Dear Girl,

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I might be a boy mom, but I am a girl stepmom to 2 teenage girls. Like my boys, they too are like night and day one minute and the same the next; at times it is hard to figure them out…but I guess it can be hard to figure out girls in general, or so I hear.

I don’t know how to raise girls, I don’t even pretend to know, I will assume it is basically the same way you raise boys except for maybe a few things. But being a woman, I do understand what it’s like to have your voice heard or silenced, not silenced necessarily by others but by yourself as well. Sometimes, girls need that extra vote of confidence that tells them that it is okay to be exactly who they are at any given moment.

My stepdaughters are 15 and 17, one is a sophomore and the other is a senior. Growing up they both played sports, took dance and they both know how to play a musical instrument, now that they are older one is still into sports and being silly while the other is more into school clubs and studying to raise her ACT’s while searching for the perfect college to fit her future endeavors. They are both bright and responsible, and I believe that they will both go very far in life.

Since meeting them years ago, I have had the pleasure of watching them grow, mature and recognize their personalities blossom into making them unique individuals. My youngest, Hadley, is very much a Tomboy, she has no problem getting dirty, she loves sports, video games, swimming, and hanging out with her friends. She isn’t afraid of many things, in fact she will stop and bust a move right in the middle of a crowd and she is the first to say “I’ll do it” when its nothing none of the rest of us really want to do.  She isn’t afraid to step out of the box and she knows how to trust in her gut feelings. She doesn’t know a stranger and talks nonstop for as long as you let her. But at times she needs to be reminded that she is important, even if she doesn’t feel like it, or when someone makes her feel less than her worth. She is more sensitive to what others think even though her exterior seems tough, her insides are just like those of other girls…soft. She has the heart of a warrior, but her feelings can be as delicate as the petals of a daisy. She is intelligent and talented, and once she finds her path, she will be unstoppable…this I know.

My oldest, Harper, is quiet, she doesn’t like to draw attention to herself and she feels more powerful in numbers than she does alone even though she is braver than she realizes. She is dedicated to her goals and loves to be social, she has been a cheerleader, taken gymnastics, and attends most, if not all her high school events. She is the first to help you, she is more traditional, but I wish that every now and then she would do something crazy just to be crazy, no matter who is watching. She is a perfectionist and I think at times puts too much pressure on herself, especially when she is trying to make everyone happy. I want her to learn that she comes first in the happiness department no matter what. She has a healthy outlook on life; she is my shy one, and I think she is courageous and once she figures out her path, she too will be unstoppable.

So, when I read this great book by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, it immediately reminded me of my girls. It’s a short picture book, that gives some of the greatest advice all girls should hear. It says… “Dear Girl” …sometimes you might feel all sparkly and somedays you might feel the opposite…and its okay to love the one thing that makes you different and makes you YOU… That its ok to trust your instincts and coloring outside of the lines can be just as good as coloring on the inside not to mention more adventurous. I want them to always know their worth, to know that their opinions count so shout ‘em out loud and let them be heard. I want them to trust in themselves and never lose their sense of wonder about life, people, themselves or the universe. But most importantly I want them to know… “Dear Girl”, you are loved!”

No, I am not a girl mom…I may not have done girly things while raising my sons; I didn’t braid their hair or paint their nails, I didn’t have tea parties or have those special girl talks…but I am a girl, a woman, a female and I know how important it is for us to never forget that we matter, all women, all shapes, colors and sizes…we matter to each other, to our siblings, parents, spouses, and to the world!!!!

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