To Baby Girl, On the Day of Your Birth
I started writing this before you were here, Violet Mae. Before you were you, before I saw your head full of hair and your blue eyes and your precious little fingers and toes. Before your mom and dad were a mom and a dad, before I saw her little nose and mouth and his eyes looking back at me from your tiny face. Before the waiting room, before the joyful anxiousness of looking up every time someone walked by the door, craning our necks, waiting for your daddy to come tell us you were you and you were perfect.
There is no way to impart all of the wishes I have for you in a short list. What I want for you is infinite; I don’t think I could describe it if I wanted to. I certainly don’t have all of the answers, and by the time you’re old enough to read this, you’ll probably know that already. But believe it or not, I have learned a few things along the way that I’d like to pass on to you, baby girl.
- There are beautiful people in this world, and there are ugly people. The trick is to learn very quickly that this has nothing to do with their looks.
- Your mom and dad are very, very smart. You won’t always think this. In fact, you might be tempted to stop reading right here. Don’t. When they talk, listen. When they don’t talk, ask why.
- Find something you love and pursue it.
- There is something great to be seen in every single day. Sometimes it’s a beautiful rainbow and sometimes it’s simply that it’s not raining. Find the joy.
- Never be afraid to be silly. It gets harder, the older you get, to allow yourself to be silly. Don’t stop. Being silly just to do it, for the sole purpose of laughing, is a great feeling.
- You are very loved, baby girl. Not everyone is. Always remember that and consider it when you may want to judge others. It’s hard sometimes. But do it anyway.
- Never stop singing out loud. I don’t know yet if you will have the voice of an opera singer or a scalded cat. It doesn’t matter. Find music you love and belt it out. There’s few things more freeing.
- There will be days that you can’t wait until they’re over, and days that you wish would never end. It is up to you to decide whether you have more happy days than sad days.
- There are people who say the phrase “Attitude is everything,” is a cliché. Those people have bad attitudes. Don’t be one of them. See above.
- Don’t worry about other people’s opinions. You will never please everyone, so don’t try. Be nice, and be kind, but know that you won’t be able to win over everyone, no matter how hard you try. Never spend more time trying to please other people than you spend trying to make yourself happy.
- In our family, people can be loud. The same is true with most situations in life, whether it be your friendships, co-workers, or family. Learn to be loud enough to keep up, but quiet enough to make yourself heard. It’s a fine line to walk, but an important one to learn. Ask your grandpa. He does it well.
- Your grandma would bend the world for you, if she could. And because I knew her mama, I tell you this: No one will love you in the way your grandma will. In her eyes, you will never have flaws. Look at yourself through her eyes when you’re having a tough day. She’s usually right.
- Your mama is awesome, and so is your daddy. I know I already told you that they are smart, but there are a lot of smart people that aren’t so awesome. Your parents will undoubtedly teach you the difference, and you won’t always believe them, but this is one of those circumstances you just have to trust me on.
- Every year, on your birthday, take a moment to remember that in 2014, the day you were born, was the happiest day in the lives of so many people. The moment you were born, the world tilted in a beautiful way. I don’t say this as a burden, baby girl, but as a reminder. You are special. You are important. You are amazing. And you are so, so loved.
I know you’ll be happy, because I know your parents. I watched them today, as new parents, gauging and learning your moods and noises as you were only a few hours old. They never faltered, because they already know you; you’re the best parts of both of them. I watched your daddy be gentle with your mama and make her laugh in the same minute and I watched your mama make you both smile just by being her; to have parents that love like yours do – it’s a precious thing, baby girl. It’s one of the many things you’ll learn. In the space of moments, you became the center of their world and the heart of them both.
There are so many things I wish for you, Violet Mae. I can’t wait to see who you will become.