Someone recently asked me what kind of men I hope my sons grow up to be. I think about this every day.
Even though I look at my sons and see my babies, I'm not raising babies. I am raising men. Men who some day will hopefully become fathers and husbands. Some of the most important roles in existence. It's my job as their mother to raise them with the skills necessary to go out into the world and fulfill those roles well. Each and every day I am gifted with these boys, I am committed to that responsibility.
To my future daughters-in-law,
I have a few things I want to say to you. This can't possibly cover it all, but luckily, we have some time.
I don't know you yet, but already, I love you. I love you so much, because some day, you will love my son. And he will return that love.
There will come a day that this sticky, messy, silly little boy will be yours. He will always be mine, but you will take my place in many ways.
Someday your hand will replace mine. Your eyes will be his peace and your heart will be his home.
It'll be you he kisses goodnight.
It'll be you he shares his dreams with.
It'll be you who comforts him when he is scared.
It'll be you who holds his heart. The same heart that beats against my chest as I hold him each night.
Someday darling, that will be you.
I always thought I would have a daughter. Now I know that's you. I want you to know I pray for you everyday, just as I pray for my sons.
Right now, you're everything to your own parents, just as my sons are everything to me. I pray you are cherished. Delighted in. Upheld and believed in. I pray you are being taught to love yourself first, because without that strong love, you will not be as equipped to love others successfully. I pray you are shown every day what a gift you are. I pray that if that message is somehow missed by those around you, you always know that when God looks at you, He sees His princess.
I am raising my son to view you that same way.
I pray you understand your worth and that you respect yourself. That you are being shown to respect others just the same. I pray that you are not afraid to share your voice, but that you use it to speak life; not only to yourself and others you encounter, but to my son. Men need you to speak life into them.
I want you to know that although I will make a lot of mistakes, I am committed to raising my son to honor you. I cannot take full credit, nor blame, for his beauty or his flaws. My own mom taught me that.
He is his own man. He has his own quirks and idiosyncracies. You'll figure those out as you go; and someday, you too will know him better than anyone else in the world. Give him the space to be himself, and I will teach him to do the same for you.
He won't complete you. And you won't complete him. Only God can do that. But I pray you edify each other and encourage each other to be even better together than you are on your own.
I promise to let you in. To share my secrets and knowledge of him so that you can love him best. When the time comes, I will trust you with his heart, just as you will trust him with yours. I do not take this heart exchange lightly, and I pray you don't either. I am raising him to understand the value of a woman's heart. That it's priceless, and once broken, can never go back to the way it was before.
That's not always a bad thing, but if we can avoid it, I don't want my son to be the one who breaks your heart. I also want you to remember that he can't be the one to heal it. Again, only God can do that. But I will raise my son to forever cherish the gift that is you and your love. I will teach him to understand your value. To honor and respect you, as you do him.
I strive to raise my boys in such a way that they learn how to be strong, yet vulnerable. Brave, yet humble. Courageous and fearless, yet unafraid to ask for help. That they are leaders but know how to follow. I pray he leads you well and understands the honor it is to be in that role. I pray he serves you, but that you never take advantage of his sacrifice.
I pray he fully understands his role as a man and that he lives his life with integrity, honor, humility, honesty, faith, and humor. That he knows who he is first in Christ and then within himself. I pray he follows his dreams and passions and that nothing stands in the way of that, to include you. I pray the same for you.
I am committed to raising my son to be independent and never to look to you to be his mother, because I will have stood in that role well. I vow to be fully present for him. To teach him what he needs to know about women and how special they are. I promise to raise him in such a way that he always remembers you are someone's daughter and that you belonged to him after you belonged to God and your parents.
I pray that with each day you love my son, your love swells and overflows. I pray the same for him. I hope as the two of you build a life together, that you never forget how that life was built. Stand strong together. You will need each other in this life. Though I am teaching him to want you rather than to need you, there will be times that he will need you. And you will need him. Be there.
Support each other. Love each other. Choose each other.
The noise of the world will be loud. It won't always be easy. There may be days that you look at him and question every decision you ever made. In those moments, I pray you will fall back on the foundation you built together and remember why you chose to stand there.
I promise you that each day, I will teach my son these same lessons. I will plant seeds of love in his heart every moment. I promise to show him how to take care of himself. How to do the laundry and the dishes, and to never expect you to do it all. How to be your partner. I promise to foster his sensitivity while praising his strength. To teach him how to be open and to hold your words when they spill from your lips and into his hands. I promise to teach him how to catch them. To hold you. To love you. All of you. To see you for you, not what you can offer him.
I promise to raise him to be enough within himself so that he can then be enough for you.
We've got a lot of years before we meet. But each day between now and then, I will pray for you. I will love you. And when I meet you, I will love you even more than I already do. Because you will love my son. And you'll become my daughter.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on Three Boys and a Mom. It has been republished here with permission.