  I love you.

I am terrified for you.

You are turning into a woman.  You will soon have more and more freedom in your life, and while I know you are smart and thoughtful and will do your best to make good choices, I also know you are kind and generous, and may be mislead by the people in your life.

I know that the world holds opportunities and pitfalls, heroes and villians, teddy bears and monsters.

I can no longer protect you from life.  I cannot wrap you in my arms and make it go away with a kiss and a chocolate.  Now you begin to face the real world.  You will begin to see the harshness in addition to the beauty, the pain in addition to the joy.

Now the growing pains begin in earnest.

There is no way for me to stop you from embracing life and all the bruises that follow.  All I can do is promise you this:

I will speak openly and honestly with you about topics that embarrass us both so I may better fit you with appropriate weapons for your future battles.  I will not let discomfort prevent me from sharing with you the knowledge I gained from my own encounters.  I will hand down my armor in the clearest way possible.

I will keep the lines of communication open.  I will let you know that nothing you share with me will ever make me stop loving you, and I will reinforce the fact that there is nothing you can’t tell me.  Tell me anything, tell me everything.  I would rather know it all and be in a position to help you through it, than blindly fumble in the dark while you suffer.

I will not judge you.  I will worry about you.  I will work hard to make you understand the difference.  I will listen to your troubles and talk with you to help you make the decision that is best for who you are, not who I am.  If I get angry or sad about what you tell me, I will let you know the source of that anger or sorrow, and I will not let it get in the way of helping you. I will continue to love you and to listen.

The world is full of sharp and dangerous places.  I can’t stop you from wandering into them.  My parents couldn’t stop me.  All they could do was listen.  All anyone can do is provide you with a soft place to land when the sharpness cuts too deeply.

Let me be your soft landing place.  Let me be the place you run to heal.

I love you.

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