I couldn’t stop worrying about her hair. We were having some mummy-daughter photos taken, but her hair was a mess. She wouldn’t let me brush it and I didn’t want to have a fight in front of the photographer so I tried really hard to ignore it and hoped the photos turned out ok.
And then I saw the photos. Straight away I realised how stupid I’d been.
She looks incredible. She looks wild and happy. She looks like her. The little girl I want her to be. The little girl I love most of all.
Why would I care so much about her hair? What for? I was so annoyed that I’d even given it a second thought, like what her hair looked like was important at all.
I might be a feminist and I know all the things I’m supposed to say and do to raise my strong girl, but as it turns out, I still have 37 years of cliched expectation to undo in myself. It hurt my heart to think I might be responsible for making her think she needs to be flawless to be accepted.
So I wrote her a letter. To remind her AND myself what really matters.
I’ll never say you’re perfect (no one ever is).
Because there is no ‘standard’ you’d ever need to meet to be worthy in my eyes.
I don’t want perfection. I want YOU.
I love you exactly as you are right now. I love who you’ve been and I already love who you’ll become.
You’d never need to change anything about yourself to make me love you more.
But if you changed, I would love you still.
And if you broke, I would love all the tiny pieces of you until you stitched yourself back together again. And then I’d love your patchwork soul.
If the whole world turned against you, I would be right here, loving you exactly as you are.
I love your sass, I love your fire. I love your peace, your compassion and your kindness. I love your funny, your crazy and your weird. I love your face and your heart and your soul.
Baby girl, please hear this: you don’t have to be careful. You don’t have to be quiet or calm, you don’t have to be neat and tidy. You don’t need to be ‘pretty’ or sweet’. You don’t need to be anybody’s dress-up doll or a goddamn ‘good girl’.
You are way too magic to fit inside a box.
Be WILD, my daughter, be loud. Explore, have adventures, climb trees and mountains. Take risks, TAKE UP ROOM.
Say no when you want, say yes when you want, try new things. Wear what you like, say what you think, be proud of yourself for winning and laugh at and learn from your failures.
SHINE. Never apologise for it. Never make yourself small for someone else.
Hold on to your wild, my darling. Keep it and use it and never let it go. The world will tell you to leave it behind as you grow but your wild is your strength and you’re going to need it.
I’m telling you this now because sometimes I might forget how to be the mother you need… because I’m not perfect either.
But I’ve never wanted to try so hard at anything in my life.
Because you, baby girl, were born with the fire, and I will be your oxygen.
P.S Also, while we’re here, not to stifle your spirit or anything, but eating your dinner and going to sleep with less fuss would be super helpful, ta xx
First published on Instagram
Photos taken by Amanda Thorson from Thorson Photography as part of a series on Mothers and Daughters.