Dear Daughter, who turns six today, Always take the long view.
Step back. See the big picture. Be circumspect. Dream big about your future, because, Baby Girl, it's going to be a bright one. Don't become so entangled in the things that demand your attention right.this.minute. You can miss all the beauty of the horizon; you can ignore a skywriter writing your name across a big blue canvas.
Take the long view because it's the hard view to take. If, in the middle of a New England February six years ago, when every orifice of my body was leaking from bringing forth this beautiful baby girl into the world, someone had told me to squint my eyes and think how small this moment was on the trajectory of child-rearing, I would have handed that person my soaked-through pajamas and cackled like a mad woman. At the time, it all felt so heavy and magnified. But that moment is so far from me now. Now you and I go to paint-your-own-pottery on a Saturday night and have big chats about what color to paint our coffee mugs.
Always take the short view.
Step closer. Examine the paint strokes. Stand in awe of the footnotes of creation. Hold a tiny caterpillar in your hands. Hold captive the attention of an otherwise distracted millennial. Don't be so intimidated by playing the long game. You are only this close to the ground for a short time. Enjoy proximity to the roses; be a part of the the small daily miracles of tying shoelaces and climbing trees.
Take the short view because it's the hard view to take. If, while examining your dimpled knuckles and smelling your intoxicating baby smell, someone told me that someday this same child would school me in dinosaur species and multiplication tables at the age of five, I would have wept. Those moments are a part of our days right now and my thankfulness for your strength of mind, character, and body is beyond words.
Today you are six. Daddy reminded me that your lap around the sun is not officially complete until much later tonight. We are holding the sand grains of time cupped gingerly in our hands, but we stand powerless to let them escape and catch flight. What impossible profundity is this gift of life where we stand frozen in this sacred moment, while holding eternity in our hearts. You enrich it all, the long view, the short view, six-times-six-times-six-fold.
Happy Birthday, Baby Girl.