On this day three years ago, our lives changed forever. You were born. Future Cardiologist now had a baby sister, and your Father and I had a little princess.
From the very beginning you have been... a challenge. While pregnant with you, I managed to lose 40 pounds. I also had my first experience with morning sickness (more like all-day-long sickness). You proved yourself to be my daughter (and therefore very impatient) by making your entrance into the world four weeks early.
From the start you had the entire family wrapped around your little finger. Did you know that your Grandpa actually quit smoking (after more than thirty years) just because he didn't want to smell like smoke around you? The entire family was smitten. Pink frilly clothing was arriving at our house by the truckload. Life in the house was so peaceful for the first several weeks... You were such a good baby, you slept through the night from the first week (another trait you inherited from your Mother), you took were so quiet that more times than I want to admit I checked to make sure you were breathing.
Then the colic hit. You screamed for three months straight. Yep. You are definitely my daughter.
Your "attitude" as we referred to it, never really went away. When you didn't get what you wanted or one of the adults around you dared to tell you "no" you would throw a fit and fall in it. Case in point:
And of course my personal favorite, taken shortly before you were to walk down the aisle at your Uncle's wedding:
Needless to say you spent the wedding in the car with your Papa. You are one headstrong little girl. I hope that you carry some of that into your adult relationships, I wont have to worry about people walking all over you. Somehow I don't think it will be a problem.
Sweetheart, you can throw a tantrum with the best of them, but when you smile... Wow. You light up a room.
Her first Halloween.Now I want to share some things that I've learned with you. Most of which I'm sure you'll ignore until you have the opportunity to learn it on your own (as I did).
Be honest in everything you do, both with yourself and others. Being honest is the only way to keep a clean conscious. Lying to yourself is just as destructive as lying to others. One lie on its own doesn't seem significant, but believe me, you'll end up lying to cover for the previous lies. And never every lie to your Mother, because I'll know. Trust me on this. I inherited this talent from your Grandmother.
Pay attention in school. Let me repeat that one. PAY ATTENTION IN SCHOOL. I couldn't be any more serious about this one. An education is so very important. Your future depends on it. You can be anything in this world that you want to be as long as you have a good education behind you. Becoming a Doctor is significantly harder if you blew off high school, and didn't take college seriously.
Money pays the bills, but it's not everything. I know what you're thinking, Mom is nuts, right? I know, it can buy you nice things, it can provide you with opportunities you wouldn't have otherwise... But baby, believe me, it can't bring you true long term happiness. Long term happiness starts inside you. Being happy with yourself first is the key.
Have respect for yourself. Stand up for yourself.
When you say that you are going to do something, do it.
Know that in life there will be brick walls. I've learned from a wise person that brick walls are there for a reason: They let us prove how badly we want something.
Find something that you LOVE to do. Then find a way to make money doing it. What I mean by this is find a job that you love. There is nothing more miserable than dreading waking up in the morning because you hate your job. Along the same lines, don't let anyone tell you that you can't do something, or that you shouldn't do something because you happen to be female. Your Mother happens to be an EMT (Hopefully by the time you're reading this I've broken down my own personal brick wall and I'm a Medic), one of few women working in an industry dominated by men. I had several folks tell me that I should find a more suitable job. A girl shouldn't work in EMS. A mother should be home taking care of her children. My belief is that in order to take care of her children a mother needs to take care of herself. A happy Mom makes for a happier family. I hope that I can instill that in you.
Last but not least... Know that I am always here for you. I am the only person in this world who you can tell absolutely anything to without having to worry that you'll lose my respect and love. I would walk through fire for you and your brother. If you ever find yourself in a position where you don't know what to do, where you need help, or just someone to vent to, know that I am always here for you. I may not have the answers, but I'll help you find them.
So that's it, sweetheart. Happy Birthday. I thank God every day for the gift he gave us in you. I hope some day you'll read this, and take some of my advice to heart and know that I want the very best for both you and your Brother.
I love you, Baby Girl,