Dear future daughter,
1) In case one day I forget what it feels like to be distraught and seventeen I want you to know that there will come a time where you feel yourself deteriorate into nothing and that is okay. You must go through struggle to find strength. I won’t let you go through it alone, I will be there if you need me.
2) If it’s 3 am and you find yourself in a state of complete despair please don’t turn to alcohol to drown your demons, they can swim and they will. Climb into my bed and I will rub your back until they’ve fallen asleep. I refuse to be oblivious to your sufferings as my mother was to mine.
3) The hours between 12 am and 6 am have this strict defiance that you are either on top of the world or underneath it. Find a song that soothes your heart back to ease and please don’t forget that you are human and it is okay to feel pain, it means you are alive. Just breathe, baby, just breathe.
4) Your mental health comes before school every single time. If it’s midnight and you are too sad to move I will go out and buy you a carton of Ben and Jerry’s. If you feel your hands tremble and your heart beat out of your chest turn on the song that brings you back to your happy place and slip into a dream. If you get a 64% I don’t care, one bad test score will not eliminate your chances of getting into medical school.
5) One day you will meet a boy, or maybe a girl, who makes your heart flutter. You will feel butterflies inhabit your lungs and flowers sprout out of the darkest parts of your mind. The second your lips touch it will feel as though a fireworks show is going off at Disney World. And maybe one day they will leave you forever and you will soon know why they name tropical storms after people. You will want to die and if I’ve learned anything it’s that everything is temporary.
6) When you’re walking along the street and you see a homeless man with holes in his pant legs and a full beard covered in dirt buy him a meal and ask him about his day. I promise you won’t regret it. He will tell you how he lost his job so his family left him. It’s been months since he’s seen his son and just as long since someone has offered him an ear to listen. He will talk about his perseverance to be a better man, to be a better father. Hearing his story will give you hope about humanity. When you finish eating give him the rest of the money in your pocket and tell him you will talk soon. Go back and see him next week. And the week after that.
7) When you feel your world slip away and you fall into darkness I will tell you that when I was 18 I searched for peace with a pill bottle in my bottom drawer and a suitcase full of vodka bottles. I ripped myself apart and drowned myself in hopes that my demons would too, but I soon realized my demons could swim and I was at the bottom. Four years later you were placed into my arms and I saw beauty in it’s purest form. I knew that I needed to be better for myself, for you and for your father. You saved me, let me help save you.
8) If you ever feel like sipping a bottle of whiskey to the point of no return, put it down, and come tell me. We will fill up the gas tank and just drive. I will show you the bridge where your father talked me out of killing myself so many years ago. I will show you the park you made your first friend. I will show you the Toronto skyline at dawn and you will be mesmerized by it’s breathtaking beauty. I will show you that the sun rises each morning and that you can rise, too. You are special, sweetheart, my god you are so special.
Things I will tell my children (1/2