Happy birthday, my love! Right now, you are one year old and you’ve developed the habit of calling me “Aicha.” I let it go before, but now I know that you know that my name is mommy, because you only call me Aicha when you’re upset. I see you, little girl! Anyway, there are some things that I wanted to share with you now that you’re becoming your own person, so here is my first letter to you, my daughter. This world that you have inherited can be an ugly one. I want to teach you how to prepare yourself for that harsh reality, while still enjoying the beauties of it.
You Are My Heart in Human Form.
I have so many dreams for you. I keep looking at you as you are running around in your pink dress and your bunny ears, smashing birthday cake on your face. Every time I think about you growing up in this world that discriminates against people that look like me and you, my heart sinks a little. I fear that you will not be given the opportunities you deserve, simply because of how you look and what you believe. I won’t tell you it’s okay, because it’s not. What I will say is that there is nothing wrong with you, my love. You are perfect, but you live in an imperfect world that will make you feel like you are the problem.
Despite all the challenges you might face, don’t ever give up on your dreams. For every “no,” I want you to yell “yes,” like you do now when you stand your ground and fight me and your daddy. Keep that fierce fire in you. The bravery that pushes you to try to jump off of our 3-foot bed will get you over many hurdles. You may have to work three times harder than other people sometimes, so rely on that bravery. I don’t want you to harden your heart because the world is cold to you. Every time someone hurts you, heal your heart, forgive them (and forget them), and then remember not to make someone else feel that same pain. In such a scary world: Be kind. Be patient. Be giving. But take care of yourself; don’t ever forget yourself or let someone make you forget your value. Befriend the kid that is being bullied in school. Speak up for the voiceless. Make your mark on this world so that your beauty shines brighter than the ugly you found when you entered it. I believe in you, my love.
5 Years Later…
This letter is still for you, my love! Everything I am building is to give you a step up in this world. Thank you for being my travel buddy, my slumber party BFF, and my biggest fan. I hope you remember when we taught you to say “I am smart, I am kind, I am pretty, and I love myself” because we want you to know it, say it, and live it for the rest of your life.