24 September 2012


I was going to channel my not-so-inner mama bear for this one. I had all sorts of righteous indignation and sarcasm and just plain anger. And before I sat down to write, I tucked my girl into bed.

She gathered the stuffed animals that accompany her every night and waited patiently for me to pull her covers up to her chin. I leaned in to kiss her, and she beamed at me. I opened my mouth to say, "I love you," and she beat me to it.

"Love you," said that soft, beautiful voice.

And then there just wasn't any anger left. There was just Emma.

Dear beautiful girl,

Some people don't get it. They don't get you. They can't find room in their view of what the world should be for you, and so they can't drum up an ounce of compassion or patience for a little girl's tears.

I'm sorry, baby.

People are kind of terrible sometimes, and I can't explain that to you. That's not your fault, and all I can do is tell you that you're okay. Being you is okay. It's okay to cry if you're sad or you're frustrated and you don't have the words to say that. (It would also be okay for your mom to deliver the tirade of a lifetime-- and then some-- to the woman who suggested someone should shut you up. Just sayin'.) Feel what you feel, Em, and show me how you need to. It's always going to be okay. Promise.

I love who you are. Your irrepressible sweetness, the unending giggles, the driveway dances that make me look forward to mornings-- even tonight, when you thoughtfully said, "Blueberry," then picked one off your plate and giggled as you marched it over to the trash can before dropping it in. Even when you repeated that routine 17 more times. Even then.

There is nothing mean in you. You will never deliberately hurt someone. That makes it so much harder for me when people try to hurt you with the things they say. I understand a lot of things, Em, but how someone can be cruel to you will never be one of them.

Those people, though? They don't matter. You are loved, and I know you know that. You are loved by a very large number of people who get you, whose lives are touched and bettered by knowing you.

I am so much better for knowing you.

You teach me what it means to be patient and compassionate, and you force me to live that knowledge out. Because of you, Em, I will never be the woman in the store telling someone to shut their child up. I'll always see those tears and know that I can't know the whole story from what the surface tells me.

Loving you is the best kind of overwhelming. I never knew how my heart could clench when you look into my eyes and really see me, when you grin in just that way and time freezes, and there is nothing in the world but those huge blue eyes and that smile.

You're my girl, and I love you. And you're more than just okay. You are perfect to me.

To the moon and back, baby.

Pretty, pretty please
Don't you ever, ever feel
Like you're less than, less than perfect
Pretty, pretty please
If you ever, ever feel
Like you're nothing
You are perfect to me.

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