there are so many things i want for you. there are so many things i pray for you. as your mother, i want to protect you from every hurtful thing, and i want to give you every wonderful thing. sometimes i hope you like dance, because i intend to enroll you in dance classes at the soonest possible moment. but then i remind myself that i must accept that you will be who you were created to be, and that may involve interests that are completely different from my own. my job is to help you become the unique person God created you to be, and i pray daily that i can stay out of God's way and never inhibit your growth.
but sweet daughter, there is one thing i pray so much. i pray you are kind. there are so many lonely people in the world, and i want you to be the one to open your arms to them and welcome them. i want you to sit by the person in your class who smells a little funny, or to be the one to stand up to the mean girls who pick on another little girl because her clothes aren't as nice. i'm afraid i wasn't very good at that when i was growing up, and i am not very good at it now. i'm sure if i analyze myself enough, i'll discover that my strong desire for you to be kind is linked to my guilt that perhaps i am not kind enough, so i feel i can make restitution for that by raising you to be extra nice. i know my example to you is huge, so i promise to start practicing more kindness now, so that, for you, it becomes second nature.
people comment all the time on how friendly you are. in restaurants, at the grocery store, at church, you smile at everyone you see. don't lose that, ellery. keep smiling at everyone. never stop smiling at people just because they have different color skin than you. keep smiling at everyone, regardless of how well-off they appear to be. smile at those who look grumpy, because they probably need your smiles the most.
and be everyone's friend. don't seek out the ones who can offer you the most from friendship, but seek out those who need a friend. ultimately, our aim in this life is to become more like jesus, and jesus wasn't impressed by the popular people of his time. he sought out those whom society rejected. that's what i want to teach you to do as well.
i don't care if you're the prettiest, or the smartest, or if you're the best dancer in your ballet class. but i do hope you're the kindest. and i hope your sweet spirit inspires others to be kind, too.
and on an unrelated note, this is why we got a costco membership - to be able to purchase a huge stuffed chicken for our daughter. she loves this thing, and cuddles it constantly.