I had such a great time on our walk today.
You’re only five and you probably won’t remember it, but I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.
It was just the two of us.
The sun played peek-a-boo through the clouds, and the breeze was just enough to keep us cool as we explored together.
We looked at the tree stumps gnawed down by beavers, stopped to notice a tiny blue butterfly on a buttercup blossom, and you took great joy in blowing dandelion seeds as we walked along the trail.
It was just a simple, ordinary day but so very, very special too.
As we traveled, you talked and sang and giggled a lot but the thing I’ll remember most from our walk, is how you skipped.
You see, big people don’t skip very much. Maybe never.
We have too many worries and too much on our minds to do something silly like that. We’re all self-conscious and careful and far too serious.
As a matter of fact, by the time you read this you too may have forgotten how to skip.
That happens when you get older.
I’m really hoping that it doesn’t happen to you.
Right now baby girl, you are full speed and wide open. The happiness in your heart can’t be contained there, and so you aren’t satisfied doing something as sensible as walking. Where’s the fun in that?
No, you skip through these days and it’s a thrill to watch.
As your daddy, I want to remind you to never stop skipping.
You see, one day you may find yourself worrying about all kinds of things; about whether you’re pretty enough or thin enough or smart enough or successful enough.
You may doubt who you are and look to other people to tell you.
You may find your worth in how much you weigh or how much you make or the friends you have or don’t have, or in a person who does or doesn’t like you the way that you like them.
You may fear the future and regret things you’ve done and grieve people you’ve lost.
You may have scars from the past that will scare you into stillness when you really want to run.
You may let all your grown-up cares and heavy worries gradually weigh you down and slow your stride, until all you can do manage to do, is just walk.
And that sweet girl, would be a shame because you were born to skip.
You were made to bound wildly through the trails and paths of this life, savoring the seconds and laughing loudly, with the wind in your hair and your eyes full of sunlight.
So you live that way.
You love who you are, always.
Don’t ever let another person define you.
Don’t ever let the mean people in the world change you or harden you.
Don’t ever feel like you are less than or no good or not enough.
Don’t ever forget how beautiful and amazing and perfect you are.
Don’t ever stop seeing the wonder in all of your ordinary days.
Don’t ever lose the hope in your heart that makes you fly.
Don’t ever be content just to walk through your life.
My sweet baby girl, don’t you ever stop skipping.