Dear younger me, you are deeply and completely loved.
We first met you on the median of the interstate during a rainy rush hour in the front seat of our car. As the trooper caught you after you let out the first sweet Ella cry, I was overjoyed. I was relieved that you were healthy, all things considered. I was in love.
Looking back at that day, watching the trooper’s cop car video, it makes so much sense. It’s so true to your style. You live fiercely.
When I see you, I see drive. I see the girl that works to learn to read all summer, practices soccer in the backyard to score at the next game, and that’s trying to master the perfect shoe tie.
When I see you, I see loyalty. I see you sharing your heart with your friends, drawing cards for your grandparents and great grandparents, and teaching your sisters everything you know.
When I see you, I see courage. I see you picking up that violin you’ve never touched, excited to learn. I see you unafraid to try new things, to fail at new things.
I may take the hard knock parenting approach sometimes and let you figure it out, let you fail, but its because I see your courage. Please don’t ever be ashamed of mistakes. Your mom has failed a lot but if you’re not failing then you’re not trying. You’re not learning. Perfection is never the goal. There is absolutely nothing you could ever do or fail at to make us love you any less.
You’re only six, but I know eventually you’ll feel the pressure to have perfect hair, a trendy outfit, and cute makeup. I’ve been there and, honestly, still fight to not be there some days. Here’s the thing with that, Ella. There’s nothing wrong with taking care of yourself if done for the right reasons. If throwing on some lip gloss makes you smile, then rock it girl. If, on the other hand, you’re stressing about looking as cute as your friends or impressing a boy, please remember that real beauty is not external. You are beautiful. Right now.
That way you helped me carry Emily out of Chipotle while I was carrying food and holding Rachel’s hand? Beauty. Loving a friend in a hard spot is FAR more beautiful than having the coolest shoes.
Relationships are hard work, you’ll come to see. You will be hurt by some friends and you will hurt others. We’re all just trying to figure out how to love and no one has it down perfectly. There will be days when you feel alone; when friendships are lost or change. On those days, sweet girl, know that everyone else is feeling the exact same way. Your parents and sisters will always be here. You are not, nor will you ever be, alone.
Ella, know that all of these tremendous mama feelings I have for you are nothing, absolutely nothing, in comparison to the love that God has for you.
Believe me, there will be days when you are feeling quite the opposite of love for me or from me. Just ask your Mia. On these days, know that He loves you without ceasing. He will walk with you when I can’t. He will love you when I can’t.
You mean the world to me, Isabella. I absolutely cannot wait to see you grow into the little girl you’re called to be.