Today, I got to thinking about how fast you are growing. I read somewhere that, when you become a parent, you should never blink. You should always keep your eyes open, you should always be an awed witness to your child growing up and becoming her own person - the person she was always meant to be. I know I will write you a lot of letters over the years but today, I want to tell you seven things I hope you will remember. These are not guidelines on how I think you should live your life because, by all means, write your own rules, and chart your own course, my love. These are just things I want you to hold dear to your heart because they will always, always be true.
1. You will always have a home to come to.
No matter where your path takes you, and wherever your dreams and aspirations bring you, know that you will always have a home to come to. True, home is where the people who love you most are, but in your case, it comes with a roof, too. Our happiest memories as a family have a physical, tangible cocoon borne out of the hard work of your parents, and I hope you know we're part of the lucky few. Home for you is not just felt, but also touched. That's a blessing.
2. You can talk to me about anything. And I mean anything.
We are only 22 years apart, anyway. There is nothing too embarrassing/crazy/horrifying for the woman you have already threw up/spit/pooped on. Tell me, I can take it. I will pass no judgement, I will listen, I will always be on your side. Always. Even if it doesn't become obvious right away. I am wired to love you unconditionally and I wouldn't want it any other way.
Which leads us to...
3. I will be your mom first, though, and your friend, second.
Trust me when I say "When in doubt, don't." If you feel uncomfortable and iffy about it, or weirded out by it - whatever "it" is - , then firmly say no, and walk away. It doesn't make you any less beautiful, smart or popular to stick to your guns and stand up for what you believe in. Believe me, girls who didn't know how to set clear boundaries for themselves and ended up regretting their rash decisions are a dime a dozen.
4. Please, for the love of God, and all things good, marry someone like your dad. Or someone like your two lolos. A combination of these three wonderful and amazing men would be golden.
Marry someone who loves you and isn't afraid to show it. Marry someone who will go to the ends of the earth for you. (Your father quit smoking for me without going back to lighting up - ever. Do you know that?) Marry someone who makes you laugh, who encourages you, who believes in you. Marry someone who cannot live without you. Marry someone who is a good provider. Marry someone who will dream and aspire with you. Marry the love of your life, your absolute best friend in the universe. I did.
5. Wear sunscreen, good underwear and real jewelry.
SPF 50, my sweet, should be part of your skin care regimen forever. There's a reason you have been wearing sunscreen every day since you were three. Wearing good underwear is a must. There is no rhyme nor reason for that. It's just what a proper lady does. And for you, my dear Kaelana, I will forego shopping for too many Charles and Keith shoes that will just fall into disrepair after three seasons. Instead, I will continue to grow my jewelry collection because someday, I will pass them on to you.
6. You are beautiful.
No matter what Hollywood, fashion magazines, the scale and the mirror tell, and will tell you.
7. You don't have to be anyone else but you.
I promise to continue to guide you and cheer you on. I will not live your life for you. I will also not live vicariously through you. I promise to let you blossom into the person and the woman that you are destined to become. I will let you make your own choices. I will protect you and I will always be there.
I wish you a happy, long, healthy, prosperous, adventure-filled, meaningful and fulfilling life.
You are my everything, and I love you so, so much.