My sweet challenging, headstrong little toddler. I’ve been thinking a lot about this letter to you, knowing that it was almost time for another one. When I thought of what I wanted to say to you, I looked at you now at 21 months, I imagined you at five and at fifteen and at thirty five. I imagined you and I walked through our lives, through our hardships and our pain, through your tears and your laughter. Through your highs and your lows. And I thought of the things I want you to know… now and fifty years from now.
So here they are… the 50 things that I want you to know, always.
1. You are capable of anything.
2. Even in your weakest of hours, you will find strength that will surprise you. But it will never surprise me.
3. There is nothing more beautiful than a genuine smile.
4. Kindness is always the answer.
5. Always stand up for yourselves and for those who can’t stand up for themselves (and even for those who can).
6. Never be afraid to rock the boat. Rocking the boat creates change. Change is good. Change is necessary for growth.
7. If ever in doubt, ask. There is no shame in not knowing.
8. Trust your gut. Your instincts will never fail you.
9. Dream big, for yourself and for your world.
10. Life is meant be lived, not planned.
11. You are beautiful, without makeup, without fashion, without changing yourself.
12. Education opens your eyes and broadens your mind.
13. A true apology is never a sign of weakness.
14. Great women are everywhere and so are great men. Just look around you.
15. Racism is never acceptable.
16. Neither is sexism or homophobia.
17. There is no shame in being a strong, powerful, thoughtful woman who cries.
18. Sometimes ice-cream and a soppy movie is the only way to end the day.
19. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
20. Challenges are never to be avoided.
21. You may not be the most privileged in your class. But in the grand scheme of things you come from great privilege. Appreciate it.
22. You are not better (or worse) than any other human on this planet. Don’t ever let anyone ever tell you any different.
23. Never forget or turn your back on where you come from. Both cultures. Both languages. Your history is important.
24. Never be afraid of being vulnerable. There is no shame in feeling.
25. Good friends are hard to find, hang on to them… even through the storms.
26. Not everyone will love you and that’s OK. The ones who do are the ones you keep close.
27. You do not have to define yourself by a profession.
28. “Mean girls” will exist at every stage in your life. You do not have to hide from them and you DO NOT have to become one.
29. Let yourself fall in love easily, love is the greatest feeling of all… even when it doesn’t last.
30. A good man will never be threatened by your strength, your intelligence or your independence.
31. Sometimes the truth hurts, but it’s always better than a lie.
32. Life isn’t easy, but it is joyful.
33. Other peoples opinions of you can never define you.
34. Giving always feels better than receiving.
35. Never be afraid to make mistakes. I make mistakes constantly. I learn something every time.
36. Pretty pillows and fancy furniture is nice to have, but it doesn’t mean much in the end…
37. So you think, therefore you are. Be kind to yourself.
38. You are so much more than your body and your face. Don’t let people define you by your beauty or by your weight.
39. You are a gift to the world. Your story matters.
40. Travel will teach you more than you can ever learn from standing still
41. You can always come home.
42. Nothing worth having comes without hard work.
43. You are never to big for me to hold you when you cry.
44. Cleaning the house in your underwear with loud music playing is the only way to do it and still have fun.
45. No job is beneath you.
46. Food is meant to be eaten and loved and enjoyed.
47. Share what you have, everything is better with friends.
48. You can feel lonely in the most crowded of rooms.
49. I am only ever a phone call away.
50. Your life is only what YOU make it. Make it a great one.
I love you more fiercely, more deeply and more unconditionally than you will ever truly know. No matter how far you roam or how different we become, I will always, always be on your team. Thank you for everything you have and continue to teach me. You are truly the most wonderful person in my world and you have forever changed me.