Dear Mother: Inviting Strength in the MIddle of the Scary Stuff

a blurry snapshot of a professional photo taken by Rich Austen of Austen’s Photography, Arroyo Grande CA. His work is excellent, mine not-so-much.

Dear Mother,

I watch you making room for courage in your little one, your toddler-sized daughter, and inside, I stand up and cheer. Yes! That girl you’ve got has spunk – that indefinable core stuff that looks at life as a challenge to be met head-on.

She knows her own mind, that 2-year-old of yours. She wants what she wants when she wants it and you are so wise as you deal with that willfulness. You hold onto it and treasure it, you recognize it for what it truly is: a gift that will serve her well as she grows into womanhood.

Yet you help her know that there are boundaries to be kept and you invite her to learn what they are, to grow increasingly comfortable with where they are and to honor them, especially as she is learning to navigate social and family relationships.

I listen as you offer clear, firm, yet gentle correction when the ‘NOs” become too frequent or too boisterous. I watch as you always sweeten your intervention with hugs, kisses, and the wise offering of an alternate choice that will both keep the peace and maintain her personal sense of justice.

Just in the last month or so, our girl has found some things in this world that are scary – loud noises most especially: vacuum cleaners, mixers, power mowers. Always, she has been fearless – climbing anything, reaching for life with all the enthusiasm her small bones can carry. Now she is beginning to see that some things in this life are bigger and louder than she is – and she shrinks back, momentarily overwhelmed. 

Thank you for acknowledging and validating her fears and then inviting her to move right on past them. Thank you for holding her close when she feels off-balance and uncertain. But thank you, too, for all your gentle encouragement to keep a firm grip on life even when it gets scary. Thank you for inviting her to be brave – not reckless, but truly brave. 

I believe in this girl. And I believe in you. You are fully up to the challenge of raising a strong-willed child – so gracious, patient and welcoming to all of who she is. May God grant you peace and confidence as you continue to mother her (and her bigger sister) so beautifully and well. You provide a safe haven from which she will continue to fly into life, even when it gets scary. She is a gift. And so are you.

Much love,


Adding this to Amber Haines’ MotherLetters collection, designed to celebrate moms and to encourage them in this oh-so-important life journey. You can add your own words of hope and promise by checking out this link:

Get a personal letter from Diana twice a month

Sign up for *More Wondering. . . * a monthly personal letter from Diana to you, available only to email subscribers. As thanks, receive a copy of Diana's new ebook,30 Ways of Aging Gracefully.

powered by TinyLetter

To receive blog posts in your inbox, sign up below.


  1. Glenda Childers says

    What a sweet letter of encouragement.

  2. Thank you, Glenda. It was a joy to write it – even better to live it. I admire all my children’s parenting skills – they are doing it so much better than I did and I am grateful to be able to see it, up close and personal.

  3. Can I pretend this letter is just for me? I could use the encouragement in it right now.

  4. Honey, it is JUST for you. You’re the one reading it right now. If it encourages you, I’m glad. How is Ireland???

  5. Again, no words. Wow. 

  6. Dtrautwein says

    Thanks, Sheila. These kids of ours are such amazing gifts of grace in our lives, aren’t they?

  7. Yes, indeed. You know my story, right? Was only able to carry one to term (wanted six). 

    Now, through my marriage to Rich and our children’s marriages, I can claim SEVEN! 

  8. No, I did not know that story, Sheila. Makes the grace of your lovely marriage even richer and fuller, doesn’t it?

  9. So beautiful.  Such encouragement to your children.  

  10. How wonderful Sheila that you now can have those children you so wanted.  God provided.  

    I wished I could have written such a letter to my 15 y/o son who died in an accident.  You know – I still can, can’t I?

  11. Yes, you can! 

  12. Absolutely, you still can, Jan. And I am so sorry for this loss – like no other in life, I am sure. Thanks for you comments here in my space.