My daughter is 3 years old. It’s an amazing age. Amazingly fun, amazingly tiring, amazingly inspiring, and amazingly confusing. I love this stage of life she is in, and I want her to hang onto all of her amazingness that she so fully embodies right now. So, to my 3 year old daughter when she is an adult….
Dear Future Adult Daughter,
1. Be Comfortable.
I want you to be comfortable, just as you are now. I want you to wear the mismatched shoes, if they feel better. Wear them with a dress, wear them with whatever you want. You define your own style. Don’t wear the stiletto heals if they feel terrible. Even as a 3 year old, you tell me that my high heels “feel funny” and you immediately remove them. Get those things off, and go for the hiking boots, if that’s what you like. Don’t wear bras that pinch, or jeans that are too tight, and don’t sleep in satin pajamas if they make you sweat.
2. Only Eat Things that are “Good”
By this I mean eating something that fuels your body, your soul, or both. If greasy pizza will fuel your soul, don’t soak off the grease. Just eat it in all of its glory, and don’t skimp. Eat things that are good for you in some way. Eat the whole cupcake if it’s one of those days. Eat things that make you feel good. The end all of feeling “good” isn’t the scale you step on. You love cheese. The look on your face when you eat cheese makes it worth it for anyone who watches you eat it. Hold onto your love of good food. Nobody likes picky eaters, and nobody likes people who are so fanatical about what they eat that they lose the joy of eating. Stay just as you are and eat things that are “good”… for you.
3. Appreciate Your Body
I hope as an adult, you are as confident in your own skin as you are now. Wear those crazy clothes, strut your stuff, and show that beautiful self-confidence that I see in you every day. Somewhere between 3 and 30, some women lose that appreciation for their own body. Don’t lose it. Appreciate what you have. Love that body, because it’s the only one you’ve got. When you have a daughter of your own, I hope you let her see that you love your body. Talk positively about your body, less about dieting, and for goodness sakes, don’t tell her that you’re fat and need to be skinny. Help her with her own body image, as I am trying to do for you. These vessels that we are given to use on earth are pretty amazing. Always remember that.
4. You Don’t Need Lots of Friends, Just Good Ones
Somewhere between being a toddler and being an adult, you find it necessary to have lots of friends. At some points in life, it seems that to be accepted and to fit in, you need a large circle of friends. Right now, I love that you don’t want that. You choose your friends with so much thought, oh wise little one. You observe, you figure people out, and you decide who is in your corner and who isn’t. It amazes me that at only 3 years old, you innately know how to do this. Not everyone is your friend, but those who care about you and love you, you hold close to your heart. I want this also for you as an adult. Choose your friends wisely, just as you do now. It is better to have a few close friends than a crazy circus full of monkeys.
I hope you have a craft room full of similar disasters and memories as you have now. Get out the glue, paint, stamps and glitter. Go nuts. Never stop creating, never stop doing, and never stop making a big, fun mess. I love getting messy with you. I love that my home is full of glitter that will likely never go away. Every time I see it, I think of you and your wild and creative spirit. Never lose that spirit of yours. It’s amazing.
6. Thrive on Positive Feedback
You have grown up in a household of positive reinforcement. Rather than recognizing faults and wrong doings, we have always believed in praising the positive things you do. You thrive on positivity now, and you will probably thrive on it later. Surround yourself with people who are positive, who see the best in you, and who give you positive feedback. Learn to accept constructive criticism, but always thrive on positive feedback. The same excitement I hear in your voice when you say “I DID IT,” I would love to hear in your voice as an adult. Give yourself and others positive feedback, just as you do now.
7. Love Your Sister
Yes, I know at first it seemed like we shattered your one woman show by bringing your sister into the world. After a lengthy adjustment period, you warmed up. I am happy to say that I have never seen you love someone like you love your sister. Long after your Dad and I are gone, you will hopefully always have your sister. A friend to count on when there is nobody in your corner, someone to travel with, someone to cry with, someone to share the amazing joys with that this life has to offer. Right now, you call your sister “sweetheart.” “Here is your toy, sweetheart.” “It’s okay, sweetheart.” “Your sister is here, sweetie.” You say these things in the sweetest and most gentle voice. You love her, and it is obvious. I hope you always take care of each other.
8. Be Empathetic
You are the most empathetic tiny human I have ever known. You notice when someone looks sad and you ask them why. You have done that since you were not even 2 years old. You notice tone of voice, inflections, body position, and so many other things that many do not. You have more empathy than many adults, and you truly care about everything. Just today you said, “awwww, poor vacuum. He’s tired after all that carpet cleaning. I think he feels sad and needs a paci and a bottle.” When I say you care about everything, I mean everything, inanimate or not. Never stop caring. Never stop listening to people and trying to understand how they are feeling. Keep your thoughtful, gentle, sweet spirit alive always, and use that spirit to help people who need it. I know you will, empathetic daughter of mine.
9. You Deserve to Be Loved, Completely and Forever
One of my biggest hopes for you as an adult is that you love yourself, and you are loved. The love that I have for you grows every day. I loved you before you were born, and I love you even more now. It’s difficult as a Mom to describe the amount of love you have for your children. Know that as an adult, you deserve to be loved. A lot. Always. Completely. And forever. Don’t settle for less than that. The only way to truly love someone else is to first love yourself. Always love YOU, because you are beautiful.
10. Advocate for Yourself
As a 3 year old, you are a great advocate for yourself. You always make sure you get what you want, when you want it, and you have the most creative reasoning skills on the planet. You think you are stylish, creative, funny, smart and witty, and I agree, you most definitely are. You believe you should have the blue lego instead of the green one, just because you prefer it and you like it. You will do all it takes to get that blue lego instead of the green one. When we become adults, we sometimes lose our ability to advocate for ourselves for whatever reason and we can become passive. We don’t fight for what we want or believe, and we aren’t advocates for ourselves. Maybe we don’t want to come across as arrogant or cocky, but instead we sit back and watch things as they are taken from us, people get things we believe we should have gotten, or we think we don’t deserve something as much as someone else. My sweet girl, you deserve everything. Believe in yourself, advocate for yourself, and don’t let life pass you by. Take that 3 year old spunky spirit along with you into adulthood. Your wants matter, your needs matter, and unless you are happy with yourself and where you are, you can’t be an advocate for anyone else.
My 3 year old daughter, I wish for you to take all of your truths and convictions you have now into adulthood. Keep exploring, wondering, creating, imagining and playing. Most of all, I hope you always love yourself as much as I love you.