Close your eyes.
Picture a child careening through a field of daisies. Laughing, arms outstretched in front of her, heedless of any distractions, single minded in her pursuit.
Her giggles float on the air and you catch them in your ears as you shake your head and wonder what it would be like to be so free.
Her hair streams out behind her, gleaming in the sun. She is chasing butterflies, clapping her hands together in a frantic attempt to try and capture one, not succeeding, but not caring either.
It is a game.
She suddenly stops, turns and begins dashing towards you as something has occurred to her, a question she must ask you.
You squat down, arms extended, ready to receive her small body in your arms and look her directly in the eyes.
She runs pell-mell into your embrace and you hold her close, breathing in the clean scent of her hair, feeling her soft cheek next to yours. She leans in and whispers a question.
Why isn’t the world made of chocolate?
You chuckle, surprised. Squeeze her and she squirms, pushing her small hands against your shoulders to lean back and inspect your expression.
You study her, noting the natural glint of curiosity in her eyes, the tilt of her head, the expectant set to her mouth in anticipation of your answer as she studies you, eye to eye, waiting for your reply.
Now. Open your eyes.
She is You.
Treat her tenderly, hold her gently.
Keep her dreams intact for as long as you can.
Chase the monsters out from under her bed at night, and leave the night light on if she needs it.
Don’t laugh at her questions, even if the world tells you they are preposterous.
Attend to her hopes and dreams without scoffing.
Defend her against the bullies, bringing light to her world as she cries alone in the dark, asking why?
Advocate for her rights, defending her at all costs, even in the face of authority.
Give her the freedom she needs to explore the unexpected.
Show her the mercy she requires when she makes a mistake.
Don’t shame her. Don’t laugh at her clothes, food choices, grammar mistakes, or routines that give her comfort.
Express your admiration for her talents, and don’t try to turn supposed ‘weaknesses’ into ‘strengths.’
Hold her when she cries.
Allow her laughter to burst forth without a warning glance or a shush.
Encourage her to explore her gifts, even if they are unconventional and don’t “make money.”
Don’t tell her she must have a back-up plan for being an artist, a musician, a writer or an actor.
Let her know that taking care of herself is productive, and that a bubble bath is ok, even if it’s not on her 'to do' list.
Don’t suppress her voice when she has an idea to share.
Listen. And then listen some more, sitting in quiet so you can hear her small voice.
Remember she’s not a problem to fix, and sometimes she just needs to cry.
Don’t tell her who to love.
Tuck her in each night, breathing ‘thank you’ for the day she gave you.
Above all, please remember to tell her you love her, no matter what.
Hold her close and never let her go.
Remember, She is You.