You are going to experience things, or witness other people experience things that are just not fair. You are going to feel this deep in your tummy all the time; outrage and fury and this white hot desire to lash out to avenge the unfairness you feel and the hurt the people you believe caused all that unfairness. You’re going to feel this fury and press hard up against it even though your mama told you that it’s a futile exercise that will never make anything go back to being balanced. Things are never going to be ‘Fair’, my Love. The Universe never promised us ‘fair’. What it does promise is that you were born with everything already living there inside of you that you are ever going to need to keep putting one foot in front of the other despite anything that life places in your path. You can’t make things fair and you can’t balance life’s pendulum. I’m pretty certain there is a very big reason, with a capital B, that the Universe keeps that pendulum swinging and you could squander so much of your beautiful, precious energy alive on this Earth trying to achieve ‘fairness’ by struggling to right wrongs that can never be undone. What you CAN do is take control of how you move on from the things that aren’t fair. You can use all the beautiful, unique gifts that were given to you to make something precious and sacred of your life in spite of all that unfairness. You can build something better from the lessons left in the rubble that unfairness leaves behind. And most importantly, baby, don’t forget to use those gifts to help others build something precious and sacred out of their rubble, too.
Lesson Number Two
I know you’re not going to like this one but you need limits. I know right now it seems like unlimited ice cream and trips to Toys R US and a collection of Barbie Dolls that rivals Hugh Hefner’s (ask Daddy to explain this reference someday, not me) seems like a dream. The tricky thing is sometimes what we think will make us the happiest doesn’t make us very happy at all. So we get confused and we just keep scrambling for more and more, trying to get to that place where there are no limits. But. No limits means there is nothing left to challenge us, my love, and the challenges are what the Universe throws at you to make sure you are growing. Notice how mama said ‘growing’ and not becoming a grown up? That’s because there is no such thing as finishing ‘growing up’. That’s both the greatest gift in life and the biggest pain in the ass sometimes (just like you and your sister). Every time you reach a limitation, you are going to stretch your capacity to embrace your creativity and strengthen your ability to turn your ideas into real action. I know right now it seems like freedom means eating an outrageous amount of sugar in my bed while binge watching shows where creepy adults you don’t know play with toys you don’t own on continuous loop on YouTube. But maybe, just maybe, you trust me this one time when I tell you that kind of freedom would just make your world very boring because ‘more’ doesn’t make better. ‘More’ of the same is just more. That kind of freedom will eventually just make your world feel very small, because you aren’t using all those unique gifts you were given to challenge your boundaries and explore all that you are capable of being and doing.
Lesson Number Three
You are not just a baby. You are not ‘only’ 7. You will not be ‘just’ 12 or ‘only’ a teenager. You were born a unique person and you know what is ok for you and what is not ok. You have a right to feel the things you feel and have your boundaries respected and you should never, ever be underestimated. That means that you can say no when it comes to your emotions and your body and that no doesn’t require an explanation or an apology along with it. Everyone’s boundaries are different. The flip side of this is that everyone else deserves to have their boundaries respected, too. Which is why you can’t shove your sister head first again in a death spiral from a standing position on the dining room table and why I’m not super enthusiastic about your feet in my ribs at 2am. Boundaries.
Lesson Number Four
The world is a beautiful, complex place. Sometimes beautiful things are soft and sometimes they’re hard. Sometimes puppies bite and break the skin and snakes have pretty patterns and no venom. Sometimes it’s easy to confuse something beautiful with something safe and vice versa. This can make the world a tricky place to navigate but remember you already have everything you need to do that right inside of you. You just have to listen and trust yourself above all else. Just because the world is beautiful, but tricky, is not a good reason to be afraid to move or to stay stuck in one place. Remember things are never going to be fair no matter where you are, so there is no reason to keep your feet and your future rooted to the ground in one place if that place no longer serves you. When you come upon an opportunity to witness something new, take it. When you feel the need to break free physically or emotionally. Do it.
Lesson Number Five
Speaking of breaking, you weren’t born broken, baby. You aren’t breaking now and you are never going to be broken. Nothing you do or that happens to you will break you and once you’ve learned from it, each experience can be let go and left in the past. Sensitive is not the same as fragile. You do not need to carry anything heavy for life. Your experiences are not life sentences. The anxious voice in your head, the one that tells you that you can’t walk into the new classroom or try the new gymnastics skill or speak out when your voice is shaking is not your voice. That anxious voice thinks it’s trying to help you stay safe from being broken by trying new experiences or opening up to new people but remember…you can never be broken or made less than by anything or anyone. When you hear the anxious voice get louder, listen closer for the quieter voice, and listen to that one. Your path is your path and you can’t screw that up no matter what. You can’t take a wrong turn, miss your boat, forget to buy that winning lottery ticket your Daddy swears is coming or otherwise screw up any opportunity that was meant for you. Your true voice, the one underneath the loud, scared one, is never going to veer you onto a path not meant for you. Trust your inner voice, the truest one. Learn to distinguish its tone as it guides you to what is meant for you and way from what is not. Listen to it above all others, even Daddy’s voice. Even mine.
Lesson Number Six
Hurt people hurt people. When Harper hits you, your first reaction will always probably be to hit her back. At least ten times a month I still want to push Auntie Kelley off a virtual bike or out of a virtual tree. I get it, baby girl. The people you love are frustrating and they can make you so, so angry. When I yell, you yell, than I yell louder and then you cry…then I cry. When the hitting and the yelling and the crying just go on and on, we feel worse and worse. Someone is always going to have to stop the hitting and the hurting before the hugs and the healing. Sometimes it’s going to feel very, very difficult to stop hitting. Sometimes, you are going to have to try to stop hitting first even when it’s not fair (remember #1?)Try baby. Try to be the first.
Lesson Number Seven
Nothing you do will ever make me love you any more or any less. Just like you were born whole and unbroken, so was my love for you. The love I give to you now was the same love I felt on the day you took your first breath and it will still be the same love I feel on the day that I take my last, which according to Harper’s very scientific calculations about death based on age and height and amount of hair on our heads will be after Daddy’s (Sorry Michael. Science.). It will be the same whether you win the Olympics or never, ever learn to do a cartwheel with your legs straight (keep practicing). Lots of times throughout your life, it may seem like pride, admiration, joy and sadness and hurt and all of the other emotions we both feel are changing the way I love you. This will never be the truth Maggie. I loved you whole on the day the Universe gifted you to me and I will love you whole all the days after, including the day you turn 7.
Happy Birthday Baby Girl.