To My Daughter,
When the teacher told me you ‘weren’t doing well, you weren’t focused, you weren’t staying on task and it was troublesome’, I wanted to bleep out her voice or push a button that would make her words fall empty in silence. I wanted those words to bounce off of your ears and roll back down her throat.
When I saw the look on your face of hiding, or fear of disapproval, I wanted to steal you away. I would kick the teacher in the leg, tear up your paperwork of negative checks and liberating-ly toss them in the air. I wanted to whisk you away.
When you said you can’t run as fast as everyone else, I wanted to make sure you never ran in PE again. Id write a note of dismissal to the principal or pick you up for ice cream every day at that time. Id tie ropes around the kids who ran faster so that you could win.
Maybe I’ll take you away and move you to the far off woods where no teacher or student can hurt you. I would teach you about the forgiving trees and the wind that seems careless about your reading abilities and judge-less to how quickly you can trace in cursive. You could run with the leaves falling from the sky and you would win every time.
I want to lock you in my arms and shield you from the bad, the ugly, and the reality of the world. I fight this urge for a while and feel God’s words welling up in me- to calm my anger, to release some control, to remember you are not just mine…
I barely hold my tongue from unrealistically overreacting to the outside world around you.
Im realizing no matter how seriously I want to, I can’t move you, whisk you, or hide you away forever- I must prepare you, I must fight for you here.
We dance, we do art projects, we make up stories and I compliment you for being creative, smart, and a talented artist. I send letters, make calls, and find the people to help us get further down that road.
Tell me three things you did amazing at school today. If you failed, its ok, I only want to hear the good. When the naysayers start to dauntingly fill your eyes and ears with criticisms or defeat, and you find yourself starting to believe the dark side drenched in words like worthlessness, fearful, and not enough…remember these things:
You are smart, kind, generous and good.
You were made for a purpose by a God who loves you no matter how bad some say you fail and by parents who think you are the most amazing thing to walk this earth. You are good even if others say you are not, or don’t know how to judge your greatness. You are smart, even when someone makes you feel dumb. Your worth is not measured by how you perform or how you succeed.
We will grow through this together- I will do the fighting, but you keep trying to fly in your own, beautiful, way.
You are smart, kind, generous, and good, my daughter.