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Challenge: Finding Your Voice as a Parent

A Letter to My Daughter

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You roam around the house in your big girl underpants, baggy legs and all. You have the confidence of a supermodel as you bolt to and fro, sharing the tub with your little brother or dancing stark naked. Your very self leaves me breathless and I long to encase your innocent perfection.

"It's not fair!”

Your words and I caught your face, scowling in the mirror. A friend bragged that she weighed 40 pounds and that you did not. The accusation left you ripe with anger and indignation because, as you shared, it was not only mean, but not even true. Your scantily clad self stepped on the scale, shoved between the tub and a broken down Playmobil pirate ship. You were right, the needle hovered at 42. I hid a smile, amused with the girl livid with this perceived slight. I should have known what was coming next. What's your number?

For several long seconds, I contemplated the tsunami question that washed over my imperfect love of self. I swallowed the thoughts that beckon me most all the time and hopped on the scale with a show of confidence, though inside, I felt a lamb to the slaughter. Proof in the pudding, my number was much higher, one seven something and you wailed in disappointment, "It's not fair!"

The irony of being in such a contradictory position was not lost on me. I have lamented that extra 30 or 40 pounds for a dozen years now and you, my daughter, think me quite perfect.

I promise I will be better for you.

I promise I will give you the best possible chance to be healthier than me, both physically and emotionally.

I promise comments about weight will never come from our house.

My daughter, thank you for your jubilant envy at my number and the glorious reminder that IT is so very insignificant for what is truly at stake.

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