My sweet baby girl, it’s your first birthday, and this is what I want you to know. You are a force to be reckoned with. You have been since before you took your first earthside breath. Your due date was June 29th, and you decided it wasn’t time. You knew when you were ready and when that day came (9 days later), you gave Mamma very little time to prepare. You gave me a couple of hints that you were on your way, and before I had the chance to mentally prepare myself for childbirth, you were here. I will never forget the midwife saying, you need to push NOW; we cannot wait for another contraction. Your blood pressure lowered, and even though it wasn’t the most desirable way of entering this earth, you chose it.
You were ready, and you knew you could do it, so you did.
And there you were.
It turns out the cord was wrapped around your neck, and you were the color purple. That terrified me, but you were okay. You gave your Mamma a scare the first moment you were here, and I believe you were setting me up for what our life would look like together. You are brave, my sweet girl, and there will be days in the future where I have no doubt you will do things that not only scare me but scare yourself, and that is how I know you are mine.
I have no doubt I put my mother through the very same thing.
There are so many things I need to tell you. First and foremost, the world is a scary place, and although times can be very tough, life is truly a remarkable gift. I feel blessed to have been able to carry you for nine months and to have been given the honor to bring you into this world. I can’t think of anything that will exceed the joy that the birth of you and your brother has given me. You are my miracle babies, and you are both an example of silver linings that I never thought I would see.
You are so small, my sweet baby girl, and yet you have a personality that is larger than life. You are not one to back down, and you know what you want when you want it and how you need to go about getting it. This first year has been exhausting and one of the biggest challenges of my life, but because of you, I have learned so much more about the power of unconditional love and holding space for another human being. In this case, that human being is you. You haven’t been the easiest baby in the world, but to be honest, I am glad. You are showing me already that you have a voice and will not settle for anything less than what you want. This can make things challenging as a parent, but your stubbornness will serve you well in the end. I will teach you the difference between getting what you want for nothing and earning what you deserve. There is a difference, my girl. You deserve all the things in the world, but they don’t always come without hard work.
You came into the world during a time of intense change. The year 2020/2021 has been something straight out of the movies, and we have had to adjust on so many levels, including how we went about bringing you into the world and shared you after you were here. Change and challenges are inevitable, my sweet girl, and the only way I know how to set you up for that is, to be honest.
Life is not meant to be easy, and you are not always going to be happy.
I will not be able to protect you from all things, and I will never make you think that I can. I have watched my parents witness me in horrific pain. I sometimes wonder if they questioned whether I would survive. Something tells me they knew I would, but it killed them to watch, nonetheless. They had to weather the storm and trust that I would heal on my terms. I honestly can’t imagine what they went through, and I hope I never have to see you like that. But baby girl, pain is inevitable, and I know I can’t protect you from it. All I know is I can be there for you no matter what and walk with you as you work your way through all the ebbs and flows of this beautiful life.
My goal for you is not that you will always have happiness. I would be a fool to think you will always be happy, and quite frankly if you are never in sorrow, you will never know great joy. My goal for you is that when you are in deep sorrow, you will be curious. Curious about what can be. Curious about your innermost glorious power and where it lies within you. My girl, you are a powerful being, and I see your determination already. There is no question you are here for a reason, and the thought of watching you discover what that reason is brings me an excitement that I have never felt before.
My advice to you, my sweet girl is in times of trouble; if you want a great answer, ask a great question. Don’t expect things to land in your lap without having hope that they are there in the first place. Always remember that the answers are always within you; you need to ask and then surrender to what will be. My girl, I have learned this lesson on far too many occasions, and I can tell you with great certainty it is easier said than done. But, baby girl, the moment I stopped trying to control everything about my life, things started flowing in ways I could never have imagined for myself. You are one of those blessings that came to me when I finally let go of what I thought was “supposed” to happen.
I have never been one to take the easy road, and I get the feeling you won’t be either. I have always been determined, and even when I knew things would suck for a while, I went for it anyway. Please understand that this will always pay off in the end, one way or another. You may not always get what you want, but you will always get what you need, even though it’s hard to see it sometimes.
Someday you will learn about my darkest days and the feelings of despair that I felt about my future. Never in a million years did I see you as being a part of my new normal. At the time, all I could hope for was that I would someday learn to breathe again and live in a meaningful way. But, instead, I was sent so much more.
First, there was your dad…
and with him your sisters…
Then out of nowhere your brother….
And then, there was you.
Life will knock you down, and you will question your ability to move forward, but my sweet girl, I am here as an example that if you keep pushing forward and have at least a glimpse of hope, you will get through anything.
We have very little control over most things in our life, and you can’t choose what happens to you. All you can choose is how you will perceive your life’s circumstances. Are they hardships, or are they blessings in disguise, shaping who you are? I do not doubt that you will more often than not see them as hardships at first, but please remember that you can always shift your perception if you so choose.
When you are ready, surround yourself with those who will help you do that. Those who will encourage your growth rather than inhibit it. The ones who will not only stand with you in the light but sit with you in the dark. The people who pray for your well-being rather than resent you for your greatness.
Not everyone will want to see you succeed, and that’s okay. You will not be everyone’s cup of tea, and if you were, that would mean you are not staying true to who you are. So do not conform and do your best to make decisions based on what you feel is right, not based on what others want.
There is always room for constructive criticism, and I encourage you always reflect on it before choosing to write it off. People who are providing you feedback with good intentions mean well, and this may help you grow. However, when others critique you with ill intentions, they are not critiquing you. Deep down, they are critiquing themselves as they see something in you that is triggering their insecurities. Be mindful of this and hold a place in your heart for those people.
Be kind, my sweet baby girl, even when others are not kind to you. The high road is not always easy, but it is the road you must take if you want to be at peace. Most people are good; there are just a lot that are walking around with pain. Those are the people who need your kindness the most. It took me a long time to learn this lesson, and now and then, I forget because I am a protective being. Protective of myself, of those I love, and those things I believe in.
My baby girl, I can’t believe you are a year old already. You are a gift from the beautiful universe, and I will never take you for granted. I am beyond blessed to be your mother, and although I am only a piece of your journey, I will always be that piece that you can count on. You have made this world a better place, and I can’t wait to see more of what your soul has come to this earth to do. I love you, my sweet girl, and the one thing I never want you to forget is this.
Sparrow Faith Harper, you are a gift. You are worthy, you are powerful, and you are enough.
I love you, my sweet baby girl. Happy Birthday.