Dear little girls,
Today you are two years old. Today, you have been on this planet for 730 days, breathing the air that I breathe and seeing the same sun, moon, and stars as me. Two years ago on this day, you entered this world with screams and cries and red, squished faces, and you forever changed our lives.
Every single year, we will celebrate you, simply because you did it. You made it through another year, and sometimes, dear, little girls, making it through a year will be tough. When you’re old and grey, you will look back on your years and you will remember the good ones, and the bad ones, the ones full of hurt and nights full of long, gutted sobs, and the ones full of surprise and romantic, warm enlightenment. Listen to me, little girls. Listen to aunt Leah: All of these years are good.
There will be people- lots of people- who will try to tell you what is good and what is bad. There will be lots of people who will try to tell you that you’re something different than what you actually are. Don’t listen to them, little girls. You will know what is good because good lives inside of you. When something is bad, you will feel it. It will feel weird in your stomach, and you won’t feel like yourselfÂ when it’s around. Listen to yourself. Trust yourself. You are so, so wise.
One day, somebody will hurt you. They will hurt you so badly that you feel like you can’t go on another day. This hurt will last awhile, and you will want to even stay in bed sometimesÂ because facing the world will feel impossible. Just know, little girls, that this pain will pass. The hurt will leave, and you will feel like yourself again. It might take time- some booboos will take longer than others to get heal- but you will get over it, little girls. You are so, so strong.
One day, you will find something that excites you. It might be a class, or a job, or an adventure, or a country. People will try to tell you that it’s silly to be excited over such a thing, but listen to me little girls…it’s okay to get excited over silly things. So get excited. Jump up and down, and giggle and clap your hands. Cry, even, if your excitement is that strong. Do whatever you feel like doing in that moment, because this is your moment, little girls. This is a moment you will remember. You are so, so joyful.
One day, you will meet a boy. Maybe it will be totally random, like at the supermarket or on a Tuesday morning. You will meet this boy, and you will love this boy. And he will love you. And everything will seem perfect, until it’s not, and you are left feeling insecure and alone. In that moment, little girls, knowÂ that you have as much worth as you did when he loved you.Â The pain of loss will go away and you will move forward, learning fromÂ your mistakes and from his. You will be stronger for the next boyÂ because there will be another one. You will love again. You are so, so resilient.
One day, youÂ witness something awful. It might be something that somebody said to somebody else, or a look that they gave them or a name that they called them. This will bother you, little girls, and it should. This is called injustice, and the desire to fight against it lives deep inside of you. Stand up for the people around you. Fight for those less fortunate than you. And surround yourself with people who feel the same. This won’t be easy, and your voice will make some people mad, but that’s okay. Use your voice to do what’s right. You are so, so powerful.
One day, little girls, you will feel really bad about yourself. You won’t feel pretty, or you won’t feel skinny, and you’ll feelÂ really, really gross. You might even say that you hate yourself, hate the way that you look or wish that you could be somebody else. In these moments, little girls, remember that you were made perfectly. RememberÂ that all of those nasty thoughts are lies. Remember that you are not a mistake. You are so, so beautiful.
One day, you will feel exhausted. Life will be hard, and you will feel like you can’t go on. You will feel like everything bad happens to you, and that all the good stuff happens to other people. In this moment, take a deep breath. You aren’t alone. You aren’t forgotten. Good things are coming, and life will get better. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon. You are so, so patient.
And then one day, one beautiful, silly, dreamy day, everything will feel right. The world will feel good, and your brain will be thinking amazing, intelligent, brilliant things. You will feel like nothing can stop you. You will smile at strangers and laugh for no reason. You’ll feel warm, even if there is snow on the ground. In that moment, let yourself feel overcome with happiness for absolutely no reason at all. Why? Because you are happy, excited, and full of joy.Â When this happens, little girls, know that this is the true you. The lonely or frustrated orÂ depressed- that’s not you. Sometimes you can get lost in it, but sadness isn’t your path. You are so full of purpose. So full of life. So full of all of the good things that make you, you.
You will have thousandsÂ of more days, little girls. Some will be good, and some will be bad. Some will make you cry because they’re so happy, and some will make you cry because they’re so sad. But those days, little girls, will make you who you are. Good will come out of every single day if you let it. And you will let it. Because you are so wise. And strong. And joyful. And resilient. And powerful. And beautiful. Â And patient.
But you know what else you are, little girls?
You are loved. You are so, so loved. So in those dark moments, when the world seems hard, and in the good moments when the world feels perfect, you will be learning and growing and becoming a better version of yourself. Love will cover you through your whole life. Sometimes it will come from your mom and dad, and you’ll hate itÂ because you’ll feel like they’re wrong. And sometimes it will come from God, who is protecting you from something, and you’ll feel frustratedÂ because it will feel harsh and lonely. But little girls, my sweet, little girls, it’s love. And love will always protect you. And it will never ask you to become a lesser version of yourself. And it will always propel you to greater things. And you will always, always, always have it.Â And it will always have you.
Happy birthday, Harper.
Happy birthday, Brooklynn.