Clara has taught me a whole heck-of-a-lot about myself in the short six months she’s been with me, longer if we’re including womb-time.
(But this is not the post where I’m going to list it all.)
One of the things I’ve learned about myself is that the simple, yet thought-provoking question, “What would I tell Clara?” can answer most of my inner-conflicts and help me make a quick decision about what to do.
I honestly think I give Clara better advice to her hypothetical questions and situations than I give myself. For example, if she were to tell me, “Mom, so-and-so told me I’m not pretty/nice/funny/popular/etc”, it would be so easy for me to respond,”‘Don’t worry about what those people say about you! If someone doesn’t say something nice about you, it’s okay because your family knows you the best and we love you just as you are – not everyone will like everything about you and that’s okay!”
But of course if someone says something negative about me I let it go straight to my core.
Or if Clara were to ask me whether she should take a risk I would say”‘Of course! You only live once and you should really LIVE”‘ Even though I’m the most risk-averse person ever (well, maybe not EVER, but I don’t take many risks when it comes to the bigger life decisions).
I will tell Clara to not worry about being perfect because no one is. I will tell her to fail over and over again but at least try. I will tell her to not be afraid. I will tell her to speak only kind and true words. I will tell her to love fiercely and to come to me if she gets hurt, because I will reaffirm that she is perfectly made by God and should not base her self-worth on someone who will not be in her life forever. I will tell her to be optimistic, helpful, respectful and loving. I will tell her to study something she really loves. I will tell her to make big life changes if she wants to make them, because there is no time like the present.
I will tell her to be the bold, fearless, confident woman that I wish myself to be, and the woman I am in my best moments. I will admit I suffer from a lack of confidence sometimes. I make decisions out of fear of failure or rejection or guilt or any number of negative feelings I wish to avoid. (I’m not proud of this, but it’s the truth!) But lately I’ve been thinking of how I want to model life for my daughter, and the advice I would give her – even in the smallest and seemingly inconsequential of moments. Then I follow the advice I would give Clara, and go on with my day. Because I want to be better for her, and I want her to be the best woman she can be.
I just know she’ll make some big waves one day, this daughter of mine, and while empowering her I hope to also make some waves of my own.