My baby Livie,
You are now a year old. If truth be known, you are twelve and a half months old. You walk everywhere, running after your brother, snatching his toys before he knows what to do. Then the two of you dissolve into a barroom brawl for the few seconds before I come over and break it up. Even at a year old, you daily give me glimpses of the woman you will be. You are fiesty. You are headstrong. You know what you want, and you will move heaven and earth to get it.
I see you, thirty years from now. I’m not quite sure what you’re wearing, whether it’s jeans and a t-shirt, or a business suit, or a uniform. You have a stack of files in one hand, a baby in the other. Your toenails are pedicured underneath the shoes you’re wearing. The room quiets as you walk in; they listen to you, even though for years behind your back they have whispered about how incapable you are. You have spent a lifetime ignoring them; this is your territory. You are in command now. You are someone’s daughter, someone’s wife, but you are, at the very core of your being, you are yourself.
And what I notice most is that you are confident.
You are still my fiesty, headstrong, brawl-with-your-much-bigger-brother baby girl, but you are a woman. You are a strong, confident, capable woman.
And oh my baby girl, what this world is going to do to you between here and there.
It is going to tell you that you cannot be too smart, or boys won’t like you. It will tell you that you cannot be too pretty or girls will hate you, but you cannot be too fat or nobody will like you at all.
The world is going to tell you that being popular is the very most important thing. The world is going to try to break you, to bend you. That girls are to do this or that, The world will tell you that you cannot play with the big boys. The world is going to try to tell you, over and over and over again, no, you can’t
And over and over and over again, my little Olivia, you will tell them yes.
Yes, I can.
And somedays you will feel like you can’t. Like the world is right. You will feel like your confidence is a mirage, like you are nothing but a fake.
Come home on those days, my baby.
Come home and we will paint our toenails together, and I will whisper in your ear words of love and grace and courage.
For this is where it starts, this is where my strong, confident, capable daughter begins. Here, on my lap, today at twelve months old. Reading books, painting our toenails, tossing a ball around the floor, running outside with your brother. What we do today, you and me and Josh, is oh so important. Your lives as adults will be built on the foundation we lay today.
The bedrock of that foundation is love.
And, oh, how I love you, my little girl.