Posts Tagged ‘Did I Tell You?’

Did I Tell You?

July 13, 2010

I found something the other day that I can’t stop looking at. For all of you moms with daughters going off to college or just leaving college–heck for any mom, this find makes a great gift for your little, or not so little, girl. It did when my mom presented it to me 10 years ago.

“Did I Tell You?” by Elizabeth Knapp is a short booklet of what one mom hopes for her daughters. She shared it with the world so that people like my mom would find it and give it to daughters like me. This week I’ve found myself looking at it repeatedly at various times, and I feel that even at age 32, ten years out of college and in the work force, it still offers valuable guidance for me as a daughter, a mother and a woman.

It starts,

“Now that you are almost grown, I look back and ask myself, ‘Did I tell you’?” Did I tell you all that I meant to tell you, all that I felt was important. Did I tell you, or was it lost in the shuffle of our everyday lives, the busy full days when we taught and didn’t know it. What did we teach? Was it strong? Was it good? Will it root you in something real that will allow you to grow with a firm and sound foundation? Did I tell you…”

Ms. Knapp goes on to share her hopes and advice for her daughters on love, on thoughtfulness and on courtesy. For example, she writes:

“Did I tell you to be courteous not to display empty manners with no meaning but to live the courtesy born of caring. And to express this caring through the small formalities and customs born of the years.”

She continues to share her thoughts on being bold, on being cautious, on service, on maintaining a sense of the past and on nature. On this she writes,

“Did I tell you to find a part of nature that speaks to you then know it intimately and well. For some it is a mountain peak, for some a windswept beach. Find your own and in it find your restoration.”

She concludes by sharing her hopes for her daughters on laughing, on dancing, on singing, on creativity and on the joy and challenge of being a woman.

This last point is worth sharing in its entirety:

“And did I tell you the joy and challenge of being a woman. The joy and challenge of having a child…knowing and sharing a new life. The joy of making a home…the center but not the limit for the lives of those you love. The joy of exploring a third dimension…a world of your own discovering and fulfilling your own capabilities.”

I love the phrase “the joy of exploring a third dimension.” I’m not sure exactly what Ms. Knapp was getting at, but that’s precisely what I like about it. I think the third dimension just might be that part of us that is separate from our roles as mom, daughter, wife or friend. It might be that part of us that still wants ice cream simply because it tastes great.  It’s that part of us that still holds dreams for where our life might go. It’s that part of us that gazes in wonder at nature’s beauty. It’s that part of us that finds a booklet from her mom and hopes that she’s living a life that makes her proud.