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Letters to my Unborn Daughter Series: My Hopes for You

This series is for my unborn daughter... a way for me to prepare for her arrival by writing my inner-thoughts for her. Hopefully one day she will get to read them and see what I was thinking right before she arrived. These are my hopes for her life.

Dear Daughter,

You are due any day now... I am hoping your arrival can be smooth and safe for both of us. As I (impatiently sometimes) wait for you, I can't help but imagine what your life may be like the next few decades. While most of the time I think of you as a tiny newborn who will intimately need me for the first few years of your life, I also know you will grow into a little human being with desires and plans of your own. Daddy and I will do our best to encourage you to be YOU, but here are my hopes for you as you come into your own.

I hope you will have courage to be YOU no matter what

The more you grow up, the more you will learn who you are. Sometimes you will 'fit in' and other times you may feel like the 'odd-one'. Some people try hard to ignore who they really are so they can fit in all the time, but I want to encourage you to be proud of who you are no matter what. It takes a lot of courage to become who you really are and there will be many times you will have to choose how authentic to be. Please choose YOU as much as you can. I promise you it will help you realize your path, your purpose, your true friends, and your happiness.

If I look back on my life, the proudest moments were when I had the courage to be ME, even when it was not popular, easy, or straightforward. The more I stepped out of the "norm" the more I felt myself. Not everyone will understand if you do this, but stay strong and stick with it if it is something you really believe in. I look forward to seeing you truly are as you grow up.

I hope you will have a sense of humor

The more you laugh, the more you will experience joy. There will be plenty of times that things may not "go right" and the only way to survive them will be to laugh. I love comedy and humor because it has a way of smoothing things over that may feel serious or scary. I got my sense of humor from your Grandpa and I think it has helped me in my life A LOT. There were even times growing up that I preferred to be told "You are really funny" than "You are really ​​pretty". I think that is because a sense of humor is a priceless trait that can bring you so much: ways to calm a group down, entry into places serious people are too scared of, fun memories, and if you are lucky--a good partner.

Your Daddy is pretty funny too. He has some good jokes and sometimes actually reminds Mommy to take herself less seriously when she forgets to laugh about life. He will make you laugh a lot while you are growing up, so I hope that his (and my) humor rub off on you! I can't wait to hear your first giggle and share something that makes me so truly happy--laughter.

I hope you have a love of the world

You will be born in Hong Kong--a dynamic, fast-paced city with Eastern and Western influences--but you will technically be considered "American" because your parents are. (I know that is weird, right?) But living in Asia during your young life will expose you to a very different way of life than your parents had when they were little. We feel lucky that you will already be introduced to ways of living that we were not exposed to until we were adults.

We hope to take you to lots of places with us as you grow up to show you to all the things we love about the world. We hope that you see how generous and welcoming strangers can be, how fun getting lost is, and how beautiful the natural and man-made parts of the world are.

I can't know what world events will occur during your young life, but I am sure there will be many things that could make you afraid to venture out and see the people, places and things that make our world great. People may try to convince you that some "Other" people are bad, or that some places are "gross" or "scary", but I want you to try and keep an open mind to what the world can offer you--visit new places, appreciate the differences you encounter--and then learn what you can offer the world. I think you will be surprised that the good in the world always outweighs the bad.

I hope you can be and have many friends

While family is precious, friendship is priceless. You will have so many different types of friends all throughout your life. They will come and go with different eras and if you are lucky some will stay around for many years, while others may be just a few days. You will never know how these people will impact you immediately as sometimes someone you meet will teach you something you need now, and others may open up parts of you that blossom continuously throughout your life.​

I hope that you can be a good friend also. This usually means listening fully, loving unconditionally, helping when necessary, and sharing joys and sorrows together. You may not always want to keep the same friends, but the ones that are truly special will find a way to be in your world for a long time. Your Daddy has been a great friend to me since we were teenagers and I hope that we can teach you what true friendship looks like as you grow up. I can't wait to see who you choose as friends. I hope you can be comfortable being alone Even though I just described how important friends are, I also think it is important to be OK with being alone. Your Grandpa jokes that he loves being alone because it is the "best company". Mommy likes being alone because it gives me time to reflect and daydream--two things that are really important for a happy life. Daddy likes being alone because it gives him back the energy he needs to help lots of people. When you are alone you create lots of tools that help you survive in the world. I am not sure which tools you will learn when you are alone, but some of the ones I have learned are:

- How to dream new possibilities: I love thinking of creative solutions to problems or making new things. You may think of the best ideas when you are by yourself. - How much you appreciate others: Sometimes I need to be away from my friends and family to remember why I love them so much. I spent a lot of time away from people by living so far away, so I truly appreciate them when I am back near them again. - Feeling all your emotions fully: Sometimes emotions will take a hold of you and instead of pushing them away because we don't want to feel them, it is important to take a moment and sit with them. You may find that by doing this, you can really understand them in ways that will help you much better empathize with others later on. I hope you experience all joys and sorrows of being human Being a human is not easy. In fact, when I found out I was pregnant with you as much as I was so thrilled to be bringing you into this world, I also knew you would go through all the ups and downs that go with the job of being human. As much as I hope you have more joys than sorrows, know you will have both--and when you do--Daddy and I will be there for you every step of the way. We have loved you long before you were born and we can't wait to watch you become the little human that you will become. Have patience with yourself. Practice self-compassion. Find others to share your experience with. Love deeply. Explore fully. You will survive it all. I love you, Mommy

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