Right now you are tucked up in bed and I have spent the last fifteen minutes staring at you. So little and so much happened in that fifteen minutes, I don’t even know where to begin.
In about two weeks, you will turn one. It’s as if I just glanced away for one tiny second, and when I looked back, you had grown into a girl. And honey, I know like startling too-bright light, that soon enough you will grow into a woman, right before my very eyes.
One day you will read this. I will give it to you when the time is right, because honey, I know that you won’t fit inside my arms forever. You won’t tug on my dress and cry to be lifted up. You won’t curl your fingers around my neck and press your tiny face into mine. One day, all that will pass, and you will face the world head on. I will be behind you, of course, but as you look out, you will see nothing but a great expanse of possibility, opportunities and life that is yours. It’s all yours. And when that happens, I want you to remember these ten things.
1. Find what your greatest passion is and swim in it, dance it in, fling yourself at it like it’s nobody’s business. If you can make money out of it, great, but never do it for that. Do it because it feeds you. Do it because it fills up parts of you that nothing else even comes close to touching. Your life and your happiness depend on it.
2. There are a billion shades of beautiful. The media wants you to buy into the one they are portraying, but let me tell you a secret. Beauty is inside. It’s in your eyes and your heart and in the love that pours from within you when you live wholeheartedly. Beauty is being strong and vulnerable. It’s being courageous and afraid. It’s fighting hard and letting go. It’s so many, many things, and it usually can’t be seen by looking in a mirror.
3. Envy is a natural emotion and jealousy is something you are bound to feel. It is, however, a wasted emotion unless it makes you inspired or motivated. Don’t allow envy to make you feel bad about yourself. We all have cracks. Use it to inspire you to greater, richer, fuller and more meaningful experiences. Be grateful for the challenge to grow.
4. Don’t date rock stars or footballers. Period.
5. Female friendships are important to start, keep and cherish. There will be parts of yourself that a man can’t quite captivate, and surrounding yourself with good female energy will nourish you like nothing else. Cry with them, dance with them, ponder with them. They are yours to cherish. They will understand you like no one else.
6. Happiness is a choice and it sits patiently, waiting for you, right in the palm of your hand, always.
7. If you have a child with a man, choose him extremely carefully. He is an equal parent to your child and he will shape them just as much as you. Your relationship needs to be strong and respectful and trusting and loving to withstand the forces of child-rearing and the challenges of a joined life. Treat this commitment with care.
8. If you prefer the company of women, that’s fine too. Your dad and I are totally cool with that. Choose her wisely though, too. Same same.
9. I will get it wrong sometimes. Sometimes, all the time. You might dislike me. You might yell and kick and scream. You might wonder how it ever came to be that you got dumped with a mother like me. Hopefully not, but you might. Remember this. I am a human being, just like you. No more, no less. I try, I love, I stumble, I fight, I hurt and the only thing I hope is that through it all – the good and the hard – you see that all I’m trying to do is love you the best I can. Since the day you were born and every day that has since passed, I’ve been feeling my way through this wild love in my heart, and I want you to know that nothing you can do will ever make it diminish. You had me the minute you landed in my arms, on that Friday morning long ago, when you looked into my eyes and filled a part of me I never knew was empty. Forgive me if I’m not everything you wanted, but know that to me, you are.
And lastly, of course,
10. Don’t tell fibs. I’ll always know.
Image from here.