You stand here finishing the last two bites of an ice cream sandwich, chocolate wafer stuck to your lips, as you lick the remainder off your fingers. You begin to shimmy around the kitchen, the sound of some old time rock and roll music playing from the CD player you brought from your room in the hopes we could dance together.
Your eyes are alight with wonder and excitement just because: because it’s a new day; because you’re eating ice cream and listening to music; because you’re unencumbered.
And I hope you never lose this light.
You alternate singing and licking your fingers while I gently remind you that there is a sink available for handwashing. You just grin and continue to twirl, and I can’t help but wonder as I watch you dance what dreams God has placed in your heart.
I hope you’ll chase them.
I hope you never settle.
I hope you chose joy over fear.
I hope you get up time and time again because you will inevitably fall.
I hope when you feel disappointed or discouraged, you’ll remember that these feelings are not the end of your story. I hope you’ll remember that every “success” story is fraught with disappointment, “mess-ups,” and perceived failures.
I hope disappointment won’t knock the breath from your lungs and make you want to give up. I hope it only serves as an opportunity to learn and as a stepping stone for future success.
But honestly, sweet girl, I hope you’ll question the definition of “success” and not allow society, friends, or even me to define it for you.
I hope you’ll pursue things you truly enjoy and not just something that makes sense. Because one day, years later, you’ll realize that doing something you don’t love really doesn’t make all that much sense after all.
I hope you never allow fear to take you out of the game and cause you to shrink back in the corner.
I hope you never feel less-than. I hope you never know the cold, relentless feeling of unworthiness. But should these feelings come, remember this: you are a child of God. You are loved. And nothing can separate you from His love.
My child, when you find yourself on your knees, and I know you will, I hope you’ll remember to look up.
And finally, I hope you’ll remember this: you can do many things in life. You can pursue many interests, chase limitless dreams, and have any number of jobs.
But who you become is always more important than what you do or what you accomplish. And “becoming” is a lifelong, challenging, but beautiful endeavor.
I love you now and always.