My dear, sweet daughter. You, my joyous, talkative, proud, 5 year old fill my heart with love. I firmly believe you to be a gift from God and the epitome of His beautiful image.
Apparently, so do you.
Before you were born, while painting your nursery in bright but delicate colors, I’d dream of you. I would imagine your formative years playing out in front of me. I thought about the kind of mom I wanted to be. The example of a woman I wanted to set. And having struggled with self-confidence myself, I had mentally prepared for the day I’d need to be there to console a pre-teen daughter struggling with her self-image as I did in my own youth.
I thought of all the ways I would portray confidence to set an example for you. Thinking through the cumulative parenting tips I’d read on how to raise confident daughters; don’t talk down to yourself in the mirror, don’t talk about food in a negative way, buy dolls with realistic body sizes just to name a few.
Carefully, I would construct a framework around you that would show you your worth and prop you up when the world inevitably kicks you down.
But not today. Oh, girl, not today, there is no need.
You stand in front of the mirror, combing your hair telling the walls and yourself how beautiful you are. How you have the “most gorgeous” hair. It’s the “longest, prettiest, blondest hair.” I stand in the doorway, admiring you and repeating those words silently to myself, chuckling quietly at the thought of how badly I wish I could tell myself that same thing while keeping a straight face.
“Mom, I’m the strongest and the fastest.” “No one can beat me.”
“Really? That’s awesome.”
“Mom, did you know I’m the smartest?”
“Is that so?”
Pure, uncorrupted confidence.
But when others pay you compliments, your response elicits laughs:
“Tazzy, you’re so beautiful.”
“Yeah, I know.”
I gently remind you we should say “Thank you” rather than “I know.” But I’m simultaneously wondering if I should just let it go, my girl. Let you continue to traverse your world without redirection for fear of inadvertently introducing self-conscientiousness to you. The world, I reason, will humble you. I should support you.
In reality, navigating the fine lines of building confidence, but not arrogance is more nuanced than I could have imagined. In the end I pray you’ll be balanced.
But for today, I’ll relish the example you set for me.
I’m the strongest, fastest, smartest, most beautiful woman in the world, just like my daughter.