As I watch her walk along the sand in front of me, I wonder about my Daughter’s footsteps into her future.
She doesn’t walk in mine, and nor would I want her to. But I created her, and I must show her the way.
Because of my own footsteps, I can teach her differently. Because I strayed off the path, I can recognise the signs. Because, once, I hated myself, I can fill her up with my love. Because, once, I hated my body, I can teach her to love hers. Because I never thought I could do anything, I can encourage her to try everything. Because I needed to measure up, I can teach her to ignore judgement from others. Because I was never good enough, I can remind her to always do her best.
In a world that places so much pressure on our children, I can teach her to be grounded. I can teach her to take responsibility, and I can teach her to be self-aware.
I can teach her as best I know how, to prepare her for her adult life. I can invest in my parenting techniques to teach her how to know her boundaries. I can ignore the fourteen year old tantrums and embrace her insights into humanity. I can make light of the drama and emotion to stop the momentum. I can sacrifice being a friend right now, to become her closest in years to come.
I can watch her make mistakes, and be there to catch her in the fall. I can celebrate her joys and successes and be the loudest cheerleader from the sidelines.
I will quietly walk beside her, observing, guiding and admiring the young woman she is becoming. I recognise parts of me in her, but she is a more evolved mirror of my younger self.
Her passion, determination, strength and resilience that shines through fills me with joy. The foundations are there, it will be up to her now. I have done my best. I have to let go, just a little. But all the while, watching, waiting, guiding, and cheering from the sidelines.
At times, apparently I know nothing. At times I am on the receiving end of that acidic teenage venom. At times I am the enemy. At times, I am not the perfect parent. At times, I fail her. Sometimes, I can’t be all for her. And sometimes, my heart hurts for her but I cannot fix it.
She has been through more than a teenage girl should have. In her short life, she has embraced the many lessons that have been presented to her. Life, death, trauma and lack. Unimaginable for some. And yet, she is brave, strong and shines light wherever she goes.
As I imagine her future, I know there will be heartbreak, disappointments and setbacks. I cannot protect her from those times to come that will try to wear her down. I can only continue to observe, guide and cheer her on.
I will never judge. Who am I to do that?
She deserves the safety and security of my love and support, no matter what.
The day will come, when she may not need me so much. She might not want to ask my thoughts and opinions. And that is ok. She will be ok.
For now, I will love her fiercely with my own strength, resilience and compassion. The future will come, faster than we realise.
My Daughter’s footsteps may be the same size, but they will never make the same pattern as mine. And for that, I am grateful…