Dear Barnes and Noble Mama,
You looked at me strangely when you saw me wiping my eyes. Maybe you thought I was having a bad day…I wasn’t. The tears were because of you. I had noticed you and your daughter there, talking and looking at books. She looked like a sweet girl, she said ‘excuse me’ when she brushed by me and she was so excited to pick out new books! She reminded me of myself at 10…awkward, shy…always happy to escape into a book for a while.
I heard her tell you about the race at school…that she finished last. I saw her embarrassment. (I would’ve finished last, too, Barnes and Noble Mama…I don’t know if you’d guess that now.) And when you told her, “that’s because you’re so slow. You always have been. You’ll never win a race.”…that’s when I kind of lost it. Just a little.
First of all, I wanted to tell you that you are WRONG. That your daughter will make millions of choices in her life. She will define herself over and over again. That she already is everything that she needs to be…beautiful and amazing…stringing together moments and lessons to become the person that she was born to be. That’s her journey. Not to become the person you wish she was…but simply to become the person she’s meant to be. And to wear that proudly…no excuses. No regrets.
But more than that, what if you’re right? If she never wins a race…if she is always and forever the slowest person in every group…if she never wins anything at all…does it matter? Isn’t the still that precious baby…the one you couldn’t stop marveling over the first time you saw her? Do you remember her delicious baby smell and the way her tiny fingers curled around your pinky? Isn’t she still worthy?
I wanted to tell you that I’m sorry for you. Sad that no one ever told you that you’re exactly as important when you lose as when you win. No more, no less. It’s easy to miss that sometimes…easy to lose track. We all need to be reminded. And now I’m off to remind my own kids: I don’t love you for your grades, goals scored or races run. I just love you. Every single bit of you. First or last. Always.
Blessings, Mama. May you and your sweet girl both find what you’re missing.