For Ana, With All of My Love
Yesterday morning I dropped you off at school and you jumped out of the car and rushed off to meet your friends. I think you felt like you'd forgotten to say goodbye because, as you reached the door to the school, you turned around, caught my eye and waved.
I took a snapshot in my mind of your smile, and waved back with enthusiasm.
I drove on to Fairway Market and bought all of the ingredients for your 12th birthday cake.
All day long, I wrote to you in my head. I kept trying to come up with words strong enough to describe how I feel about you, how much I see in you, how proud I am of you. My eyes kept filling with tears as I thought about how much I owe you --I would be less than half the person I am now if you hadn't made me your mother.
I got up early to write to you and found that I just couldn't seem to... express myself. You know that this is an unusual state of events. (Mom Is Speechless. Alert the Media.)
I think there's just so much I want to tell you. Mistakes I made that I hope you don't make. Things I hope you'll do with fearlessness. Messages that our society gives woman that I hope you'll disregard. Things that make me happy that might make you happy, too. How blessed I feel every time I see glimpses of the person you are. How much I love being with you, singing with you, laughing with you. How my heart seems to overflow with joy and hope when I watch you stride away from me, confident and secure in who you are.
How beautiful I think you are –inside and out. You’re the real deal, Ana: you are a genuinely kind, compassionate, beautiful, intelligent, warm and funny person. You’re a great friend, you’re calm in a crisis, you’re self-deprecating but not insecure. You add so much to the world around you just by being you.
I guess that’s mostly what I want to say, actually. That although I know you do, and will strive to do, better and bigger things, in the end, the person you ARE is exactly right -- is exactly enough. It’s important not to confuse who you ARE with what you do. You will do great things, or you will do small things with great joy –that’s your choice. But who you ARE is already such a gift to the rest of us.
Happy birthday, Ana Katherine. May this year fill you with as much joy as you have given me.
And...any time you want to turn around, I'll be right here, waving back.