My adorable, chubby-cheeked, hand-munching daughter is nearly four months old today. I wanted to write a letter for her to read someday to let her know a bit of what she was like, how she changed her mother and I, and to give her a few words of advice.
Though you’re only four months old, I’m amazed by the personality you’re already showing; we’re learning more about who you are every day. First of all, I love your passion. When you smile, you open your mouth super wide, squint your eyes and throw your head back. I love that you go all in. Don’t ever lose that passion for life; it will take you further than you can imagine.
I also love your determination. Since you were a few days old, I’ve held you as you stood on my chest. You’ve loved working at this and getting better at it. Today you can stand there for a long time, smiling a big smile. And when you go down, you always want to get right back up. I want you to remember this at every stage in your life: always get back up. Falling is part of life; falling is how we learn; falling means that we’re stretching ourselves, pushing ourselves, growing and striving to be better.
Falling is living life – getting back up is living life to its fullest.
Believe it or not, another thing I love about you is when you cry (wail) when you don’t like something or are even the slightest bit hungry (yes, you’ve confused us more than a few times, crying bloody murder for that quarter ounce of milk). But I love it because it shows me that you are always going to stand up for yourself. Whether you’ve been treated unfairly or are asked to go along with things that you know are wrong, always stand up for yourself and what you believe is right.
You know, you may be little, but you’ve already had a profound effect on my life. When I wake up now, the first thing I do is look at you. I see your closed eyes and your little lips pouting as your body moves with the rhythm of your breathing, and I can’t help but smile, reminded that all is well. My heart swells, and I remember to turn my thought to gratitude for you, for your mother and for all of the good that life has to offer.
Right now, your mother and I are setting plans in motion to be able to spend more time with you. Really, that’s all that matters to us now. We want to provide you with an environment that nurtures your learning and growth, but one that is also filled with our time, love and attention. You’ve reminded us of what is truly important in life (the love we all share) and we are so grateful to you.
As you get older, there are things that I may not say to you often, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t believe them. Like the fact that you are beautiful; you are, inside and out, and occasionally I will say so, because being a woman in our society means that you will feel pressure to be beautiful and will need to hear it. But I hope I can show you that you are so much more than what the world sees. I hope I can teach you that judging yourself and others by outward beauty is a not only a waste of time, but harmful to your self-esteem and your view of others. Your worth comes from how well you love, the kindness you express, your unique talents and what you choose to do with them. I hope you judge yourself and others by the same metrics.
I also want you to know that you don’t ever have to pursue anything just to make me proud. In the coming years, if music, sports, art or whatever activity you engage in isn’t the right fit, that’s ok. In fact, in the future, becoming a renowned scientist, author or engineer would be wonderful if that’s what you feel passionate about; but if you also have little more to show for your life than a warm home full of people that you truly love and that also love you, I would be just as proud.
In other words, pursue what you love and what feeds your soul; I will be there cheering you on.
Sometimes at night, as I hold you and swing with you on our porch, I think about what your future might be like. The world is so crazy today, with things changing faster than we can comprehend. But as I think about this crazy world, and you within it, I want for you what every parent wants; a better life than I had; more opportunities and the courage needed to take them; and I want to save you from making the same mistakes I’ve made. So though we may not always agree in the coming years, these are the motives guiding my actions toward you.
Most of all, when I think of this future world, I hope that your presence in it is a force for good. I don’t mean that I hope that you do huge, impressive things that change the world; I mean that I hope that through your actions, your kindness, your being – that through these things, you are a light to those that could use a little light in their lives.
Love you alway,