I have a beautiful, smart, active, curious, tall, funny, wonderful toddler.

I love her more than words can express, even when she’s driving me crazy, because when she’s driving me crazy she’s learning and expressing herself.

How do I keep her like this?

How do I let her know that everything she is is wonderful and she should stay strong and smart and curious and active and be herself all the way through her life?

I know that I lost myself during my life, that I stopped having fun sometimes and avoided things for fear of being embarrassed in front of peers. I struggle. She is so amazing I don’t want her to struggle like me. I don’t want her to get shy and hide herself because she wants to impress people.

I tell her I love her daily. I tell her she’s beautiful. I tell her how smart she is and I hope that she gets the emphasis there. I hope that she looks at my relationship with her daddy and sees that a real man will love you even if you’re outspoken and sometimes loud and if you challenge them. Real friends will laugh with you and hug you and embarrass themselves so you’re not alone.

The people who make fun of you for speaking up in class are not worth your time. The people who say nasty things about you are not people you need to impress. You are worth knowing and if they don’t thing so it’s their loss.

My daughter is the full package. She is the type of person people flock towards. She has a big smile and a great laugh and she likes to get messy and dance when there’s music and read when there are books around.

My hope for you, little girl, is that you will be the girl with scraped knees, wild hair and a big smile all the way through high school. I hope you always have adventures that make your Daddy nervous. I hope your love and excitement for life capture a boy or girl’s eye and you love the way your Daddy loves – with optimism and strength and really good hugs.

I hope you always raise your hand when you know the answers, that you get lost in stories even when other kids decide reading isn’t ‘cool,’ that you are the first on the dance floor when the music starts playing (like Mommy used to be), I hope people turn around and look at you when they hear you laugh with abandon.

I hope we instill in you the strength, love and curiosity you’ve shown at your young age. I hope you love yourself always.


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