Today you are a beautiful, bright, smart and joyful two year old. If you could read this today, you’d surely correct me and make sure that I mention that you’re “almost” three. For the past two Saturdays I’ve been at school taking a class about eating disorders. I thought about you a lot as I sat in my classroom and I want to share with you some of the things that occurred to me as I learned more about this topic that affects so many girls’ (and boys’) lives.
First, I want you to know that daddy and I loved you, even before we ever saw your sweet face. That love had nothing to do with how you’d look, it was the very idea of you; the joy you might bring to our family, the person you might grow to be, and the endless possibilities. The first promise that I make to you today as I type you this letter is that this will never change. We promise to you that we will never measure your worth in sizes or numbers or physical appearance. You are, and always will be of immeasurable worth to us and none of that has anything to do with your body. True and unconditional love is the love of your essence; your being, your soul. That is what we have for you, Sophie.
One of my favorite moments these days is when I hear your feet on the hardwood floors as you gallop in to my bedroom in the morning. You are sure that you grow stronger overnight so each morning you hurry to my side of the bed, flex your arm and excitedly beg me to check your muscles. Strength is something you are so proud of, and you are strong, Sophie, in so many ways. Our hope for you is that, over the years, you find some way to continue being proud of your strength. Strong legs can carry you wherever you dream to go, and strong arms will allow you to hug your friends and family tight to you when you are so moved. There are other ways to be strong, Sophie, and though you don’t know about them yet, you will begin to understand them more as you grow and learn and have more experiences. In Buddhism, some of the most important ones are called the Five Strengths. They are faith, effort, mindfulness, concentration, and wisdom. Our second promise to you today is that we’ll be here to support you in all of the above; to help teach you, guide you, and most importantly, remind you of your strengths that are not as easily seen to the eye because those may be the most important, Sophie, and the ones we sometimes find most easy to question or forget about in ourselves.
Last and not least, Sophie, I want to promise to you today and for a lifetime that if and when the day comes when you question any of the above, your dad and I are here to love you and cherish you and remind you of your worth in the world. That worth will never be measured by how tall you are, what number you see on your scale, what size you buy when you shop for new clothes or anything else so basic. You are so much more important than that, so much more valuable. You are here for a purpose Soph and it is up to you to find out what that purpose may be. No matter what paths you take, what decisions you make, no matter what parts of yourself that you reveal to us over time, it cannot and will not change our love for you.