To My Daughters: Never be Afraid
You are only 3 and 4 years old now and life is just starting for you. I hold your little hands in mine and I try to remember what it was like to be your age. I grew up in a different time and in a different situation than you will grow up in. I think my own experience has shaped the parent that I strive to be.
I want you both to never be afraid, but I know there will be times that you are. So, I want you to be strong and understand that your dad and I are here for you. We will always help you along. Growing up I wasn’t as outgoing and trustworthy. I didn’t get to explore and experience life as you will. When I was a child, my parents divorced when I was 5 and my mom had to raise 4 girls on her own. I didn’t have my dad growing up and I was insecure and often felt alone. There was no one to talk to me about what was going on. All I knew was that I was one of two kids in my kindergarten class whose parents were divorced. I struggled in school to learn because I didn’t have anyone to help me at home. I was the oldest child and my sisters depended on me for support. When I turned 16 I got a job because my mom said I had to. I used much of that money to buy school supplies, clothes, and shoes for my sisters and me. If I had the choice to work I would do it again because I liked being able to give my sisters things that they needed and wanted. When I graduated high school, I went to the U.S. Navy because I wanted to be treated like an adult. Despite the adult-like role I had to play all my life, my family still considered me a child.
It was strange going into the military, but it was the first independent thing I ever did. I missed my family, but the military gave me strength and discipline. I continued to go through life unsure of my future. I married young and divorced a year later. I struggled in college when it came to math because it was my worse subject, but I couldn’t give up. I pushed myself to finish even though I failed the same class 3 times. I had to “help myself” because I thought there was no one out there to help me. So, I studied hard, went to tutoring, and finally passed my math class. It wasn’t until your father came into my life that I started to get the real support in life that I needed. He did something for me that no one else ever did. He gave me encouragement, support, and told me I could do anything. He was always happy for my success and he’s the reason why I finished my bachelor’s degree. When he would talk about my accomplishments to other people, I felt ashamed. I felt like he was bragging about something that really wasn’t anything to brag about. In reality, everything I ever did that he was proud about was an accomplishment that I should be proud of too.
Naveen, you are about to attend school soon and I know that you will do well. You are social and a happy little girl who makes friends easy. I hope that no ever makes you feel bad or that you lose that social spark that you have. I want you never to be scared to speak in front of your class. And I want you to always try new things and continue to be the independent, loving, beautiful girl that you are. You have such a wonderful spirit full of life and you are a fast learner. You’re not even 5 yet but you read, write, and know how to do basic math. That’s way more than what I knew how to do at your age! We will always encourage you to learn, to not be afraid, lift you up so that you are not insecure, and will always be there for you. We will help you on your journey through life and be the support system you can always count on when you need it.
Mila, you are our little trouble-maker! You are funny and always joking and I hope that when you go to school you don’t get in trouble for being the class clown. You are very independent and are fearless. You’ll jump from couch to couch without a care in the world on the possible consequences. You are stubborn and not afraid to go against the grain because you believe in yourself. Mila, you are headstrong, and I never want you to change. Making friends or not making friends doesn’t scare you because you will happily play by yourself. I think that people will have a tough time influencing you through life and that is a good thing. You have the spark of life in you and I can see you scaling the side of a mountain when you’re older because you’re that adventurous. I want you to know that we will always support you. We will always be there when you need us and if we are still in good health, we will scale that mountain with you.
Through life I want you both to know that we love you both so much. Life will never be the same. When I think about what it was like before you, I think about how much you have completed us now. I experience life today in a whole new way. Neither one of us had the childhood that you are having. Life will always be one vast experience after another. Even though we can’t control everything in life, what we can control we will make sure it always benefits the two of you. I want you to always be brave, loving, caring, and strong. I want you to always have that spark you have right now. It’s my job, as your parent, to make sure you get to live life to its fullest and that you reach the potential you were meant to reach. Never be afraid.
I love you always,