Letter of Gratitude to My Daughter

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It is 4:51 a.m. I've been up for a bit and I'm wide awake. You are asleep. Not beside me on the pillow that you love to take over but, in your own bed. Mami should be asleep as well but, I don't know what's keeping me up.

Words. I think words are keeping me up. Words keep me company, you know. They weave themselves in my head and, by the time it's all said and done, they form a body that can be easily confused for a real person.

I use words to make art in the same way that you use paints and brushes.

Words have saved me. I have been in some pretty bad places and the power of my words always pull me out.

It is my prayer that words and art do the same for you.

You turn 9 in 10 days. And there is so much that I want to say. So many places I want my words to land so they can softly burrow themselves and grow within your soul, giving you the sustenance you need to move forward in life.

As a Mami, I feel such a responsibility to shape your world in the best way possible so that you can flourish as you make your way through this journey called life. I know that as a Black child, there will be obstacles before you that you will have to navigate and I struggle to make sure I tell you what's truth while preserving the child within. You are only 8, after all.

Words. They fail me sometimes. Because how can I express my love and admiration for you when all the words in the English and Spanish languages seem too small to contain my emotions.

At your age, you're already doing the work. Processing emotions and situations that some grown ups lack the emotional maturity to dissect. It's not easy but I see you pushing along, looking back for encouragement. I'll always be able to give you that.

Some days, I want to hold your heart and whisper: you are enough, you are complete, you are loved, because it seems that your heart carries so much doubt.

I sweep away doubt as best I can. It's like dust, though, settling in around all the spaces. It is a dance that I will have a million times over, with a smile on my face.

This is probably the part where you have unconsciously said sorry. I wish I could erase that word from your vocabulary because so often, it falls from your lips when it should never be touching them.

Apologies should only come when something has been done wrong. As I have often told you, we are learning, you and I. We cannot apologize for the things we did not know. But we can take in the lesson and do better next time.

Dr. Maya Angelou said "when you know better, you do better." It is in the knowing that things shift, not before.

I want to thank you for being such an amazing kid. Some days I feel like I might not deserve you, you're so fantastic. But, I know I do and I have. Because here you are. Ten days from turning 9, making your way through life as best you can.

I hope I am making the road easier. Laying the groundwork for you living out your purpose and doing exactly what you were meant to do on this earth. I pray that I live up to this hardest and most gratifying of jobs.

I am so thankful for you. So filled with gratitude that sometimes my heart threatens to burst.

I had no clue what words would show up when I started writing them down. I had to put them down anyway. There's a lesson there, I guess.

But it is 5:13 a.m. now and I am feeling like maybe I should try to close my eyes before the sun rises and you rise with it.

You are so loved, my child. And yes, some days when I cannot sleep, my thoughts are consumed with this fact and all I can think of is how grateful I am for you and all the ways in which you make this world better.

Happy 10th day before your birthday, Frog Princess.