Hi, Baby Doll,

Oops—sorry. I know you don’t like it when I call you that. It’s just that I’ve called you Baby Doll for like, ever. But it’s okay. I get it. I guess. Anyway. When I dropped you off at school this morning we were both a little irritated (for the record, it really was your turn to feed the dog, not your brother’s). Okay. Forget that. What I wanted to tell you is that I’m sad we keep bickering. We used to have so much fun together. Remember Girl Scouts? Softball season? All of those birthday parties? We were so close. I helped you with homework; you helped me with dinner. I told you how to do fractions; you told me about your day. I thought you’d be my Baby Doll forever; you thought I was cool.

Things sure have changed, haven’t they?

But I’ve been thinking, and (try not to hurt your neck rolling your eyes), I’m okay with it. No really, I’m good. Because I know that this time will pass. Don’t get me wrong, I will continue to try, to listen, to understand, to see things from your perspective. And you will continue to try, to listen, to obey, to be respectful. But believe it or not, in a few short years things are going to turn around for us. I promise, it’s true. We are going to be great again, you and me. Better than ever, in fact. Because God is for us. And since His love prevails, I know that one day …

1. You won’t mind me calling you Baby Doll.

Or Sweet Pea. Or Honey Bunny Lu Lu Bean. In fact, you’ll love it. Instead of annoying you, those silly names will actually make you smile. You will know that they’re not meant to rile you; each name is simply a way for me to express my overwhelming, colossal, crazy love for you. But it’s okay. For now, I will hold off on embarrassing you with the monikers. Don’t worry, one day they’ll be back. Love is patient (1 Corinthians 13:4).

2. You won’t mind my advice.

Brace yourself, this one may be a little shocking. Honestly, there will come a day when you will not only listen to my opinion, you will actually seek it. You will consider my opinion and (wait for it …) follow it! You will consider my counsel as wise words worth heeding. You will listen to my suggestions because you will trust wholeheartedly that my only concern, my primary motivation, is keeping you safe and wanting what’s best for you. It always protects (1 Corinthians 13:7).

3. You won’t mind my prying.

Right now, we’re in transition; you’re not a little girl anymore and I’m not the mom of a little girl anymore. Growing up means wanting to make your own decisions and craving more privacy. The problem is, this is precisely the time in your life when Dad and I should know more about what’s going on in your life. That’s a challenge. But we will keep working it through. And one day you will share with me, not because you’re asked to, but because you want to. Always trusts (1 Corinthians 13:7).

4. You won’t mind having to get my approval.

You’ll even be terribly disappointed if you don’t receive it. About the friends you choose. The boys you like. Classes you take. Jobs you consider. You will care deeply that I endorse your judgment. And you will appreciate the fact that I only care because you are more valuable to me than anything in the universe. I am ready, willing, and able to keep walking through our temporary struggles because one day you will appreciate why I cared so much about your choices. Always hopes, always perseveres (1 Corinthians 13:7).

5. You won’t mind being seen with me.

In fact, you’ll think it’s pretty fabulous. You’ll post pictures of us together and tell all of your friends how close we are. Isn’t that hard to imagine? We’ll laugh and shop and eat together, because we want to. We’ll watch shows together. We’ll talk on the phone. We’ll chat on my bed late at night and have countless inside jokes. You will want to spend time with me. I can hardly wait. Because God is for us. And His love prevails. Love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8).

Love, Mom