Dear child, welcome to this world, in all its beauty and savagery. You'll hear the phrase "A picture is worth a thousand words" (and then your da will show you a picture and teach you how to write flash fiction about it.) This picture by Maxfield Parrish is my (half of a) thousand words, and here's what they are:
I wish for you strength, in big things and small. An elephant cannot carry its own body weight, but an ant can, and ten times more. May your body be strong, to run and to jump and to climb mountains.
I wish for you freedom, to discover yourself and be what you choose. I hope you will make mistakes, and learn from them. I hope you will know the feeling of wind in your hair as you run through the grass, and that that feeling will find its way into your soul.
I wish for you love, to give and to be given. I wish for love to make you its conduit - love poured in and love given freely out, made purer by the filter of your heart.
I wish for you patience, for you to retain a sense of the movement of the eternal that you no doubt experience as you sleep an infant sleep. I ask you to be patient with your parents, who love you and do everything out of that love. Be patient with yourself. There’s no finish line, only the steps from one reality to another.
I wish for you impatience, for you to reject assumptions of inequality, to challenge with fierce heart the oppression of so much of humankind, of art, of faith. Learn only the impatience that is born of seeking justice.
I wish for you faith. May you ever feel the embrace of the Divine. May you experience the Divine for yourself, choose to believe in the One who exists beyond us but loves in and around and through us.
I wish for you wisdom. Sadly, you will lose your infant wisdom. But its impressions remain inside of you. As you grow, you’ll find pieces of wisdom, and you’ll know where they naturally fit inside the leftover spaces of yourself.
I wish for you bravery. Against the dark, against spiders, against aggressive four-legged creatures and bright, bold winged things. Have courage during storms, both inner and outer, and remember that while slaying a dragon is sometimes necessary, it’s never, ever easy.
I wish for you thankfulness. For a moment, for a lifetime. For the smallest gesture and the grandest gift.
I wish for you books. Skyscrapersful of books. From Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
I wish for you inspiration - from art, from music, from science, from history. A sense of the world as it is and as it was and as it could be. A dream, that captures your passions and changes when it needs to and propels you into places of risk and ambition for the sake of the dream.
I wish for you peace. Peace in your world. Peace in your soul. A calm, quiet sense of “forever” and the luxury to languish in it. Peace on the journey, and peace to where, eventually, you will cross into yet another reality, surrounded by the same love in which you entered this one.
You are loved. Be well.