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Hannah Nicole Martin

Editor's note: This article by Rachel Martin originally appeared on her blog, Finding Joy. It has been posted here with permission.

Girls, I love you. First and foremost let me tell you how much I love you. I'm beyond proud to be your mother and to be the one who has walked beside you since you were little. It feels like it was just a couple days ago that we were wandering around Universal Studios and the goal was to find Spider-Man and get our picture taken with him. And, yes, just for the record, I did run after him making sure he'd stop to get a picture taken with my superhero-loving little girls.

But, now, now here you are, almost grown. In fact, if it had been 100 years ago or so you would be grown. In fact, again, if it had been almost any other time in history you'd be considered adults. I'm sure it has to be a challenge being in this almost-grown and feeling-like-you're-grown stage. Here's the bottom line.

I respect and love you.

I respect who you are and the beautiful women that you are becoming. It is an amazing journey to watch a child grow in front of your eyes. Time just moves and with it new things and new adventures. This growing up thing? It was inevitable. So, even with misty eyes, I'm embracing the next steps in our journey even though sometimes I think back with nostalgia and the little girls dressed in their princess dresses.

Even with that I want to tell you a couple things. Little things, but sometimes those little things can be the big things in life. Like this: Your heart matters. I know that this world preaches a constant barrage of beauty tips, agendas and expectations. I know that when you and I go to the grocery store that you see the never-ending display of magazines shouting out the best beauty tips and quick ways to lose weight and all of that stuff. I know that right now on the interstate are two billboards within feet of each other talking about plastic surgery and liposuction and preaching that having that is simply the norm and that it needs to be done. Remember that 100 years ago thing I talked about in the beginning? They didn't have all of that to deal with either. The world is trying to teach you that what is on the outside is the most important.

But, sweet daughters, that outward beauty stuff is simply not one of the most important things even though it is being pounded into the language of the world. Your heart matters more than all of that beauty stuff. That is fleeting. I know it doesn't feel that way right now. In fact, sometimes it doesn't feel that way for me. Sometimes I wish for the days when the only thing I needed to do was work for our family's survival well, maybe not, but the focus seems better and more intentional. But now, now there is this agenda on women that wants us to believe a lie that our worth is often dependent on how we look and not what we do or who we are. Trust me, that's a lie.

Now listen to me: The world is going to try to pound into your head that you only matter if you look a certain way or act a certain way or have a big house or all of that stuff. But you are unique. You are beautiful in your own way. Your passions, your dreams, your interests, your heart that is all important to me. You can come to me anytime, and I will be there cheering you on, supporting you and being your encourager. But you can also expect me to be real and honest with you, and sometimes that might not feel great. I'll speak truth, my heart, but still respect yours. That's because I value that heart, that free spirit, that you have within you. And that's why I tell you about the elusive beauty lies of the world.

Someday in the next years you will walk out my front door, and it will close, and it will be the last time that you call our home your going home home. And that's hard for my momma's heart, but I want you to do that. I want you to have the bravery, courage and steadfastness to walk into the world with a strong head on your shoulder and to be bold in who you are and who you are becoming. I know you can do it. Will there be bumps? Yes. Expect those, sweet daughter. But those bumps in the road don't define you and who you will become just like beauty doesn't define value.

I will always love you, my little girl.

1 comment on this story

Now, now we're in the golden years of parenthood, really. They are so beautiful. My heart is forever connected with yours, where ever you may go, and really you'll always be my little girls. And girls, remember those magazines at the store, billboards on the road, and endless barrage of commercials have no definition in the true you. You are an amazing person, unique, with gifts, and with a beautiful heart that I love dearly. You are my girls. You are forever my girls, my little ones who used to dance in the rain, twirl in the snow, and look in the mirror dreaming of the day you would grow up. You're just about there. Run, little one, run. Embrace life. Live fully. Live confident and with your beautiful heart finding joy.

And if you ever want to race in Universal Studios chasing after Spider-Man again I'll be here.

Love you forever. Like you for always.