Tuesday, February 21, 2017

My Wish for Our Daughter on Her 1st Birthday

I started writing this blog post about 6 months ago.

As a parent, you spend a lot of time thinking about your kids; not just when you're away from them, but when you're with them, too. I'll be feeding Te her bottle and suddenly think, I wonder what she'll be when she grows up. In the middle of a diaper change, she'll make a funny face and chuck her toy across the room and I'll say to myself, Hmm...so you're going to be one of those, are you?

In anticipation of her 1st birthday today, I spent the last half-year writing down those random thoughts, hoping to capture some of the fleeting wishes and memories that come during seemingly unremarkable moments. So, here they are...my wishes for our daughter on her first birthday:

That she hold on to her innocence for as long as humanly possible. Like most kids, I was always in a HUGE rush to grow up and I'm sure Te will be, too. But these days kids, especially girls, I think, are growing up all too quickly. I wish for Te the opportunity to be a happy, worry-free kid and for some degree of blissful ignorance at every stage of childhood. (Too much to ask for this in her teen years, too?)

That she recognize how lucky she is. This epiphany probably won't come for many, many years but someday I hope she'll see how blessed she is to have been born into her life. Te has loving, healthy and capable parents. She has a big family full of people who care for her. She has food on the table, a warm and clean home, and an endless supply of diapers and puffs. This is purely a mix of luck and by the grace of God that she was born into a stable life. Not every baby is so lucky.

That she pay more attention in school than I did. Stjepan is one of those people who remembers his high school history lessons. He recalls actual paragraphs from his textbooks and can recite facts without doing a Google search on his phone. I am not that person. That is because (and here comes a major admission of guilt...sorry mom, dad and teachers!) I mostly crammed for quizzes and memorized study sheets just to pass tests rather than taking the time to process and digest information. I hope that our daughter gets her dad's love of actual, applied learning.

That she be quick to forgive. I don't want my daughter to be a pushover. Quite the opposite. But I do want her to be quick to forgive her loved ones. I don't want her to forget, but I want her to have the confidence, maturity and heart to recognize that everyone makes mistakes, and that the people you care about deserve second and third chances. I also want her to be quick to forgive herself, because she will make many mistakes in life.

That she have her dad's sense-of-humor and my aptitude for empathy. Stjepan comes from a long line of jokesters. His grandpa was quick-witted and his dad has the playful spirit of a kid. His 80-year-old+ grandmother happily wears hippie costumes to Halloween parties and loves playing with filters on Snapchat. Stjepan's one-liners make me laugh on the regular. I wish so much for Te to carry on this family trait. From me, I hope she'll get the ability to put herself in others' shoes, because not everything that happens in life is about you. There is a much, much bigger world out there.

Happy birthday, sweet girl!

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