being me

A Letter To My Bad Day Daughter

Dear Thea,

You don’t know how often my heart breaks for you.  How often I want to fix the world.  How often I want to shake you a little, make you realize what your words do to others.  Don’t you see that sometimes the things we say in a moment of anger shows people how we feel more than any other action?  Don’t you see that sometimes when all you see is bad in a day, it was really filled with good?

For as many years as I can remember, you have wanted friends so badly.  Wanted kids that would pick you to play with, to pick you for rest time, pick you for their game.  You often get picked, but sometimes not fast enough, and other times not at all. I see myself in you, that sometimes lonely child, desperate to be liked, often feeling left out even if you truly weren’t.  I see myself in you and my heart breaks a little.  You see, you have to be a friend to all.  You have to learn to control your emotions, not lash out in big words when you don’t get your way.  Learn how to play what others want to play.  Learn to be fun to be around.  You cannot always get your way, you don’t at home, so why do you expect it at school?  I learned all of this the hard way, I wish you wouldn’t have to.

So when you get in the car every day after school and I ask you how today went, I always hold my breath a little.  I hope that today is the day you tell me only good.  Only about all of the fun you have had.  All of the incredible things you have gotten to do.  Not the people who made you mad.  Not the people who didn’t want to play.  I know it makes you sad, and I know you don’t understand.  “Why won’t they play with me, mama?” you ask, and I swallow hard and take a breath.

As your mama, my job is to teach you the world.  My job is to help you find happiness, help you grow, help you be the kind of person who spreads love wherever they go.   But I cannot be there to solve everything, I cannot whisper in your ear when your emotions tell you to yell.  In a way I am glad I can’t, because you have to learn, but whoever knew how hard it would be to not be able to fix everything.  To not be the fixer.

I knew being your mom would change me.  I knew my life would be so much better.  I knew I had a big job to do, but I never guessed how hard it would be to let go.  To send you to school.  To hope for a good day and not a bad.  To hope that we had done our job as parents.  To hope that you would find the good in all.  You are not there yet, but you will be, some day.  I hope you get there faster than I did.  I hope you find your friends and keep them.  I hope that some day you will find the right words to say rather than the angry ones and you will tell me all about the kids you played with, all about your day.  I hope you stay you, only better.



5 thoughts on “A Letter To My Bad Day Daughter”

  1. As a daughter, I remember my mother sharing, years later, how she had cried most mornings after dropping me off at junior high because I hated going to school. I loved the learning part of school; I didn’t love the me that was going to school because I didn’t fit in and felt I had no friends. As a mother, my daughter and I faced other struggles as she went through her school years. Many times, I would cry away from her, cry myself to sleep, worrying about her and if I was helping in the best way I could. I am happy to report that through much love and prayers, my daughter has grown to be an amazing young woman on her way to becoming a teacher. As for myself, I also survived. Today, having gone through the struggles I did, I would like to believe has made me a much more compassionate middle school teacher for my students.

  2. As a mom of three daughters, I totally identify! As an educator and school administrator I admire that you want your daughter to learn and experience on her own – even when your heart is breaking! Kudos to you! You are one great role model!

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