Only two words, but they pack a gigantic punch when you live them as your mantra.
In this photo, you can’t be more than 2.5 years old. I know this because of the white and pink diaper I see peeking out from beneath your itty-bitty pink shorts.
You are sleeping, probably mid-nap, in your full-size bed which is dressed in owl-printed bed-ware which I remember you being overly-ecstatic over.
You look so tiny laying there in that big bed, and when I see you in it today, at the grand ole’ age of seven, with those long legs you got from Daddy, I think you look so grown. Not only is your body growing, but your mind is expanding and so is your heart and I’m not sure which is taking place more rapidly, or if I even care.
While I will never know the make-up of all of those precious dreams that have and continue to take place inside of your head, I know that you will without a doubt always dream big.
The thing is my angel, dreaming big is the norm these days and while not all, most people do it.
Throughout your life, many well-intentioned people — family members, teachers, coaches, maybe even some friends — will tell you to “dream big,” and though I encourage you to heed that advice and operate from a place of being self-inspired and brave, I’m going to push you a bit further, just as a mama should.
I want you to dream bigger; bigger than you would ever believe possible.
I want for you to dream bigger than being a “princess” one day.
I want for you to dream bigger than finding a boyfriend to become your lifelong partner and marrying him.
I want for you to dream bigger than being rich or successful or driving a fancy car and having a big house.
I want for you to dream bigger than landing your “dream job”.
And, maybe surprisingly, I want for you to dream bigger than just to be a mom with kids of your own if that’s what you’re desiring.
You see, honey, all I ever wanted to do (after I gave up my initial dream to become an Olympic soccer player) was just to be a wife and a mom. And, yes, I used to phrase it like that with the word “just” as my descriptor (or lack thereof).
If that’s what you want for yourself, you follow your heart young lady, but in your mind, you must know that you can dream bigger.
Not bigger in the sense that marriage and parenthood are not enough to validate you (or anyone) — cause it very well may be — but, bigger than just being a run of the mill partner and caretaker, or just an average anyone.
If a partnership is all that you really want for yourself, then by all means, seek that; but once you find yourself in a relationship which turns into a marriage that is all you could have ever hoped for, be sure to be the best damn wife a husband could ever have.
If you’ve got control of the deck and motherhood is in the cards, then hold the best darn hand every single game; be smart each play of each day by being the parent those children need and deserve.
And, if you, either now or later, want even more for yourself and your life, then get out there and seek it and make it happen.
You see, my hope for you is that you never accept simply “dreaming big” with the idea that it will result in you just being anything.
Never just be a wife. Be a friend, lover, caretaker, teacher, student, someone’s heart and soul, and let them be yours.
Never just be a mom. Be an educator, confidant, muse, motivator, emotion coach, support, and a human being worth emulating.
Never just be a teacher. Every day walk into that classroom and be the change you want in this world, ’cause guess what? If you do that, then the 18+ students in your room will undoubtedly become the same.
Never just be a nurse. Be firm, but understanding, slightly aggressive, but compassionate, tolerant and unbiased, creative and open-minded, organized, but flexible, and give grace to everyone you treat, as well as yourself.
Never just be a lawyer. Be unstoppable in your pursuit of what is “right” and “just”, and be willing to fight for that even when it’s unpopular.
Never just be someone who works part-time. Ironically, there is nothing part-time about working part-time, so be sure to give yourself due credit.
Never just be working from home. Be an impressive freakin’ beast who never stops working, because there is no clear distinction between where and when work stops and home life begins. To be someone capable of being present, both physically and mentally, is an utterly impressive feat.
And, feats? Well, those are what you were made for.
You are not in this world to be just this.
You are not in this world to be just that.
You are not in this world to be just anyone.
You are so much more than a just, and for that reason, you must dream bigger than just dreaming big.
Anyone can dream big.
Everyone does dream big.
But, you, my sweetie, are going to dream bigger, and if you are ever unable to, your father and I will be right by your side to do it for you, just as we have done your whole life.
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