It was a really great summer. Professionally, but mostly, personally. Lots of great family and friend time. Laughs, vacations and visits. And lots of time to reflect on the amazing people in my life. My daughter has been on my mind a lot this summer and, per usual, I’ve written it down.
You see, we have this son. His name is Ryan. And I’ll make no apologies for saying that he’s cute. Straight up adorable. People stop me on the street to let me know. It’s always been that way. He’s funny, kind and a great conversationalist at the ripe old age of 6. He’s infectious. If you’ve met him, you know what I mean.
AND we also have this amazing daughter. Her name is Casey and she’s a few weeks shy of 9. For as long as she’s been aware, she’s seen everyone she knows fawn over how cute her brother is. How you could “just eat him up.” From teachers and adult friends of ours to teenagers and even her own peer group.
Henny and I are not at all oblivious to the fact that although extremely beautiful and wonderful in every way possible, she’s older and people are likely going to be making a fuss over him for a long time. This is not to say people don’t ever fuss over her. They do. But Ryan tends to garner a little more attention. It is what it is. And one of the things that make her so unbelievably amazing is that she seems to have accepted it for what it is. She’s poised, elegant, funny, happy and possesses a level of grace probably rather rare for her age.
I’ve seen all of this for a while now but was never quite sure when she would truly understand what I felt I needed to say to her. That time just came. She and I walked hand in hand to the store to get some things while on our beach vacation in August. I told her that I was very aware of what a big deal people make about Ryan. She nodded in understanding. I then proceeded to tell her about all of the wonderful things people say directly to Henny and I about what a lovely young lady she is becoming. And although she did love hearing that, I most wanted her to know what I, personally, felt and what I see everyday.
Casey has experienced a lot over the last few years. Unfortunately girl “BS” starts at a very young age and continues. For. A. Long. Time. We’ve had a lot of tough conversations about what she is experiencing, what she can expect and how she ought to handle herself in certain situations. She listens and truly makes an effort to see these situations with empathy and a clear understanding that very rarely, if at all, are they about her. She tries very hard, even when it hurts, to follow the Golden Rule.
And then this summer we made the move from one swim club to another. Both kids loved the previous pool but were excited to join the new one and to be on a new swim team with so many people they already knew. But it was still a change and she had to navigate relationships that had existed long before she came along. Not always easy but most certainly worth it. And they both had a great summer.
That day when we walked together at the shore, I made it very clear that her father and I, and so many others, are in awe of the manner in which she conducts herself. I told her she’s genuine, elegant, intelligent and an absolute joy to be around. She beamed with such pride and I knew it had been the perfect time for this mother/daughter chat.
Daughters are tough for their moms because we want to shield them from every difficult thing we went through and we want to scream at the top of our lungs when we cannot do that. But what we can do is provide them the tools to handle themselves with grace, build them up when their confidence needs a boost, and hold them when it hurts. Casey may not have the same type of fuss made about her as her cutie-pie little bro, but I feel confident she knows that she’s every bit as amazing. And we will do our best to make sure she’s reminded often.