From the moment my daughter was born – even before, really – I wanted her to be fierce.
I wanted her to live fiercely and love fiercely and go after her dreams with purpose and drive and determination. I still want all of that for her.
I've raised her to be outspoken about what she wants. To voice her opinions. To believe that she matters and her voice counts.
I've raised her to expect to be respected for herself, for her views, for what she brings to the table, and to not tolerate anyone's lack of respect for any of that.
And it has worked, so far.
She's spunky and fearless and smart and well-spoken in the extreme. I have no doubt that when the time comes for her to fly the nest, she'll kick down the door and any door that stands between her and the world she plans to make for herself.
I'm so incredibly proud of her for that.
And I'm so incredibly bowled over by that sometimes, because all of this fierce training has also made for some fierce lessons in parenting and some fierce fights between us, on occasion.
She gives as good as she gets, and she is a more than worthy adversary now in her teen years, when mothers and daughters fight their biggest battles. She comes at me with a ferocity that sets my teeth on edge and makes me want to pull my hair and paddle her simultaneously.
She tears into her brother verbally sometimes, throwing her words like knives with such force and accuracy that I long for the days when they simply used to beat each other with nerf swords or throw Legos at each other's heads.
Which leads to the lessons, oh the lessons I have learned from my need to see her take the world in her fists.
I've taught her that her voice matters, that she must be heard. But I've also had to teach her – over and over - that she's not the only voice that matters, and that sometimes, silence is wiser, stronger, and more prudent.
Teaching a girl to live fiercely must be tempered with the teaching of kindness, of compassion, of responsibility for her words and actions. She must be taught that demanding respect goes hand in hand with showing equal respect. She must be reminded that she doesn't know everyone's story, and that she can't make assumptions based on her own experiences. She must be taught to listen, and not talk over.
Otherwise, she'll never be able to truly love and be loved as fiercely as she deserves. I want that for her, more than anything. I want her fiercely happy, and fiercely loved. She's going to have that. With a little restraint, a little guidance, and a whole lot of patience, she'll learn to have that.
This wonderful, amazing, fierce girl of mine.