My first born daughter, my whole heart and soul, it has taken me four years to wrap my mind around your spirit, acknowledge and be okay that it came directly from me, and resolve to work with it, instead of accidentally breaking it. Here is what I commit in my heart to you.
You are the daughter I have, want, and love, and I accept every part of you.
We will get through the ages, stages, and phases when this drive of yours is toughest – maybe not all with grace, but we will learn from every struggle. Together.
I promise to celebrate the times when you thrive, and you lift the rest of us up, because of your dedication to doing things your own way.
You will know and feel my love for YOU more than you will feel my disappointment or frustration in your behavior.
I will not compare you to your siblings (or any other children) because you are different; you are beyond and more, for better and worse. We celebrate differences in our family, instead of counting them against each other.
Your strong will and unique needs are a part of your very core. I will not diminish you by apologizing to others for your nature; I will help guide you toward behavior that requires fewer apologies.
I vow to separate (as much as possible) my feeling about you from my feelings about myself. We are similar, but not the same person. You are not responsible for my errors, nor doomed to repeat them.
Most of all, I commit to finding renewed patience for you every day. It can be hard, with a spirited child, to maintain the level of empathy a parent has for another child. But you deserve it, my little love. When your actions are frustrating, harmful, and hurtful they are showing me how you feel. I will meet you there, love you wherever you are, and help you through.
I know all the labels and buzzwords people will use to describe you: spirited, wild, challenging, defiant, out of control, difficult, misbehaved, or unruly. Spirited sounds kinder and gentler to me, gives me insight to your temperament, and hopefully takes up enough space to rule out the other labels.
While your intensity and inability to conform makes some parenting moments truly suck, you are a future world leader, an innovator, a dreamer. You are strong, larger than life, and the world will have to adjust to you as much as you adjust to it. I am forever in love with your spirit, and future proud of where it will take you.