A Letter To My Daughter About Heartbreak

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Even though you haven’t entered the world of dating yet, I’ve thought about the moment more than you might expect. The day you choose to give your heart to someone, and the day that heart gets broken. It’s an inevitability of growing up. As much as I know you’ll recover, probably even be stronger on the other side, I so desperately want wrap you up and shelter you from the moment you’ll feel like the world has crushed you, and you think the hurt will never go away.

In that moment, I won’t say or do the right things. Partly because there’s nothing I’ll be able to say or do that will make it better, and partly because I’ll feel it all with you making it impossible to be the voice of reason. The teenage girl inside of me will remember what it feels like. I’ll try to separate my feelings from yours, but it won’t work because we never forget our first heartbreak, and the need I have to protect you from that kind of pain is something you won’t understand until you have children of your own.

Because I know these things, I want to say it all now when I can clearly articulate what I want you to know from my personal experience about how heartbreak changes you. That you won’t see it in the moment, but down the road, you’ll be thankful it happened. Here’s my attempt.

Your feelings matter. Don’t let anyone tell you they don’t. No, they won’t kill you and yes, it will get better, but the way you feel in that moment about losing someone you love is valid. In terms I know you’ll understand, you’ll go through all of the Taylor Swift phases of heartbreak. In the sadness phase of “Fifteen”, you won’t believe that you can make it to the confident phase of “We Are Never Getting Back Together.” You will.

Don’t let the pain of your first heartbreak change you. Be kind even if those around you are not, and make decisions based on what makes you happy. Not what will temporarily make you feel better. If I look back on the time after my first heartbreak, I’m not proud of who I was. Be better than me. Be confident in what I’ve always known about you – You are stronger than I ever was.

I’ll sit there, and I’ll listen for as long as you need me to listen, and because I’m your mother, the boy on the other end of your heartbreak will forever be the one who made my little girl cry. He can never win in my book. But right now, I think it’s important to tell you that some of it might be your fault. Maybe you didn’t make good choices or weren’t the best girlfriend. That’s okay. You’re young. How could you understand all that it takes to be in a committed relationship. It takes a lifetime of experiences to learn some of this stuff. Heck, there are still days that I’m far from the best wife, and your father and I are in this for life. Relationships are hard. Love is messy. It leaves you vulnerable and scared and is the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, and yet people choose to do it again every single day. Why? Because it’s worth it.

Finally, stay open. People will come and go in your life because they’re there for a reason. Sometimes to help you grow. Sometimes to teach you a little more about who you want to be, or maybe even who you don’t want to be. Don’t close yourself off out of fear that you might get hurt again. Honestly, the chances are high that this is just the first in a long string of heartbreaks, but you will survive. If I look back on my life at even the most painful of times, I wouldn’t trade them for anything because those moments led me to your father and to the honor of being your mother. When you get to the point where you find the one, everything leading up to that person fades away. Suddenly, it all make sense.

That’s everything I have for now. My own heart has broken a little just writing this letter because I can already see it coming and there’s nothing I can do to stop it. I hope you can forgive me when the words fail me that day but know that I’ll be there with pizza, insane amounts of candy, and a shoulder that will be there for you to cry on no matter how many times you need it.

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