Dear Daughter

Dear daughter,

With each passing day you grow a little taller, you toddle a little faster, you babble a little more. Your fears are few (and make no sense): you’ll fly off the stairs and you have no concept of the edge of a bed, but a threshold from one room to the next makes you stop dead to carefully tiptoe over, holding on to the door frame for dear life.

Dog food is your favorite snack. You hide it in your cheeks like a chipmunk so that when I think I've got it all you run off to keep chewing it into a delicious stinky paste.

You’ve started hitting and pulling hair for fun. I don’t really know how to discipline you when you do that because you always smile right after and though my eyes are watering in pain you melt my heart.

I always said I’d never be the mom to give my kids junk food. Fresh fruits and veggies in our house. Now all you have to do is point and baby Cheetos magically appear on your tray. Just eat something for the love of God.

Socks confound you. You’ll pull and pull and pull with all your might but you just can’t get them off your feet. I’ve tried to teach you how to hook your finger over the edge to slide the sock over your heel, but you insist the right way is to keep pulling on the toes, stretching them out to no avail. This might be the angriest I’ve ever seen you.

You love the dogs, and you’re always trying to catch the elusive Charlie cat, but Jinxy kitty is your favorite. “Jee! Jee!” you squeal when you see him. And he lets you lay on him, pull his long black fur, smack him in the face. He takes it all very stoically.

Before you were here I worried about you. Would you make friends easily? Would you be well liked? Would you care too much about being well liked? Would you be smart? Would you be a jock? Would you suffer through middle and high school with overwhelming social anxiety like me? But now I look at you with the kids in your daycare class and I know you’ll be fine. You are your dad’s daughter too, after all.

You sleep 11 hours at night. I can’t thank you enough for that. I still wake up from time to time in a cold sweat, my heart in my throat, and lunge for the monitor, only to see you softly snoring in a heap of blankets. You like to be tucked in with my old baby quilt, but then toss it off in your sleep. You sleep on your back like daddy.

Sometimes, after a long day chasing you and keeping you from constantly trying to drink every poison in the house (dear God, why haven’t we put locks on the cabinets yet?!), I have to put you in baby jail and walk away, leaving you crying and screaming for me. But sometimes I can’t be there for you because I have to be there for myself. This leaves me feeling tremendous guilt. But I hope one day you learn to put yourself first every now and then too.

You will not watch TV. I both love this and hate this.

You love going outside. I can’t wait to take you camping. I can’t wait for you to try your first s’more!

You’ll be 15 months old in 3 days. Gulp.

You do really well on airplanes. We’ve been to Texas 2 or 3 times, Orlando, and D.C. You charm everyone and flirt like it’s your job, feigning shyness then peaking those big blue eyes out from your long lashes and batting them at whatever stranger is falling under your spell. You do that so well.

I dress you in lots of pink, with the occasional TNMT thrown in. But that’s just because you’re not choosing your clothes yet. When you are able to make your own choices you can wear whatever you want. Seriously. (Lord help me keep my word.)

You’re learning to express independence. That’s the nice way of saying sometimes you’re a real jerk. You throw your food on the floor with defiance. You yank your hand away from me in the busy parking lot. You throw yourself on the ground with abandon when I take a dangerous object away from you. You’ve learned that screaming is annoying and you use that against me. Punk.

Oh how I love you.

You are a perfect mess.

Love forever and always and then some,



-Shelby Lucas Slowey 


Shelby is United Methodist pastor in Nashville, TN. She wants this bio to say, "She loves to cook, write, read, and jog," but knows if it's to be honest it must say, "She nukes the stale mac and cheese for the third straight day in a row while writing a grocery list she won't be able to read later and thinks about that time in college she ran a few times and felt good about it." She also likes to binge The Office while the toddler strews dog food throughout the house like a psychopath.