An open letter to my daughter
Dear daughter, today is the first day of the rest of your life. As you leave on your journey you are not just going on a trip. Today when you leave it is the culmination of your life’s preparations. You are not just taking on a new job, you are embarking on a new life that you built – all on your own. They say a parent’s job is to teach their children to not need them anymore. The hardest part of that job is accepting success. And success is what you have achieved. You may not be thinking that now, but each step you take is success, even if it’s not what you expected or wanted. Because with every step forward or backward is a lesson to be learned. To accept success for every step is to revel in the achievement or learn the lesson and move forward. If you do that you will always be successful. Great men and women aren’t great because of what they achieve. They are great because they learn the lessons along the way and believe they can make a difference. And you do make a difference. Believe this and you can never truly fail.
Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying, “Always bear in mind that your resolution to succeed is more important than any other.” Your success may not look like someone else’s success. At some point this may bother you or them. But that is not what is important. God says in Deuteronomy 8:18, “But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.” Success is to let God guide your every step. If in all your years at home you take away nothing else, take away this: You will never fail as long as He is your guiding hand.
Parents all over the world hold many memories of their children, some memories are stronger than others. I remember that call you made to me to tell me of your plans to move to North Carolina to continue your employment with Publix. I remember specifically the joy in your voice as you told me your plans, how excited you were that this opportunity had presented itself. But it wasn’t the joy over that that thrilled me. What thrilled me was the joy you exuded over finally knowing your place in the world, your purpose, and how relieved you were that your dad and I were on board. How could we not be? Your success and happiness overshadows any feelings we have. I’ve told you from the time you were little that all we want is for you to be happy no matter what your chosen profession. So go be happy, even if it means in North Carolina. You’ll be back to visit, and you’ll miss us like we will miss you. But you’ll build your new life with new friends and opportunities that wouldn’t necessarily happen here. So go – build it! Life is about living so make it count.
I pride myself on being a whiz with words but I find myself utterly speechless at this moment trying to finish this. I am filled with pride at the beautiful, vivacious, brilliant young woman you are. I look at pictures of you as a baby or young child and it’s so precious to me to see that look in your eyes, that spark that has now been illuminated. It’s always been there only we didn’t really know how you were going to use it. Now we know. I am so thankful that God gave me you. You have been my angel, always having faith in me no matter what. I thought telling you I had cancer was hard; this is probably more difficult than that. But I’m not saying goodbye. I’m saying until we see you again beautiful girl. Be good. Be strong. Be sure. Be humble. But most importantly, be you. I love you over and over again.