A Letter to My Nine-Year-Old Daughter

Author: Rayna Charles

Dear wonderful, beautiful, amazing you,

Today is your first day of fourth grade. How did we get here? Every single descriptor of this exact moment in time from other moms and dads who have danced the same dance we are in is true; the last nine years have been pure magic. Somehow each day has been long. Sometimes frustratingly, mind-numbingly long, like the day at two-weeks-old when you wouldn’t stop crying no matter what we did, or the weeks we spent wearing a hole in the carpet every night walking you back to your room as you “transitioned” to a big girl bed. Every single day has been long, but oh my little angel, they have literally flown by.

We have now entered, what some have called, the “second half”. In nine short years, you will make the transition into the adult world. While the first half has been mainly focused on making sure you are happy and alive healthy, our job now is to prepare you to eventually leave. The wise parents of yesteryear say this half will be even more difficult than the first. Puberty, hormones, and normal teenage development will render you unrecognizable.

As we enter into this new, a little bit scary, stage of our lives I hope you remember these seven truths:

  1. I will always be there for you. Even if you screw up royally, I will be there to help you figure out a solution. I won’t be able to fix everything life will throw at you but know that you always have my support.
  2. You will always be my little girl. If and when you choose to streak your hair purple, try a new style of clothing, or change in ways I cannot fathom today, I will always remember exactly what you looked like as a sleeping baby who fit just so in my arms.
  3. As the center of your universe changes and you begin to assert your independence, remember you are the center of mine. No matter where you go or what you do I will always worry if you are safe, if you are happy, if you need anything. This is why I will ask countless questions, some of which you will not want to answer. Forgive me, I will ask anyway.
  4. You can talk to me about anything. Boys, girls, sex, drugs, there is no topic that affects you that I don’t want to know about. I will have my opinions, I might even have to step in to strongly guide you back on the right path but you will always have my ear when you need it.
  5. I am not perfect and I will make mistakes. As you get older these mistakes will be bigger than the ones I’ve already made, like the time I thought your newborn face was a little dry and I slathered you with petroleum jelly (baby acne, anyone?). Some of my mistakes will hurt you, just as some of your mistakes will hurt me too. I am sorry.
  6. The bond between us may stretch but it will never break. As the opinions of your peers become more important and the use of “seriously mommy?” increases, know that this time of challenge between us is temporary. I know someday my opinion will matter most to you in the world and that you will be happy to see me again. If you don’t believe me, ask grandma.
  7. I will always love you. There is nothing you can ever do to change how I love you. This is fixed as time itself. I know there will be times when I don’t like the choices you’ve made but never doubt that you are my heart outside of my body.

I can only hope that the days of this half are as mind-numbingly long as the first. More time to get to know you, more time to enjoy watching you become the amazing woman I know you will be, more time to be a part of your beautiful journey. But experience has made me a little wiser and I know that in a blink I will be looking at my eighteen-year-old daughter. As we walk through this together if you remember nothing else, I hope you remember that you are loved, greatly, fiercely, and without reservation.

Love always,


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