This was originally written in 2001, when Jillian was eight years old. We're having her Sweet 16 party this weekend. This - and two other old notes - will lead up to one current and very important one. Stay tuned if you want to thoroughly enjoy your present and parlay it into an incredible future.
And please pass this note along to whomever you think it will inspire.
There is no better sound in the world than hearing your child laughing from the soul. It tells you that anything is possible.
I'm spending part of the morning doing Mad Libs with my daughter Jillian. She's discovering this verbal treasure for the first time, and the world of verbal humor is opening up for her.
And she's laughing like a big silly goon!
Later on in the day we stop at the bank. She sees the lollipops on the counter near the teller and makes her way toward them. Before I say a word she asks if she can get one for her little sister Sarah. At that moment I remember Jill doesn't like lollipops and feel a burst of pride and love for my little lady.
After the bank, we stop at the hair salon for a long overdue cut. She's getting the works: wash, blow dry, cut, styling. She's sees herself all fluffy and feminine, the hint of the woman she will become. As she's being fussed over by the beautician, she celebrates her new found prettiness with a grin from ear to ear.
Still later, we stop at a Subway restaurant to get her favorite treat...ham and provolone on whole wheat, no vegetables, no mayo, nothing.
Her eyes light up when I offer the three chocolate chip cookies (if she shares with Dad). I notice the look of unbridled pleasure on her face as she chomps on her sandwich. She savors the food itself and the fact that she's getting a special treat; the combination makes her feel like a princess.
Then we stop at my office so I can take care of some paperwork. I ask her to call home and tell Mommy where we are and how long we'll be. She delights in the fact that I show trust in her to make the call by herself, and that I believe in her enough to use the "special buttons" on the office phone. She handles the task as well as any administrative assistant I've ever had.
Close to bedtime, we work on math homework. She whips through four pages of multiplication, number patterns, graphs, and word problems. The quiet calm of competence shines in her eyes, and her mouth is turned up at the corners in a sublime, confident smile.
She knows her stuff, and tomorrow her teacher will know she knows it as well.
Want to see the wonders of the world? Find a child, one you love if possible.
See the world through his or her eyes, the joys, the kindness, the fears, the dreams, the unexpected delights, the gratitude.
Even better, see YOUR world as if YOU are the child. Experience things for the first time, and feel it with that intensity.
This is something you can access anytime you want.
And it will make you a better grown-up.