A Letter to My Daughters

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My Sweet Girls,

The other night at the dinner table we were talking about the longevity of friendships. When one of you confessed her sister wasn’t really her BEST friend, I glanced over and saw that one’s joy shatter. Of course you’re both still young and don’t fully understand the power of your words, but I wonder at what age you’ll grasp the power of your relationship.

A friend recently told me “boys mess with your home and and girls with your head”. So true. They also mess with each other’s. In a span of minutes you two can go from moments like the totally unguided ones pictured here, to a hot mess of anger and frustration. You know just the things to do (ahem, B!) and say (at you C!) to press the other’s buttons. I see the dance play out almost daily. Our home is a crazy microcosm and you two a sociological experiment that alternately enthralls and exhausts me.

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I’m no Pollyanna to think our home should be a peaceable kingdom at all times. Sibling rivalry is really formative! Back seat squabbles, pinches and shouting matches with Uncle Seth are a part of who I am and helped me develop into the friend I hoped to be.

Here’s the thing. Love begins at home.¬†Until you enter the school of marriage and parenting (life’s biggest instructors), it will only be a fragile veneer of friendship and civility you can offer others if you don’t wholly love your sister first. Your sister shares your genetics, your upbringing, your environment – even ONE of those makes you two have more in common with each other than with anyone else in the world! Your friendships throughout life will be a veritable salad bar compared to the kale and spinach you are together. (Eat your vegetables!) If you can’t embrace the differences in each other, every other friend will fall short of your personal ideal. This is SO important – you’re not the measuring stick.

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In sisterhood as in a happy life, you’re called upon to practice a little self-forgetfulness. Your wants, your needs will only grow in epic proportion if you don’t put another’s first. So listen long and love hard. Embrace the differences – don’t run from them. Revel in the other’s God-given talents, don’t compete with them. Fight and make up. Love and let go. There’s no relationship you’ll have for as long, so fight for it – not against it.

I do love watching the two of you at play. Sometimes the house will be so still and quiet, I won’t even know where the two of you are. Then I’ll find you in another world – tucked together on a bed playing dolls, speaking a sister-language all your own. I’ve learned to hide myself and watch silently – preventive medicine for the next brawl. You speak in hushed tones and position your bodies closely in such a way as to communicate you don’t want to be disturbed. I listen to the series of compromises you make as the dolls’ adventures unfold and my heart is heartened that you’re learning valuable skills. My favorite moments are when one of you makes a joke or silly remark that I can’t begin to understand and the other falls back on the bed in fits of laughter.

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I pray your hearts always speak a shared language but speak it often or the vocabulary may slip away.

Your relationship with each other is so very unique. You didn’t choose it – your dad and I chose it for you. Every other relationship in your life will be a conscious decision you make for yourself. We see your sister as our gift to you but, as you know by now, there are no exchanges or returns – EVER. Our heart’s desire is that you’ll keep unwrapping that precious gift one colorful, sparkling layer at a time for the rest of your life. Therein lies a treasure.

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For as long as we’re on this earth, Dad and I will struggle and occasionally flail to bind your hearts together but when our parenting years fold up quietly, you’ll be on your own. The hard work is now. I anticipate seasons when you look to anyone BUT your sister to cling to but when we’re gone, the happiest legacy we can leave are two sisters serving God – united in heart.

All my Love,

Your Mamma

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