Dear Warrior Princess,
Happy birthday! Today you are five years old, and that is a very big deal–it means that you have reached the age when we can let you in on a little secret.
Are you ready to hear the secret?
Here it is: grownups don’t always know what we’re doing.
And here’s a secret that goes along with that one: sometimes grownups seem like we know what we’re doing, but we’re actually just floundering along, trying to be very good examples despite feeling a little bit lost.
And y’know what? That’s where people like you come in.
You are both a warrior and a princess, and don’t see any reason why you can’t be both, and in fact, there isn’t any reason why you can’t be both. That’s something we grownups forget sometimes: that we can be more than one thing at a time, and that it’s totally ok to be lots of different things at once even if those things don’t seem to go together very well. So thank you, Warrior Princess, for reminding us that we don’t have to confine ourselves to a single role.
Your Mommy told us about a conversation you had with your older brother recently, where you said that when you grow up you want to be a “doctor, a nurse, a scientist, an astronaut (space person), and a chef (formerly ‘cooker’)”. And you know what? You can absolutely be all of those things. You can be anything you want to (ok, maybe you can’t be a giraffe, but that’s what Halloween is good for). Your dreams are limited only by your own imagination, and you are absolutely allowed to go after any dream your heart desires. And that’s another thing we grownups tend to forget: that if the dreams we had when we were 5, or 15, or 25 aren’t working out, we can pick a new one. Thank you, Warrior Princess, for reminding us that we need to give ourselves the same permissions we give you–permission to dream big, and to chase those dreams, and to change our dreams whenever the mood strikes us.
And you’re learning so much! You’re going to a different school now, and next year you’ll start kindergarten, and the next 12 years (or more, depending on how much college you do) are going to be all about seeing just how much you can fit into that brain of yours. If these first five years have been any indication, it’s going to be a lot. And the coolest part of it all is that you’re excited about it–you want to learn new things, because there’s a whole big world out there and you’re just itching to go poke it with a stick. Now here’s another goofy thing about grownups: sometimes we forget that the learning part is every bit as important as the knowing part, and we get really mad at ourselves if we don’t know everything. How crazy is that? There are zillions and zillions of things out there, and somehow we think that we’re supposed to know all of them! Madness, I tell you. So thank you, Warrior Princess, for reminding us that learning is as important as–maybe more important than–knowing, and that the learning part is the really fun part.
Here’s another thing I love about you: you’re a total goofball. You dance around, and wear hilarious outfits, and sing your heart out, and aren’t perfect at very many things, and we all love you for it. You want to know something ridiculous about grownups? Sometimes we get totally hung up on believing we have to be “perfect”, even though none of us really has a clear idea of what that actually means, so we spend a lot of time and energy and money trying to become something other than what we are–and the really silly thing is that we don’t even enjoy the process very much. And that’s just sad. So thank you, Warrior Princess, for reminding us that our imperfections are beautiful, and that being our totally unique, totally authentic, goofball selves is what makes people love us.
Now, these last two bits are going to be very important, so I want you to listen very, very carefully. Are you listening? Here’s the first one: you are beautiful, and you will always be beautiful, and sometimes people or magazines or the tv will try to tell you otherwise but they are wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Grownups spend a lot of time trying to make themselves look different because we feel like somehow we’re not beautiful enough. But that is just malarkey. We all start out beautiful, and the only thing that changes is that we stop seeing that in ourselves as we grow up. Sure, our bodies change, and sure, not everybody has the same opinion of what “pretty” looks like, and that’s ok–some people will think you’re not very pretty at all, and some people will think you’re the most beautiful person they’ve ever seen, but at the end of the day, all that matters is that you can plug your ears and remember that some of us have thought you were beautiful this whole time. Thank you, Warrior Princess, for reminding us that we have all been beautiful this whole time.
And here’s the last one, which is also extremely important. If you remember nothing else, please remember this part: We love you completely, unconditionally, and forever. There is absolutely nothing that you can do to make us stop loving you. Yes, there will be times when we all don’t like each other very much, because that’s just part of being human beings–sometimes we’ll hurt each other’s feelings, or do something forgetful or foolish or embarrassing, or feel like we don’t understand each other, and that’s ok. That’s what forgiveness is there for, and that’s what communication is there for. But even if we find ourselves in a place where we have to practice communicating and forgiving each other, the fact that we love you will never, ever, ever change. Ever. Not even if you try. Because that’s what family does: we love each other because, and we love each other despite, and we love each other all the time whether we like each other at a particular moment or not. So thank you, Warrior Princess, for helping us remember that there is always someone who loves us, even if we feel very alone (sometimes grownups feel very alone), and that there is always someone for us to love back, even if that means we have to do some communicating and forgiving first.
And now I’ve rambled on for 1100 words, and when you’re five years old, that’s forevvvvver. I get that. So I’ll stop chattering at you now so you can get back to the very important business of learning and growing and being your amazing, incredible, unique and wonderful self, and we’ll go on loving you and learning from you and thinking you’re the best Warrior Princess we’ve ever seen.
Happy birthday, Warrior Princess. We love you so, so much,