To My Daughter on Her Fourth Birthday: Stay YOU!

This past long weekend I have watched you, my sweet daughter. You have nimbly climbed a tower of cut wood, dug holes in the sand pit, played dinosaurs and sat side-by-side watching videos in the camper with your best “boyfriend”.

Even when you thought I was busy with your brother, I saw you.

I saw you better than I ever have.

Today you turn four. Four years, and you have already accomplished what I have been trying to my entire life.

You know who you are already.

You are you.

Unwavering.

Unapologetic.

While I watched you, the other parents made comments like, “she is so brave, out there with all those boys” and “wow, she is so independent already”. You only came to me when you lost your shoes or your favourite dinosaur.

During this weekend, you struck me like a freight-train.

You won’t be mine for much longer. You will become your best friend’s. Your teacher’s. Your daddy’s. Maybe even your boyfriend’s one day.

And I won’t get you back for a long, long time.

I remember being my mother’s. We watched shows, cuddled under a blanket on the couch and ate popcorn, every single damn day until my first day of school. Even though I was only three and probably watched way more Fred Penner and Polka Dot Door than what would now be considered healthy, those were the moments that made me feel loved the most.

I hope you will remember our moments together like that too.

When I started school, I didn’t know who I was, how to act like a proper girl or what to say – so I mimicked everyone around me. I did what I felt other people would want me to do. I cared about boys far too early in life, and hurt many of them as I didn’t understand the effect of my actions. I was bullied, and I was a bully.

I wasn’t who I wanted to be.

In high school, I still didn’t know who I was. I read horoscopes and read books on personality types, wrote teenage angst-filled poems, shut myself in, drank and smoked and did the odd drug all the while having absolutely no clue who I was.

But I was beginning to understand who I wanted to be.

In University, I knew I didn’t fit in. I cared, but I cared a lot less. I found someone who knew me better than I knew myself. I didn’t have to pretend any more.

He loved me.

Unwavering.

Unapologetically.

And that person helped me finally understand who I am.

A nurse.

A wife.

A mom.

A friend.

That person is your dad, and he is by my side while I still to this day try to sift through the turmoil within me.

Your dad. The one who is always there for you, but who you always hug last. The one who we always joke that you got your stubborn streak from when we all really know it’s from me.

In reality, you got your very best trait from him.

You are you, unwavering and unapologetically so very you, and we are all incredibly lucky for it.

So, to my daughter turning four and going to school this fall all on your very own –

Please don’t change yourself for anyone.

Don’t lose yourself in childish drama, to your relationships, within your own head or to drugs and alcohol.

You are enough.

Take care of yourself.

And try not to forget about your sappy, old, embarrassing mom.

I see you. I will always see you.

And I will be waiting patiently until you come back to me again.

Some day.

TheMamaNurse

Hi! I am a Registered Nurse on a unit that encompasses labour and delivery, postpartum, medical, surgical and palliative care in a rural hospital in Ontario, Canada. I am a mom of two and am passionate about women's rights, mom and infant care, parenting and nursing. I hope to create an educational, entertaining and highly relatable resource for women around the world. Thanks for stopping by! Xo, The Mama Nurse

16 thoughts on “To My Daughter on Her Fourth Birthday: Stay YOU!

  • May 30, 2016 at 8:39 pm
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    From: Dad to my little girl and my stronger then you know wife. This article has brought me to tears so well written BUT ya there is a but, I was always the kid that wanted so badly to fit in and never really did. What I have learned thru the school of hard knocks (which is the way I have done everything) sorry mom and dad. When I was young I had very few friends and of those most moved away. I have always blamed myself for these lost friendships, even though I know now that it was definitely not my fault but as a kid I didn’t understand. I never had the confidence I have now (of course) I was just a kid. Enough of the pity train it’s not me! I have been lucky enough to find my everything in my wife she really is my perfect. If you don’t understand that you will get there someday. We have 2 beautiful children together that are carbon copies of us now and I hope beyond all hope they don’t put themselves through the mental anguish that we put ourselves through. I was never good enough or popular enough to be in the in crowd, I went to the same parties and was accepted as friends with everybody but inside I knew I never fit in. The difference I found out later is that it doesn’t matter. people will take you for what they believe you to be and there is nothing you can do about that so why bother trying to fit in screw them be yourself. While being your self is easy to say and ridiculously hard to do I hope I can teach my kids how not to blame them selves for other people’s problems.

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  • May 30, 2016 at 11:13 pm
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    This is such a touching post! And such great advice for your daughter! I was not born with the gene that lets you pretend you’re something you’re not. Even in high school, I was me through and through. But the unapologetic part has always been my struggle. As you said, I still wasn’t who I wanted to be. And I’m not now either. Maybe we’ll always want to be something we’re not because we want to get rid of the parts of ourselves we don’t like. So we see people whose strengths are our weaknesses and want to be them instead. But maybe their weaknesses are our strengths and they’d gladly trade us back.
    Amber recently posted…To Work or Not to Work Part 2: Taking the Baby to Work With YouMy Profile

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    • June 2, 2016 at 3:21 pm
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      Your comment is so thought-provoking Amber! The inner self is a difficult object to pin-point – and happiness is so relative. I agree with what you say, that the grass can be somewhat greener in that you can wish you had someone else’s personality trait when in reality they could be dealing with something much more difficult that they would gladly trade you for. Life is hard. Being a grown up is hard!

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  • May 31, 2016 at 10:59 am
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    This is such a great post and great message to little girls! If we teach them this at a young age I think they’ll be alright.

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    • June 2, 2016 at 3:18 pm
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      I hope so! It’s hard as parents to let go once they become school-aged.

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    • June 2, 2016 at 3:17 pm
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      Thanks, I considered reading it to her but I think I’ll wait a couple years 😉

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  • June 1, 2016 at 5:15 pm
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    Happy birthday to your daughter. She’s lucky to have a mom like you. I remember my mom gave me the opposite advice when I told her that I wished I could be like this popular girl…she told me to try and copy her! 😉
    lana recently posted…Snapchat Doodle BombsMy Profile

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    • June 2, 2016 at 3:08 pm
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      Thanks Lana <3 It's so interesting, every parent has their own style of parenting!

      Reply

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