Letter to My Girl

27 Sep

Dear Daughter,

Did you wonder last night what I was trying to say? Between the beeps on your iPad and the plucks you made on the thick strings of your cello in that half hour we had together – the half hour when we weren’t eating dinner and you weren’t getting ready for bed – did you wonder what I meant by, “I know”?

Did you notice when I said it, or were you focused on the buttered popcorn we ate for dessert?

I am writing this letter to make my meaning plain.

No, I don’t expect you to read it, not now when you’re nine. I will tell you aloud when we have more attention and time.

What I meant. What I mean. What I know.

I know Ana is your friend, your good friend. I know you like to play dress-up and practice who-knows-what-that-I-won’t-like, and talk about her boy crushes and gossip together about girls and boys in your class. I know some of the kids like to say she’s bad. I know she’s also your friend.

I want to know her better because she is your friend.

I know you’re not fond of math.

I know you don’t want to be the shortest kid in your class.

I know you love Mama and me and you’re glad we’re your parents, but that doesn’t always stop you from getting a sinking feeling when someone recognizes you as the kid in fourth grade with two moms. I know you defend us against kids who say ill-informed things. I know there are times, too, when you stay quiet. I know you can’t stand the horrible guilt you feel when you don’t speak your mind.

I know you love art. I see you developing an artist’s eye.

I know your desire to belong is why you joined your friends’ conversation about the teenage boy we saw wearing short shorts and pink shoes. I know, but it doesn’t mean I won’t call you out for suggesting boys can’t wear pink.

I know you love where you were born.

I know you take pride in your birth country and more pride in the country you live in now. I know you feel a divided loyalty sometimes – tiny maybe, barely a flicker – deep inside. I fear it will grow as you mature, and I want it not to. I want to protect you from this, from feeling the need to decide. You don’t need to decide. You can love and claim both places.

No, I don’t know how. Not yet. I hope we can learn together, as we’ve learned so many things.

I know Karyn is your true home still. I know you will share with her what you will share with no one else – not even Ana – even if you don’t know that yet yourself. I know that when it comes time to decide, if it ever comes time to decide, you will make the right choice – even if you have to try and try and try again.

I know you want to make us proud. I know you want to make yourself proud, too.

I know you wish I didn’t know some of these things.

I know you love me. I know I love you.

I know you care for your friends and family. I know you care for yourself. I want you to keep caring, keep loving.

This love and care will take us from here to there. From nine to grown. Happy. Full with life.

I love you very much, my little Peanut, every minute of every day, every step of the way.

With all my heart,



15 Responses to “Letter to My Girl”

  1. Lindsay September 27, 2013 at 7:35 am #

    Beautiful letter. Thank you for sharing it.

    • RoiAnn October 1, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

      Thank you for reading, and making yourself known 🙂

  2. outrunning the storm September 27, 2013 at 8:01 am #


    • RoiAnn October 1, 2013 at 12:57 pm #

      Thank you. Big hug.

  3. Sixtine et Victoire September 27, 2013 at 8:06 am #

    This is a very touching letter to your daughter. She is one lucky girl!

    • RoiAnn October 1, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

      I’m a lucky mom, too, to be able to learn so much from this witty young thing. I sure hope we continue the co-learning far into and beyond her teens 🙂

  4. soudary September 27, 2013 at 9:05 am #

    Such a beautiful letter to your daughter. Relationships are complex and often we don’t get to share every thought we have with our loved ones in any given day, week… year. I especially like that you begin with all the things that are known, versus not.

    • RoiAnn October 1, 2013 at 1:02 pm #

      Thank you, Soudary. I love how I see you parent – and I love that it’s the complexities here that resonate with you. I spend so much time paring down what I mean to say – especially lately, and especially with my sweet precocious girl – but it is the whole of our relationship that fills me – no matter where I shine the light in any given week. I need this reminder. ❤

  5. Anonymous September 27, 2013 at 12:48 pm #

    Wow. you are a great mom. thank you.

    • RoiAnn October 1, 2013 at 1:09 pm #

      Or maybe I just think great mom thoughts 😉 Hopefully, some of these ideas find their way into my daily parenting practice. Some days, I feel they do. Some days, I don’t. But that’s parenting right? Thank you for the support.

  6. joy September 27, 2013 at 4:34 pm #

    So beautiful.

    • RoiAnn October 1, 2013 at 1:09 pm #

      Thank you, my friend. xo

  7. flowerwords October 22, 2013 at 9:30 pm #

    Beautiful. Thank you for the tears. Lucky, lucky girl you have. The world needs more yous ❤

    • RoiAnn October 23, 2013 at 10:05 pm #

      Wow. Thank you. I’m sending you a great big hug!

  8. Tamela April 18, 2014 at 6:48 pm #

    Very nice write-up. I absolutely love this site.
    Keep it up!

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