To my darling daughter Reagan,
I hope this letter finds you on a day when you are able to understand it and take something valuable from it. Most of all, I hope that this letter finds you when you most need it.
You are with me in this very moment, whether or not you know it, and I already love you, sweetheart. You have been in my heart since the first day I played “house” as a little girl. You were my baby then, you are my baby now, and whenever you read this, whether you are on the verge of your teenage years, or having children of your own, you are still my baby.
If there is anything that I have learned that is certain and true in my life, it is that there is meaning and insight in quiet moments. They will find you, and how they change you is hardly within your control. They hold, quite literally, a silent power, and you would do well not to underestimate them.
A few years ago, I made the decision to move out on my own to the city of angels. I lived by myself in a 500 square foot studio in the heart of downtown Long Beach. It was nowhere near perfect, and daily life was a struggle. My quiet moments that year defined, in large part, who I am today. They were at night after driving home from work, while I walked through the neighborhood blocks to my car in the morning, while I drove the scenic route to and from school, down Ocean Boulevard.
I would stop often and walk down the steps toward the water, my shoes dangling from my fingers and sand in between my toes. I was in a trance. I stopped and sat in the place where the sand turned dark, dancing with the tide in a tango I knew I was sure to lose if ever I tried. The ocean kissed the sun goodnight, and the sky turned vivid shades of purple and pink, the air around me cooled, and the hairs that stood up on my arms and neck brought me back to reality. Caught between the sea and the city, I slowly made my walk back up the steps to my car.
Sitting there in those quiet moments made me feel so small, and at times, so deeply insignificant. In hindsight, I realize how important those moments were, and I must confess something to you. Although my thoughts had convinced me of my unimportance, I am not insignificant. I never was, but what I hadn’t realized in those moments was that I am, and have always been, a very important part of humanity, as are you, darling. You would be doing yourself, and the world, a great disservice to be selfish with your heart and your mind. Don’t ever be afraid to make yourself vulnerable in the attempt to spread kindness or truth.
Those quiet moments made me feel lonely, insignificant, and so utterly small. I was twenty years old, alone, and terrified that I had given up everything I ever knew in search of something I had carried with me all along. Eventually, I found solace and peace in knowing that I alone was capable of creating meaning in my life.
My quiet moments aren’t so lonely anymore.
You have given my life so much meaning that I never even knew existed. My birthday is in less than two weeks, yet all I can think about is yours, whenever it may be. I can’t wait to get to know you, to watch you grow, and to nurture your beautiful soul. I promise to be there when your heart gets broken for the first time and to kiss your tears away when life knocks you off your feet. I will be there when reality rears its ugly face and you need someone to humble and teach you how to find life’s silver linings. I hope that I am lucky enough to see you through all of the milestones in your life, but I cannot promise you one thing.
I will not be there in your quiet moments. While not always lonely, those moments are yours alone, until the day you have children of your own.
While my moments are quiet, they are no longer lonely. I have been blessed to share my quiet moments with you these past seven and a half months. By now, you probably know me better than I know myself. Every doubt I have ever had about whether or not I am ready to be your mom is erased the second you get a bout of hiccups or start to explore every remaining inch in your temporary home. I have been a mom since the moment your dad and I found out about you. I have shared every one of my quiet moments with you. In turn, you have come to fill my heart with more love than I ever knew existed.
My only hesitation is this irrational fear that somehow my heart might burst, for I have never loved someone in the way or to the capacity that I already love you. This is my quiet moment, and I want to share this with you, whenever you are ready. For now, sharing this with friends and strangers in the blogosphere will have to suffice.
I love you.