Dear Allyson

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Dear Allyson,

Happy birthday, baby girl! Today you are four, and next thing I know you will be fully grown. Before time flies and I forget to tell you, there are some things I want you to know.

You are going to try many things in life, and I will encourage every one of them, yet when you find that one thing you want most, give it everything you have. But know that sometimes, everything you have may not be enough. You are special, wonderful, amazing, brilliant and almost perfect, but that still may not be what you need. You will sometimes fail. As long as I am alive I will be here to help you through it. I will give you as much advice as I have, which you may take as you see fit. Or I will just come over and bring ice cream. I will tell you that this too shall pass, and  you won’t believe me.

And when enough time passes, you will try again. Try as many times as you need. But always remember that years are numbered. It may not seem like it, and it won’t for a very long time, but they are. Yet this is not an excuse to give up because time will pass whether you are doing anything or not. So it is never too late. If you miss your chance, you can have it back in other ways. If you really want something, there is always a way. Don’t let anyone ever talk you out of pursuing those things most precious to you because they are what make you who you are.

You are beautiful, and I don’t just say this as your mother. You seem to have taken the best from me and your father, and then added some of your own. Your frame is tiny like mine, and you have got your father’s height. Your face is all yours, and gorgeous. You will grow up a stunning young woman and will be tempted to use these features in various ways. Do, and don’t. Don’t ever let anyone make you feel ashamed for being beautiful, and don’t let others treat you like it’s your greatest and only asset. That is all I can say because it is something you have to figure out. Unfortunately there is only one way to figure it out, and you will be grappling with it the rest of your life.

Next year I will start teaching you the piano, and honestly I am terrified that you will hate it. You love banging on it at Grandma’s house, but actual playing takes a lot of work and discipline. I also want to teach you how to swim, and speak different languages, and all the conventional stuff like math and history and science…. So you see, you may not like me very much over the next few years. Partly because I am going to push, and partly because we are both feisty which means you will probably push back. Neither of us are going to win this one, so let’s just enjoy the time we are going to spend together.

Your personality and candid nature are going to get you into a lot of trouble at school, and it has already started. Yes, I am going to have to punish you for it. No, I am not mad. Secretly I am laughing, but I can’t tell you that for another 20 years.

Today you are four and I have already told you a lot. Maybe more than you immediately understand. Over the years I will have many more things to tell you. But for now, enjoy today because you will never be four again.

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