You are spectacular. I really love seeing you grow. This morning, you and I went for a run. (You were on rollerblades.) We had gotten about a mile and a half into our 2.5 mile loop and you started snagging dandelions. I’d run, you’d stop in a glorious yellow patch for a few of the biggest and best ones. I’d look back, you would be hustling to catch back up with your little bouquet in hand.
“Sorry, mama. I just really love dandelions.”
You do not have to apologize for being awesome.
I hadn’t given you any instruction not to pause. We weren’t in a particular hurry. You hadn’t done a thing wrong—you were just being Katherine. I know you love dandelions. Remember your seventh birthday? I love it. I like that you’re mindful of others, wanting to make sure you don’t inconvenience those around you, but please, Darling. Don’t apologize for being your own lovely, amazing self.
The other day, right after you’d shopped all dang morning, spending every cent you had on presents to give to your siblings on your birthday, you and Jenna had a thing. Your sister, amazing as she is, has her own insecurities (just like you do) and sometimes it causes her to do some things that are super hurtful to you. Basically, she offloads her discomfort and insecurity onto you because she can.
I’ve long described you to people as having “a heart every bit as big as your personality.” You feel things big, you react to things big, and you love really big. But Friday, instead of losing your mind over Jenna doing this thing, again, that triggers all your insecurities, you used your words. With gentleness and honesty and a TON of courage, you came to her and calmly told her, “Jenna, when you do this, it really hurts my feelings.” She got defensive and didn’t react well and you spent… 15 minutes? 2o? pressing into the suck. She deflected and you refused to defend. When it seemed like she had a genuine grievance against you (even if she was transparently changing the subject), You would seek to understand because you truly want to avoid doing things that are hurtful to her. Eventually, your openness and kindness paid off. I didn’t catch the end of the conversation, but by the time you finished, she was in a good mood again and you played happily together for much of the remainder of the afternoon.
I want to be like you when I grow up.
There are so many adults who don’t have the skill you just demonstrated: blending grace and truth and love and courage and vulnerability and humility all together. There was no guarantee your sister would respond well—you told me yesterday you’re still nervous it’s going to backfire—but you acted from your own integrity. I don’t believe I’ve ever been prouder of you. When your dad and I get into touchy conversations, my aim is always to carry myself just like you did, and I don’t usually succeed, even with years and years of experience that he loves me, believes the best of me, and is generally for me. You don’t even have that level of security with your sister and still did the brave thing.
I don’t expect you to pull this off flawlessly from this day forward, and I want you to have grace for screwing it up, too. But I also want you to tuck this in your back pocket—you are capable.
Katherine, watching you grow up has so far been astounding in all the ways. I love seeing the ways you reflect the character and glory of the God who made you in His image. You’re growing up just right. Better than that, in fact. You’re growing up awesome in ways I don’t want you to apologize for. Your sensitivity mixed with your abundance, your huge feelings crossed with your enormous heart. You still have plenty to learn, but there’s time. My heart is full as I see you becoming. I’m excited to see how you navigate eight.