Wednesday, November 7, 2012
A letter to my daughter... a letter to my son
To my daughter,
Just the thought of putting down words that you will someday read brings tears to my eyes. There is so much I want to say and so much I want to share with you...
Let's start with telling you that your daddy & I always wanted to have a little girl. When we found out that you were no longer a figment of our imagination and you were really coming, we were over the moon. To think in nine short months we would get to meet you... and now we are less than a week away. I have to tell you... our journey is different than most, but that is okay because that's what gets us to today. And today is a beautiful day.
We found out when you were only 33 weeks old and still in mommy's tummy that your arms and legs were going to be shorter than average throughout your life. At first, we were very sad. Sad for you that you were going to be different and sad for us too. We were worried about complications, what your life would be like and how people would treat you. We were worried about how we would be as parents, if we could be good role models to you and how we would handle your differences. Sweetie, we were never sad about you. You and your spirit inspired us to make some important decisions and quickly. Your daddy & I decided that we can continue to be sad and feel bad for you or we could make the right choice and give you the best life that we know how and teach you that your differences are not weaknesses but strengths.
And that may not make a lot of sense. How could your arms and legs being shorter be a strength? Well, I have a secret to tell you. Before you were even born we realized something very special about you. Something that I struggled day after day to find the perfect word to explain... until one day Nana found that word and I knew immediately it was your word: extraordinary. You, my dear, are extraordinary. When our family, friends, communities and even strangers found out about you... they were moved. You wiggled your way into their hearts and were determined to never leave. You reminded them about what is important in life. You made them believers in triumph and how obstacles can be overcome. You showed them the importance of "community" and you encouraged them to reach out to us. You strengthened their faith and reminded them how God takes care of us all no matter what. And you made believers out of me & your daddy. You showed us how much we can rely on others and how much people care. You made us believe in each other and most importantly... in you.
You see, you have already touched so many lives... and all before your first breath of air. God has such big plans for you and your life. Never forget that. You were put here on Earth for a very divine purpose and baby girl, you started fulfilling that purpose before you could have ever known. Just as your daddy & I feel we have an obligation to share your story with the world and teach people about accepting and celebrating differences, we feel you have an obligation to touch peoples' lives too. And the amazing thing is... all you have to do is be yourself and give a little smile.
We are not going to tell you that your journey is going to be easy. There are going to be times when you will wish you were like everyone else. You may be sad and you may wonder why this was your fate. Just know that it is okay to have those feelings. We will always be here for you with an army of those surrounding us ready to love and support you in whatever you may need. Nothing in life worth living for was ever easy. And how do you become the person you want to become without opportunities to be challenged along the way? Embrace these challenges and know you will be better for it. Not to spoil the ending... but your journey is unfolding exactly as it should be and everything is going to be okay. Better than okay.
And just remember, your mommy & daddy, family, friends and God love you just the way you are. And we want you to love you just the way you are too. Be of good courage and He will strengthen your heart (Psalms 31:24). All that matters is what is in your heart. Fill your heart with joy and it will spill over onto everyone else. Know that you are so blessed and God has given you so many talents. It is up to you to unlock the doors to those talents and let them come out to play. You are capable of wonderful things. Yes you are... we have already witnessed it.
And what you do in this world is up to you.
"If you can imagine it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it."
~ William Arthur Ward
So as you go through life, hold your head up high and feel confident in knowing just how extraordinary you are. For before you were even born you were so loved by so many. Never before was there ever a YOU in this world. YOU are the one everyone is excited to meet. You were called angel, miracle, princess and a blessing by so many people before you ever opened your eyes. You will always be a symbol of hope, of love and of life. But to me & your daddy, you will always be ours... our baby girl. And love you we will... always and forever... to the moon and back.
To my son,
From the moment I knew you were going to be a big brother, my heart rejoiced for you. What an honor in life to get to grow up with with the title of "big brother." With this title comes lots of things: responsibility, fun and the occasional squabble. (Occasional is me being optimistic here.) Well let me tell you... the key to being a good big brother is that word responsibility. All big brothers are responsible for teaching, helping and loving their little sisters. And I have no doubt in my mind that you will embrace these tasks wholeheartedly.
But, Clay... there is something else you should know. Your sister isn't like other little sisters. She is smaller, shorter and she will always be that way. When you are young, you won't even notice. But there will come a time in your life when you will understand that your little sister is different. What your daddy & I want you to know is that different doesn't mean anything other than that. In our house, different will always be said with a smile. Different will always define who we are and we will take on that word with pride. Different will never mean wrong or bad. Your daddy & I will spend our lifetime teaching you and others that different is beautiful.
And as your little sister's big brother, that word responsibility will take on more meaning. You see, she will be loved by you and she will look up to you. You will be such an influence in her life now and always. Know that if you show her respect, so will others. You are such a natural-born leader, we know that you will have no problems in leading the charge. But this is your journey too. And we know that some days are going to be harder than others. Your daddy & I promise to always be here for you. And so will so many others.
Over the course of your two years here on Earth, you have surprised many people... especially your daddy & I. There have been many wonderful words people have used to describe you, but the one I hear on a daily basis is: smart. And just as it is every parents' duty to discover their child's talents... we feel we already know yours. Clay, your ability to remember and learn and teach are talents that God has blessed you with. Don't think this happened by accident. You should know that God doesn't work that way. He gave you these talents for a reason and He will reveal His purpose for you.
Your daddy & I want to educate everyone one day at a time about what it is that makes your sister different and how we can all learn something from that. We hope you allow your experiences to light your own way... sharing your story and moving others' to be better. You were given a gift, just like your sister, to have the ability to change the world.
More than anything... your daddy & I feel so blessed to have you as our son. You have taught us what it means to love even when your heart feels like it couldn't possibly hold any more love, it expands in a way to make room for more. Your smile melts our worries away and your laugh makes us wonder if there is anything in life that sounds sweeter. Thank you for being a light in our lives and we look forward to watching you shine on and on as you wish upon your star. We love you big boy!