Tuesday, October 22, 2013
A Letter to My Daughter on her 16th birthday
I am listening to you right now, tickling the baby, both of you dissolving into fits of laughter. It is a magical sound -- music to my heart and bringing tears to my eyes.
I love you my sweet little stubborn monkey. I can't imagine you at 16 -- I can only see you as you are today -- cheerful and happy with a stubborn streak and a rolling temper when you don't get your way; a little girl who sings the ABCs by injecting an s after every few letters (ABCD S FGK S MNOP S TQV S XYZ S); a doll baby who runs in circles screaming "Sase me! Sase me!"; a little devil who beats the crap out her brother on a regular basis; a smart little cookie who hands me her trash with a very clear "Aw Done. Put in can now Momma."
You are my sweet third baby -- I can't imagine my life without you.
I am not sure what you are at sixteen. I know how hard the teenage years can be. I know that it is easy to pretend to like what your friends do to fit it in. I know how much simpler it is to be quiet in the face of injustice. I know that it can seem better to avert your eyes when you see something you don't like.
I hope you don't do those things. I hope you don't take the easy route. Don't make your life hard just to make it hard -- no one likes a martyr -- but if the choice is what is easy and wrong, or hard and right, I hope you chose hard and right.
I hope that you have friends who will be true friends -- friends where you don't have to be clones of one another but can be friends just the same, with each of you bringing something unique to the friendship, something that makes the others stronger.
I hope you speak up in the face of injustice, that you meet what you don't like head on. I hope you know that I will ALWAYS defend you if you are speaking the truth and standing up for right.
I hope you know that I love you, even when we don't agree. That I am sure you will have interests that I don't understand or agree with -- but I will embrace them because they are yours and I love you.
I hope you have the strength to create, and the intelligence to see things beyond the narrow world view that is too often forced on us by society. I hope you can see perspective and understand true problems. I hope you can empathize and prioritize. I hope you are not afraid to ask questions and that you are not afraid to hear the word no. Failure is inevitable but it does not mean you are weak. Choosing how you will respond to that failure is what makes you strong. I hope to God you have the strength to get up and try again.
You have fighter's heart, my love. Use it for good, not evil. Use it fight for the little guy, to support those who have been deserted, to stand up to bullies, to show the world who you are.
You are important. You are smart. You are worthy. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
Fight for what matters to you. And don't ever stop.
I love you my darling girl. I hope you know you can talk to me about anything.