I have five daughters. I gave birth to one, and the other four came along later and claimed my heart.
Sarah, my firstborn, is my lioness. She is strong and a fierce protector of her tribe of children, pets, friends, family, and those on the margins. People look to her to lead.
Natalie is my koala bear. She longs to create a warm and loving home, full of light, beauty, laughter, and creativity.
Stephanie is my owl. She is wise, observant, quiet, pondering, and thoughtful. When she talks, we listen because her insights are compelling.
Camilla is my beaver. She is industrious, busy, smart, and competent. People rely on her to keep order in the chaos of life.
Susie is my fox. She is shy, with a quick mind that can solve intricate problems and a loyal heart. She has good boundaries as she makes a life with my son, and a playful side that delights her nieces.
This is the thing: All five of my daughters are brilliant, creative, kind, and beautiful. And, all of them have experienced trauma, disappointments, or devastating losses in their young lives. I wish this weren’t true. I wish we were handing them a world which is an easier, kinder, safer place, but we are not.
I know each of you is strong and resilient, but I wish you didn’t have to be. I don’t have much wisdom to offer you, but you know how I feel about trees, so I give you this one. Look at it; its beauty stopped me in my tracks and took my breath away. For me, the world is also like this tree, beautiful, strong, breathtaking, and wise. It will stop you in your tracks, take away your breath, and give you the strength you need to go on. So, here are some things I’ve learned, and I wish for you.
Rest, under the tree, like a lioness. You all constantly give to others, take time to rest, play, and create.
Cling, to the tree like a koala. Cling to your values, your loved ones, your faith in humanity, in God, in yourself. Being rooted in a community will carry you through every storm. Relationships are important.
Sit in silence, like the owl. We live in a crazy busy world, and you all have over-full lives, but there is so much wisdom in silence. I hear you protesting, “When?” But, take five minutes to settle yourself, sift through your priorities, then make decisions about your day.
Hide behind the tree, like the fox. In a “just say yes” world, we need to learn to say, “no.” We need boundaries around our time, our energy, and our souls. It’s okay to say no, and don’t forget to play. Life can be serious. Find a way to belly laugh.
Work with the tree, like the beaver. Find meaningful work that enlivens you instead of drains you. You all work hard. If you can work from that place of rest, silence, safety, and boundaries, your work won’t burn you out, and you might even find that elusive quality we are always looking for, that is, balance.
Know this, my daughters: Know that I think you’re amazing. I find you endlessly fascinating, and I enjoy spending time with each of you. Know that I am always on your side and that you always, always have a place in my home and my heart.
Pictures from WordPress Pixel except for beaver which has a link and the tree is mine.