A little while ago I decided I wanted to write a letter to our child-on-the-way. I ran it by my wife, who liked it, but then there was the process of making sure I’d never lose it. I tend to lose things. So, here we are. I’m putting this letter up on my blog for two reasons. Firstly, it will always be here for me to grab when our girl is old enough to read it. Secondly, it was a good writing exercise, and I wanted to share it with my readers! I hope you all take something from it, or just enjoy it at the very least.
As for the Strange Places short story series, part three will be my next post. So stay tuned for that!
It’s 2019, and at the end of the year you’ll be joining our world. I won’t call you by name in this letter because your mother and I think you should know your own name before the world does. Whenever you come to read this letter, I’m sure that Victoria and I will be much different than we are now—hopefully wiser and more patient and just as fun-loving and embarrassing. But I want to give you, our forthcoming daughter, a snapshot of where we are today, what I want for you, and what I hope for you once you start walking, talking, learning, and growing.
The day I’m writing this, your mom and I are going to see the Downton Abbey movie. It’s based off the first TV show your mother shared with me. It’s a silly thing to get emotional about, but I can’t help but get teary-eyed when I think about that first year she and I were friends just watching shows together. Now, nearly four years later, we’re married and preparing to bring you into our circus. This movie feels like a full circle moment for us, but also, you won’t be watching the show or the movie until you’re a full grown adult! And if we catch you watching it, your screen privileges are revoked! Only books for you! Hopefully you love books, though… Whatever, we’ll deal with it as it comes. You can probably watch it earlier than that, I don’t know. Ask your mother.
Yesterday was grocery day. We’re trying to eat healthier, buying a lot more produce and fresh foods to be an example for you. But I did sneak a bag of candy corn into the kart; no, your parents aren’t perfect. I was at the store alone, because your mother and I decided it was best for me to go alone. I asked if she wanted to go, and she said, “Not really. Is that okay?” I gently breathed a smile out. “Yeah,” I said. “Sometimes it feels like when we go to the store together we suddenly become vastly different people with different goals in life.” We shared a laugh because if our biggest arguments are over whether or not I put too many Lil’ Smokies in the kart, then we’re doing just great. Oh, and Lil’ Smokies are like tiny hot dogs. What’s a hot dog? That’s harder to explain, actually…
Anyway that’s enough about us, let’s talk about you. Here’s the thing, kid, the road to your mother and I having a female heir to whatever mountain we’ve planted our flag in has been a long one. Women throughout history have fought for your right to decide your own fate, to wear your favorite clothes, to vote and work and own property, to run the same race as everyone else, and to be the woman you’ll be. I don’t say this with any levity: Take advantage of the rights those women have won you. Victoria and I will do everything we can to instill you with honor, with principles and love-conscious piety, and with a joyful heart. But when you’ve gained a mind of your own and developed your own opinions, be the youest you can be. Don’t ever bend or break to another person’s idea of you, because what matters is that you be the you that you want to be and the you that God wants you to be. Take your stands, fight your fights, and love yourself.
When you get older, you might feel as though your mother and I have expectations of you, perhaps different expectations. Maybe we do; it’s a common downfall of parents, pushing their own passions onto their kids. We’ll try our best not to do all that, but in case we do, know this: Here, in 2019, we hope you don’t care what we “expect” of you in your career or your passions. What should you do? Do something that makes you feel fulfilled. If you can be happy, serve God, and live life to its fullest without a college degree, then you don’t need to bring one home. If you want a degree, or you want to do something that you need a degree for, then you’d better get your butt in a good school and get good grades. We’ll help you however we can, and we won’t expect anything in return except for a child who loves herself and is good at what she’s good at. Just remember: You’re in the show up and work business, not the results business.
Finally, my daughter, I hope you’re picky with your friends. Friends are one of the most important things in life, sometimes even more important than family—more so when you’re older. I wouldn’t be here, with your mother or with you, if it weren’t for the friends that kept my chin up when I was down. Choose friends who are supportive, who will pull you up short when you’re headed down the wrong street, and who will give you the push you need when you’re going in the right direction. Choose friends that will hold your hand when you need it, and punch you in the arm when you really need it. And if you’re anything like your mother or I, you’ll need a punch in the arm every now and then. When one of those friends becomes something more and you leave our home to make your own, just remember that there are three things that matter more than anything else: faith, kindness, and honesty. Nothing else matters as much as these–not their looks, their family, or their money.
I think that’s all I have to say right now… But I’m a talker, so I’m sure we’ll have a lot of long chats over the next few dozen years. Keep this with you. Read it often. Never forget that your mother and I love you. We love you from the hearts of our bottom.
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The leaves are changing, and that means have a wonderful Fall!