When my daughter was born, life changed in a way I never imagined.

Oh sure, I prepared. I mean, I did what all new moms do- I read every manual, every magazine, blog post and website possible. I prepared for it all and I thought I was ready for anything this beautiful tiny person was about to throw at me. And I was wrong.

Nothing in those books could truly teach me what it was to be a mom. In fact, it was my daughter who taught me how to be a mother. Each day, I listened and learned from my child what kind of mom to be for her. She’s nearing 7 years old now, and I’m realizing she has taught me way more than just how to be a mom...she’s taught me these 5 essential things about life.

 

 

My daughter measures her day by how much fun she’s going to have. Even on days when she may have a test at school, she thinks about recess and playing. She laughs as much as she can and as often as she can, every single day. She reminds me that life is meant to be enjoyed and work will always be there tomorrow. 

 

When my daughter got her first “big kid” puzzle, she sat and stared at the cover for several minutes at a time. She carefully searched each piece at a time and I watched as she put the puzzle together, piece by piece. When she would make a mistake, she didn’t throw a fit, and she didn’t give up as I assumed she would. She simply took the piece off, and kept going. I asked her why she did that, she simply said, “cause I’ll find it later.” She reminds me that the best things do come, to those who wait. 

 

While hanging out with some family friends, my friend recounted to me the day that her daughter and mine got into an argument. She was about to swoop in and calm the girls down when she heard my daughter tell hers, without any hesitation, “you really hurt my feelings when you said that. I want to be your friend but if you’re going to be mean to me, I don’t want to play with you anymore.” My friend was in awe over my daughter’s transparency and I have to admit, so was I. She’s always been open about her feelings, and I hope it’s a quality she keeps throughout her life, in fact, it’s one I have long forgotten I had, too. 

 

On a drive down to San Diego, my family and I were driving past the ocean and talking about our plans for our weekend vacation when out of nowhere, my daughter said “Mermaids are real and I bet one has brown hair like me.” I agreed with her, and minutes later she was drawing us a picture of all the brunette mermaids she imagined lived in the ocean we were driving by. Later that night, she even wrote us a little mermaid tale. Unfiltered creativity is only alive in us for such a short time, we should embrace any piece of imagination we still have. 

 


I asked my daughter once what does it mean to love someone. She answered me quickly and said, “it means you give them lots of hugs and kisses and you like talking to them all the time, and that they take care of you and cuddle you when you’re scared.” When you think about it, she’s right. Love isn’t as complicated as movies want us to believe. It’s affection, trust, and communication...and you can’t forget the cuddles. In fact, I think it’s time a certain 2nd grader gets a cuddle from mommy.