Do you remember that time I worked as a janitor? I was still working hard to be a full time writer, but wasn’t quite there yet. I took you with me to one of my shifts and told you this is my “fake job.” That I needed to do this now so one day I could do what I wanted. Then a year or so later when we drove past that same building you pointed and said, “daddy, no more fake job.”
I’ll never forget that, and I hope those moments stick with you as an example of what is possible if you expect greatness. Being one of the top students in your class every year shows you’ve already started, that you already understand what it takes to earn that label.
Don’t stop. No matter what, do not stop. Your walking across the stage is just the beginning, another step in the marathon of a life that is sure to be filled with achievements. Expect those achievements. Push for them, demand them, work for them, and enjoy every moment of the journey on your way to greatness.
I really hate admitting this, but you are already a young woman. And you are entering one of the most difficult stages of adulthood when you start high school in September. Know that your greatness will be threatened. That there will be influences trying to pull you away from the path that’s been set for you.
I’m telling you that it’s OK to swerve just a little. I don’t expect you to never veer off course. But hold on to that expectation. Hold on to the knowledge that you are put on this earth for something more. Expect more for yourself, more than your peers will understand.
It’s gonna suck sometimes. You’ll find yourself saying no a lot. Find yourself in situations where your decisions will be different than your friends. But that’s OK. It’s part of the process, part of your sacrifice. And you might not be able to see it at first, but trust me when I say it will be so worth it!
I hope you know you have another torch to carry. As a young woman, as a female, it’s a title that holds a lot of weight. It’s also a title that comes with it’s own expectations. I’m telling you now to ignore all of it.
Don’t ever give anyone else the power to define who you are. That power is yours. You take control of your titles, take control of who you want to be and don’t give in to anyone telling you to fit neatly into this or that category. Be part of the wave that puts those stereotypes to rest and carves new histories into your gender and your generation.
I’m so proud of you! And although I’m sharing my own advice, I’m so thankful for all the lessons you have taught me. It’s amazing how that works sometimes. How you can impact my life so deeply without even trying, without even knowing it? Either way, I’m blessed to call you my daughter and wish you nothing but happiness and success. I love you so much.