i've started a little tradition. every single day, usually around bedtime, i look at ellie & say this:
"you're imperfect, and wired for struggle, but you are loved & you belong."
a dear friend sent me this amazing TED talk a few weeks ago. the whole thing gave me a lot to think about, but i really clung to one of the final lines about parenting that boiled down to the above statement. what i took away is that our role as parents is not to ensure our children's lives are perfect (which is a real temptation, especially when they're precious babies) -- we know that's impossible. our own stories tell us these innocent babies of ours are going to struggle, experience pain & know heartache as they grow up. the very best we can all offer them in the face of that is for them to know regardless of what might come, they are loved & they belong. i have no idea what's ahead for ellie, but i want her to rest knowing ryan & i will always love her & she will always belong to our family. there's nothing she can do to change those two things.
for me, this is also a statement of my faith -- Christianity is based on this being a fallen world, that pain and struggle will be inherent in our time here, but that God's love is boundless, relentless & despite everything, we belong to Him.
right now, when i say this to ellie, she is either looking around the room for the nearest thing to put in her mouth or waiting for me smother her in kisses (which i usually do), but i'm planning on saying this to ellie each day for a long time & i hope as she grows up, we can talk about what this really means. the truth is, i say it as much to reign in my parenting, and remind me of what my role really is (seeking perfection at any stage is unhelpful), as i do to encourage my sweet little girl.