A Letter to the Daughter I Never Had
My Precious Daughter,
I used to dream about you when I was young. In my twenties, I was going to name you Kaeley, and I had no doubt that you would be smart and beautiful. I hoped that you and I would be close like your grandmother and I were, that we could talk and laugh about anything, and that I could share stories of the gentle but strong women who came before you in our family, the women whose blood runs through your veins. I thought about all of the advice I would give to you, and I have no doubt that I would want to prevent you from making the many mistakes that I did…but I like to think that I would have been wise enough to let go and allow you to fail when you needed to. Life is our best teacher, isn’t it?
There are so many things that I want to tell you. First of all, if you were here, I would love you more than life itself, just as your grandmother loved me. I would provide you with opportunities to learn and grow, to spread your wings. I have always been afraid that I would pass my issues on to you, my struggles with self-doubt, but I would do my best not to. I would tell you that being beautiful on the inside is so much more important than the temporary external beauty we humans worship. That strong is better than thin, that you are smart and can do anything you want to do, be anything you want to be. That it is okay to fail, but never stop trying if what you are attempting is good and right.
Be a person of integrity, someone who keeps her word, someone who works hard, someone who is kind and compassionate. Laugh…a lot. Your grandmother always said that being silly is what got her through the rough times- I always remember that when challenges arise. Know that you are enough, you are complete as you are, that you are more brave than you can even imagine. When you fall in love, I hope that you will have found your other half, your equal. Someone who believes in you, encourages you, challenges you to be your best…someone who makes you laugh and makes your heart do flips years after you’ve been together. Don’t settle for less, but if you do, don’t be afraid to walk away when you realize it. Life is so very short; never let anyone steal your joy- not for one minute.
I would tell you little things, wash your face every night- no matter what. Stand up tall and smile at people you meet. Be known for your friendliness, not your ego. Don’t be afraid to cry- a soft heart is a beautiful thing. Hold doors open for old people, show them kindness, listen carefully to their stories. Be kind to the creatures of the Earth, and always find the beauty around you, even when you have to look hard for it. Forgive those who hurt you- really forgive them and let it go. Have a passion and follow it; do whatever makes you light up inside. Follow your dreams…they can take you amazing places.
As for me, I would say that I am human…very human. I have made so many mistakes, but I have always done my best to learn from them and grow into a better person. I loved until it hurt, and then I loved some more. I followed my passion of teaching and performing- it never made me wealthy in a monetary sense, but, oh, how rich it made me in the most important ways. My dream for you is that you will do better than I did at this thing called life. Each generation wishes that for the next, hoping that you will stand on our shoulders to reach higher. And by reaching higher, I mean in happiness and fulfillment, in doing good things for the world- those are the real treasures in life. My heart feels so full, and there is so much more I want to say, but for now…
All my love…always.