Today, as my daughters start challenging semesters at two colleges, I find myself thinking about strength and where it comes from, how we instill it in our kids, how it can elude us at times.
I’m a little sad. I’m sad that the house is quiet and that my girls are all grown up. I’m sad that it isn’t so easy to kiss away the bumps and bruises anymore.
I’m proud. I’m proud that I have raised young women who are learning how to stand on their own, finding ways to persevere when it isn’t easy (is it ever easy??), learning to rely on me less as they find their footing and replace my strength with theirs.
I’m worried. Do we EVER stop worrying (rhetorical question…I know the answer)? As they have gotten older, I’ve learned that despite all of my best efforts and my sheer determination that they would not have to struggle or make mistakes or fail, that my efforts were foolish and misguided. I’ve learned that struggles and mistakes and failures are the building blocks of strength. As I have watched them overcome, I see uncertainty being replaced with determination, insecurity replaced by new truths. I look back on my own life and understand that the best parts of who I am were born from failure. The fires of my biggest trials refined me. My mistakes made me more compassionate. Giving up taught me the most important lessons about patience. All of my past struggles better prepared me to help them through theirs.
Today I give them my love and my blessing. May they know the truth of who they are, may they silence the negative lies that they sometimes tell themselves. May they give each day the best that they have to give. May they give themselves permission to feel authentically even the bad stuff. May they have the strength to move forward when feeling overwhelmed, even if it is just one step. May they offer their unique brands of light into the world and to those who surround them, whether briefest acquaintance or most bonded friend. May they allow themselves to savor every triumph, no matter how small or big. May they see all the possibility ahead. May they see the beacon in the darkness when times are tough, so they can always find their way home. May they know that no matter how close or far away, my heart is bound tightly to theirs, a bridge that no distance is too far to cross.
May they have peace and know that they are exactly where they are supposed to be. May they have wisdom to see what is next and faith in themselves to see the infinite possibility that awaits them.
May they use moments of quiet to make sense of the world.
May they know how deeply and infinitely they are loved.