My beloved daughter, Estelle.
As I write this, you are hopping about and singing a lullaby of sorts to your stuffie Fox in your crib. I can hear you through your bedroom door, across the hallway, through the office door, and over the sounds of the AC unit and fan whirring away next to me. You are most definitely not napping. You are also most definitely not twelve months old; you’re a lot closer to sixteen months old. What can I say? Life has happened, so I’m about four months late to the show.
Loooove you. But, really, sweet child of mine, life has happened. And life has been full. And you are a great, grand reason for why these days seem long and nonstop and beautiful and joyful and exhausting and challenging and bewildering and fulfilling. All of those things. You have helped usher in all those things, everyday from 6:00am-7:30pm. And when those post-bath laughs and hugs make way for blanket tucking and goodnight kisses…we are both ready for the sweet rest the night offers.
Estelle, life is far from easy. I don’t know what your life looks like right now – how old are you reading this, the details of your relationships at this time, in what ways your choices have affected where you are – but I hope you hear me speaking to you from a place of love through these words. I hope these letters show you a glimpse of my heart during this first year with you. I hope as you go through these line by line (over and over) you draw strength and wisdom and assurance that you are loved. You have been loved. You are loved. And you will be loved. Always.
And may the Love that centers you be the source of your courage and voice in this world: may you plant your feet firmly on that foundation — really dig in your heels — and offer back to those around you beauty when things look bleak, warmth when things feel cold, and healing when things seem shattered. May you be magnificently and unashamedly you, Estelle Daokeo…whoever you may be.