Today is your 2nd birthday. It would be terribly cliche of me to say how fast this little milestone has come around, how time seems to be rushing by in fast forward, how quickly children grow and change and how much we long to hold on… just a little longer. It would be cliche, perhaps, but also true.
I’ve been writing you letters every three months since the day you were born. Letters of love and hope. Letters through challenge and through great joy. And here we are again. Another three months, another year gone…
I’ve been thinking a lot about growing up. Not just you, but me too. I too have an awful lot of growing up to do. I look around at the people in our lives and I often wonder if any of us grow up at all. We take on debt and marriages and divorces and children and stress; and we call it growing up. But it’s not so much growing up is it? Age doesn’t define wisdom, much like grades don’t define intellegence. I don’t know if we ever grow up, but we do grow old. I watch my own family, my parents, grow older and I feel the fist around my heart when I think of where we all go from here. A panic of sorts. As if time is slipping away. But it’s not. There is no slipping. We have an allocated amount of time and what we do with it is our choice. My own family, your extended family is frought with issues but there is a lot of love there too.
Broken families are hard work. We are all torn apart most of the time, too proud and too vulnerable to come together in truth. Different creatures bound together by blood and history. Much like we never grow up, we never truly leave home either. The homes and the people we spend our childhoods with are in us, forever. You can’t run from your past, you carry it inside you, no matter where you go, no matter how far you run. Accept any pain that you get dealt (and I hope it will be minimal) with honesty and empathy.
You are strong and bold and powerful… and when you are not… I will be right here.
I will share with you the details of my life to both teach you and protect you. The more you know of me, the more you will know of yourself. My story is where you began… where you go from there will be up to you.
I feel like we are at the cusp of something, teetering on the edge, close enough to change that we must plow forward, but far enough from change that I know the road is still long and I’m tired. I’m tired. But you, you are not. You tell me a thousand times a day, that you are not tired. And so I get up and we find adventures in the smallest moments and joy even when we are close to the edge.
Only bad things happen quickly. Life can be torn down with one fell swoop… and it happens, when you least expect it… but good things. Good things take slow and careful steps in the same direction. It takes time and patience to become the people we wish to be. It takes commitment and lots of mistakes along the way. It is a push against society, it is a push against the norm, and it’s hard. To do instead of to say. To be instead of be seen. To build instead of destroy. To fix instead of consume… to invest in ourselves. It takes time to change a lifetime of bad habits. It takes time to make good things happen.
We’ve got time.
The most important lesson that I’m learning, slowly and surely these days is such a simple one. We are what we do. It’s so simple in theory and in practice, but so hard to remember. We are what we do. Words are only words, we can make promises and decisions and stories but if we don’t do them, they are nothing. You are what you do… Allow yourself to be challenged, because challenge brings change and change is nothing to be afraid of.
Change is the very thing that makes us great.
On your 2nd birthday you are many things. You are laughter and you are determination. You are serious and you are a clown. You are kind and you are frustrated. You are honest and gentle and loved. So very, very loved.
Rock on, little lady… You’re an amazing life-changing little creature. You are powerful and compassionate and a wildly strange tiny human. I hope you harness all your power and weirdness and do great things for the world. I know you’ve got it in you.
It’s been a fabulous year watching you go from baby to little girl, let’s make this next year even better. I love you, just as much as I did the day I discovered you were growing inside me, just as much as the very first day I held you, two years ago… but also, I love you much more.
Happy Valentines, my little love.