10 years have blown by, a heavy gust of wind, and when I rubbed the sand from my eyes there you were tall, funny, and with feet almost as big as your mother’s.
In a few years the two of you are going to see eye to eye, literally, which may be the only time the two of you do during your teen years. But in case I’m not around, remember what I’ve told you since you were a baby: No one will ever love you more than your mother does. So, treat her love with respect – as if it’s the most precious, fragile object in the world and it’s your job to carry it from point A to point B without dropping it. Godspeed.
I’m writing to your future self tonight to tell you how proud I am of the way you handled this entire soccer season. If you remember, the previous season ended with a hard talk about your effort and not being a top player, which didn’t match up with your self-assessment. But you found some inner fortitude and proved you had it in you. I hope you never forget what you did and who you became. And I don’t mean the goals or assists or defense or transforming into a better soccer player. It was about more than that.
I’m talking about the effort you put into it and the results you earned and the person you became. Yes, that is what had me in awe the whole season. And I’m hoping it’s a lesson you’ll take away and remember forever, or by reading this letter you’ll be reminded of the spring you grew in more than height.
You learned one of the most important lessons in life: great effort equals great reward. And that’s what I want you to remember in this world of instant fame and riches for being an idiot. Most of the time, barring a lotto win or role on an MTV series, it still comes down to elbow grease, passion, and not giving up against great odds.
You displayed a great deal of character this year. It’s been a pleasure watching you evolve into a more complex person, which probably doesn’t describe it well, but that is what you are now. You’re more interesting to watch and listen to not because you’re a kid doing kid things that parents find interesting, but because you’re becoming unpredictable and surprising, with depth. And that feels like a huge compliment in my book of life.
The next 10 years may be rough sailing at times. But after seeing you explode into a solar storm of character and confidence this year, I’m certain that no matter how hard things get at times, you will have the inner strength, humor, and craftiness (like a fox), to make it through the darkest moments of doubt and come out stronger and wiser.
Have faith, my daughter. Have faith. But it also doesn’t hurt to have a good plan and an understanding that you’re going to get everything out of life that you put into it.
So remember, no slack for the timid. Or goals.