This past November schools in our district were closed the Friday before Thanksgiving Break because of smoke smothering the valley from the nearby Camp Fires. For that entire week, recess and lunch were held indoors. Soccer practices and games were cancelled, and I made us drive to school instead of walk. In the mornings, we listened to the NPR podcast for updates on fire containment. We watch coverage of the destructions in the early evenings on the nightly news. We prayed for the firefighters protecting our beloved state and the victims losing all of their possessions around the dinner table. We thanked God each night for our house and our toothbrushes and our beds and our health.
Life moved on, as it always does and one day in December, during our morning school drop-off circuit, while we were singing to the Hamilton soundtrack, you asked if you could donate your birthday presents to the fire victims.
And this, my darling girl, is a perfect illustration of your personality: unbelievably kind, generous, thoughtful and highly empathetic.
In the end, we had a Hamilton birthday party, at the ballet studio where you take classes. We danced to Hamilton music and ate cupcakes topped with Hamilton quotes. Everyone brought ballet leotards, tights and ballet slippers, to give to girls who lost their studio and their belongings in Paradise, CA.
Lily, at seven years old you are wise beyond your years. Besides this very generous gift, you have recently taken a liking to all things Alexander Hamilton. You not only love the Broadway soundtrack, but reading all manners of biographies about him and that time period. Not many first graders spend an afternoon contemplating the Democratic-Republican party opposing the centralizing policies of the Federalist Party. But just so we are clear, you are also currently obsessed with bike riding, cartwheels and Harry Potter. It’s all about balance, right?
I have been struggling with exactly what to say to you this year. I love watching you become the girl you are. The girl with the larger than life heart, but I struggle with helping and teaching you how to handle all these big emotions. Then, this morning, as I walked up the steps of our front walkway, I noticed this small weed that sprouted little white flowers. They are small, and few, if any, people will notice them or care. But I stopped to admire them in wonder. I find these flowers beautiful.
There is a Native American Proverb, "may your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in beauty and joy of each new day." Wildflowers are pretty, and stubbornly determined, each year to grow and bloom between the cracks in concrete. They are resilient, yet vulnerable.
And you, my sweet girl, you belong among the wildflowers. Mon petit bourdon, my wish for you is to grow wild and free, tall and brave, in all the places that you dream. I wish for you to grow between the cracks and spread your love and generosity to make this world a more beautiful place.
I love you more than all the stars in the sky and all the water in the ocean. Because to me, I love you, just doesn’t seem powerful enough.