Dani… even before I held you in my arms, I held you in my heart. That is where you began and where you will always be. I wish I could collect the perfect words, place them in your hands, and close your fingers around them… so you could truly know.
When you were an infant you would curl up on my shoulder and I couldn’t move, I would kiss the top of your head. I had no doubt that these would be some of the sweetest moments in my life.
No man can possibly know what life means, what the world means, what anything means, until he has children and loves them. And then the whole universe changes and nothing will ever again seem exactly as it seemed before. In my eyes… that goes double for having daughters. Especially daughters as special and loving as Dani and Niki.
I want you to know that I love you every bit as much today as the day you were born. And though I may not hold you in my arms the way I did then, I always hold you safely in my thoughts and in my heart.
There is a poem that has always reminded me of you… “Happiness happens wherever she goes, thoughtfulness shines through the kindness she shows, whatever she’s doing, her sweetness comes through, she’s a beautiful person, she’s a daughter… she’s you!”
Now what would a speech to your daughter be without some advice…
- Love yourself. Make peace with who you are and where you are at this moment in time.
- Listen to your heart. Make time for yourself. Enjoy YOUR company.
- Try. Take chances. MAKE MISTAKES. Life can be messy and confusing at times, but also it’s full of surprises. The next rock in your path might be a stepping stone.
- There aren’t any shortcuts to tomorrow. You have to make your own way. To know where you’re going is only part of it. You need to know where you’ve been too. And if you ever get lost, don’t worry. The people who love you will find you. Count on it.
- When you don’t have what you want, want what you have. This is one of the most important things I share with you and a secret of contentment.
Dani… what am I wishing for you? Strength for the future, the feeling of seeing a prized dream come true, a bright carefree spirit, but also the wisdom to know in your heart what is most right for you. And always, I’m hoping that you will remember the most important by far… how much you are loved, how proud I am always, how wonderfully special you are.
Danielle, Doodlebug… I want to close with just one small simple wish… that whatever life brings, you will share all the goodness and grace that’s inside you and… always be HAPPY! Remember… you and your sister are the light of my life and the warmth in my heart.
I love you both dearly.