Growing up

Oh, Monster.
Last year, I wrote you a letter telling you how special you are to me and how much I have learned from you.
Those things are still true, of course, if not multiplied by 50.
While we have had many wonderful changes in our lives this year, we have also had some heartbreak, some struggles and some defeats.
Instead of telling you what you taught me over the last year, I thought I would tell you what life taught me.
I am still learning how to live life, and I am still making mistakes. I hope you know that making mistakes is how we learn. The best lessons I ever got were the ones that came from my royal screw-ups. It is the hardest way you can learn anything, but it’s the best way to ensure that those lessons stick with you.
Yes, you are only 2, and many of these words won’t matter until you are much older. But you aren’t my little baby anymore. You are my stomping, shouting little man. As I have watched you grow this year, my heart has been filled with so many hopes for how your life will play out.
Below are some lessons I learned this year, and lessons I hope to teach you in the coming years.
Connect. Losing touch with others is one thing that is certain, and one thing you will certainly regret.
Disconnect. Material things are irrelevant. What matters is who you are and how you treat others. The rest is just fluff.
Stand up for yourself. Sometimes, this is the hardest thing in the world to do. It might mean risking your job. It might mean hurting someone else. But you are the only person guaranteed to fight for you.
Stand up for others. Because sometimes, it’s the hardest thing in the world for them to stand up for themselves.
Love people. Just love them. Love them not despite of their differences or flaws, but because of those differences and flaws.
Ask forgiveness. It’s possible to do the right thing and the wrong thing at the same time. You will hurt people without intending to. Keep your heart in the right place and be humble.
Forgive. One of the kindest things you will ever do for someone is to forgive them.
Put your family first. Your family is your core – it is your home. Hold your family tightly, even when you are separated by hundreds of miles.
My precious angel, you are a shining example of why life is beautiful. You are the reason I smile every day, no matter how hard that day has been.
We will have so many more wonderful times ahead, and we will have difficult times, too.
I won’t always say the right thing or do the right thing, but I promise you: I will always be here for you.
Happy birthday, my little Monster. I love you a million times over.

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