Life was easier when my kids were little. They fell down and scraped their knee and I came to the rescue. I was always there with warm arms, words of consolation, and a Snoopy bandage. It was so simple. Mom could always make things better. But then they became teenagers and hormones and swinging emotions complicated things. I could not kiss away those wounds, and worse yet, my advice became suspect and often prompted the dreaded teenage roll of the eye.
Then came college and more separation, both physical and emotional. I refrained from calling to see if they were safely in their dorm rooms at night. I no longer knew their friends. They were no longer sleeping right down the hall. Safe. Late at night, lying in my bed and staring at the ceiling, all I could do was pray for their safety. So I did. Often.
One night my youngest daughter called home from college in tears. At the time, she was attending Indiana University, a little over three hours from our home. She had been dating the same guy for about three years and was in that terrible stage when you realize the relationship is doomed, but you cannot bring yourself to end it because you don’t want to hurt the other person. To make matters worse, she had just met another man and was totally infatuated with him.
Immediately, I started thinking selfishly. Her current boyfriend was a nice guy, but he lived in California. Selfishly, I was still hoping that she would meet someone from Indiana and eventually end up living down the road from me. So when I asked where Guy Number Two lived, the answer was a bit of a surprise. Denmark. As in across the world and way far away from Indiana. That Denmark. Worse yet, she seemed to be just crazy about the guy.
I listened to her on the phone as she cried and longed to wrap my arms around her and tell her that everything would be okay. Only I didn’t know if it would be okay, so how could I lie? I didn’t think California Guy was right for her, but I couldn’t tell her that. She had to discover that for herself. And I certainly didn’t think Denmark Guy was right for her, based solely on location. Denmark?! She cried some more, and we talked some more, and then I got off the phone and cried a little too.
That night, I had a nightmare about her and woke up at 3 a.m. Shaken, I got out of bed, went to my computer and sent her an email. I had no easy answers for her. I couldn’t tell her what to do. The only thing I could tell her is what I have learned about love. And so I did. I poured my heart out to her in a very long email. I told her what I have learned about love. I told her what I knew to be true. I shared wisdom born of my own mistakes and heartache. And then, emotionally exhausted, I went to bed.
The next morning she called me and told me that she loved the email. She thanked me and, before long, she started sending that email to friends who were struggling in relationships. Soon, a network of young women were sending this email to one another. At the time, my daughter told me, “This should be a book for women to give to each other.” I dismissed that notion, but I was thrilled that she placed so much value on my email to her. Sometimes, as a parent, you get it right.
Fast forward to a few months ago. As an Indie Author, I had just published my first novel, Life is But a Dream, in late January. My second novel, Broken Resolutions, was published in April. The first novel had already far exceeded all of my expectations for sales, and the second novel was just beginning to take off. I was thinking about my next writing project when my daughter’s words came to me – This should be a book. And it suddenly hit me – with the revolution of Indie Publishing, these words of love and encouragement could be a book! I thought that perhaps if I put these words in the form of a book, they might comfort and encourage another woman going through a tough time. Perhaps a friend might pass the book along to another friend. Perhaps a mother might give the book to her own daughter. An aunt to a niece. A grandmother to her granddaughter. I asked my daughter what she thought about the idea, and she loved it. After all, it was her idea.
As I began to think of how to illustrate the book, I immediately thought of little girls – even though the intended audience for this book is women. Because I believe every woman is a little girl at heart. I also believe when we are children, we know how to love. It is only as we become adults, that we often lose our way. I found some great photos of children for illustration and then created an absolutely adorable cover.
Like the email, the book is now finding its way into the hands of women, and it is often given as a gift – from one woman to another. It is available for your Kindle or Nook, but my favorite is the paperback version with that great pink cover. As I write this, I am looking at a copy of the book on my own bookshelf. There is something so beautiful and so strong in that little girl’s expression. She reminds me of my youngest daughter. The daughter who inspired the email and now this book. The daughter who married the man of her dreams last December in a beautiful fairytale princess wedding in our lake home. The daughter who now lives in Denmark.
The ebook version of You Don’t Need A Prince: A Letter To My Daughter by Cheryl Shireman has just been reduced to 99 cents for the upcoming holiday seasons. Give it to a woman in your life (maybe yourself!).
I wrote this post originally for Sarah Woodbury Haug’s website http://www.sarahwoodbury.com/ . Thank you Sarah!
Cheryl Shireman is the bestselling author of several novels, including Broken Resolutions, the Life is But a Dream series, and the Cooper Moon series. She is also the author of ten books for toddlers including the eight Let’s Learn About series focusing on different animals and I Love You When: For Girls and I Love You When: For Boys.