Dear Sweet, Beautiful, Loving Daughters,
This is the first year that you’re both starting the new year at an age of double digits…one of you having just turned ten and the other soon to be twelve. What’s the significance of this? Not much other than puberty is looming large, if not already beginning to take hold of you. As it sets in and your hormones start raging throughout your bodies, I expect there will be many, many, many emotional days, ranging from happy, to sad, to angry, to head-over-heels in “love” with some guy? History, science, and Hollywood can only prepare your mother and I so much for what you’re about to go through, and all the best research and advice we can find may not apply. Parenting isn’t science. There’s no blueprint. No flowchart to follow for each situation. We’ll have to wing it. Armed with good (hopefully) advice, patience (sometimes), love (always), and your best interest (whether you believe it or not) in mind, we’ll struggle through the coming years with you. Along the way, we’ll support and encourage you, teach and mentor you, fight with and punish you.
The reason for this open letter is so that you, along with everyone else, can see and understand that our goal is to help you become the best people you can be. If no arguing and fighting take place, we’ll be the luckiest parents in the world, but we’re assuming there will be plenty of bumps in the road. We’ll deal with those as best we can.
I’d be lying if I said that I never expect to hear “I hate you!” Whether to my face or through a slammed door, we know you won’t really mean it. How do I know that? I was a teenager once, too. I’m not that old that I can’t remember what it was like. So if I do hear that, I understand it’s said in a fit of rage and that you’ll cool off eventually, but I promise you’ll never hear those words from us. We love you.
I assure you that we’ll make mistakes, real or perceived, by you, your friends, others, and probably us, as well. We’ll be too strict sometimes, too lenient others. Your mother and I won’t always see eye to eye on every topic, but we’ll figure out OUR position and enforce it together. You already know it’s trouble if you try to play us against each other, so don’t expect that to change.
If we could, we’d set you a path, have you follow it, and everything would be happy happy, joy joy for the next decade or so. That’s not realistic, though. Instead, we’re going to travel your roads with you. We’ll give you the best shoes we can, help you pick the best routes, and try to smooth out the road bumps. Sometimes, we may have to backup and re-route, but that’s okay. We’re in this together, helping you become strong, intelligent, healthy young women…which is why I am writing this now. I want you to hear this while you’re still our sweet, beautiful, loving daughters, and not after any potential clashes have begun and you think we’re just trying to smooth things over.
Some bits of advice before I close:
1. Be optimistic. Don’t dwell on the bad. Look for the positive side of things. Your attitude has great influence on situations.
2. Be kind. Don’t be a sucker, but understand that there are times when a kind word or deed can make a difference.
3. Be a leader. It’s okay to be a follower sometimes, but in order to get where you want to go, you have to take charge, but don’t mistake being bossy for leadership. A leader doesn’t always have to tell people what to do.
4. Do smart things. Whenever possible, think before you do…and it’s almost always possible.
Again, your mother and I love you very much. We’re here for you and you can ask and talk to us about anything…whether it’s embarrassing for you or for us.
Dad the Overprotective