A Letter to My Daughter

When I found out that my last child was a girl, I cried. I might have TOLD you it was allergies or dust or something, but that'd have been a lie. I cried because I was so grateful that I'd have a chance at having a daughter. A girl of my own. Something I never thought I'd have.

This is what I want her to know.


Dearest Amelia,

When I found out I was having a girl, after having two boys, I couldn't believe that I'd be so lucky to have a daughter. A girl of my very own.

Your first year of life was touch and go. Born with a normally fatal birth defect called an encephalocele, I was wrecked. I'd had to offer you up to the neurosurgeon at less than a month old, unsure if I'd see you alive again.

But you are. You ARE.

Three years old, all full of wiggles and giggles and sass, you ARE.

I couldn't be more proud.

As you grow, taking shape from a jumble of parts, finding your grace and forming your view of the world, this is what I want you to know.

Never settle for less than you're owed, Amelia. If you want something - really want it - never let anything get in the way of getting it.

Problems are merely obstacles to be overcome, and if you can overcome an encephalocele, you can overcome anything.

It's likely that someday, someone will break your heart, leaving you breathless and empty inside. When they do, simply call your Mom so she can go after them with a baseball bat.

And while you wait, remember that these lessons in life, this crushing heartbreak, it will not define you. It will become a part of you and you will be better for it. It just might not feel that way right now.

You must learn to take care of yourself. No, I don't mean wiping your ass or changing your sheets, but I want you to know how to all the little things in life. Change a flat tire. Change the oil in your car. I want you to learn to hang drywall and use a drill -- even if you never have to showcase those skills. I never want you to feel that it is simply "guys" work -- it's just something that has to be done. May as well be done by you.

I want you to know that obstacles in your path, those are the things that define you. The way you use your grace to overcome, learn and grow from things that unexpectedly happen, that is what makes you you. Roll with the punches, don't fight them.

Do not let what other people think about you define you - if they see you as a strong, fearless, independent woman, some will call you a bitch. Others will call you heartless. I will call you Amelia.

Do not live your life under a shroud of fear. Fears and worries will get you nowhere, except, perhaps, an ulcer. Stand tall and stand strong and let the world know that you are not afraid.

You have, my girl, in a short period of time, changed the lives of so many. You have led me to start a non-profit and help others who feel alone as I once did.

Every day, you and your brothers, you make me proud. So proud my heart sometimes threatens to burst.

I will take your hand, Tiny One, and allow you to lead me into the future. Time waits for no Mom.

Love Always,


While you're off kicking the world's ass, just do me one favor, Baby Girl -- call your Mama sometimes. She misses you.

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