“...write them on the tablet of your heart.” Proverbs 7:3
My dearest Eva,
I’m not even sure if the internet will be a thing when you’re old enough to read this. Regardless of whether or not you actually ever do read these words, I feel having them outside of my heart and onto this screen helps me to hold them close, to remember them myself.
There are lots of things I want for you, but recently I found myself dancing at a wedding of two very joyful people, and I was missing you while you were home with Abuelita. I got to thinking about some of the things I want for you as you grow up, some things I’d wish I’d known myself, and so I thought I should write them down.
1. I want you to remember growing up in a home that was full of music and dancing.
3. I want you to expect the best from people and be compassionate when others fail you.
4. If you’re called to marriage, I want you to choose someone who makes you laugh.
5. I want you to know that we are sorry that we’ve damaged this beautiful planet.
6. I want you to know you were named after someone people call “the first woman,” someone created in the image of God. Her story is a complex and beautiful one, just like yours will be.
7. I want you to know you were also named after another strong woman—someone brave enough to leave everything she knew to follow her heart (and her mother-in-law) into unchartered territory, because she believed it to be the right thing to do. You were named after an immigrant—like your papa’s family—Ruth was an outsider, and a woman from whom Jesus decends.
8. Speaking of immigrants, your own family came to this country in search of a better life. They worked hard, open their doors and hearts to others in need, and never stopped believing in all that America had to offer and what they could offer America. I want you to be brave enough to take risks, but humble enough to see that it’s not just about you.
9. I want you to remember your parents loving each other, in good and in bad times, like Deedee and Baba.
10. I want you to study music for many reasons, but most of all so you can feel what it’s like to play great music with friends when you’re feeling low.
11. The world will tell you that the goal is to be happy, but I want you to be more than happy—to choose to have joy.
12. I want you to know Jesus, but not exactly the Jesus I know, the Jesus that you find, finding you.
13. I want you to fall in love deeply when you’re old enough, but never lose yourself in vying for attention from others.
14. I want you to find your validation and sense of self-worth in who God says you are, instead of who others say you are.
15. When people say you can do anything or have it all, I want you to know that they are wrong. Choosing one path means leaving another and that’s ok.
16. Similarly, I want you to know that your choices matter, and yet this life is not ultimate.
16. Lastly...for now...I want you to know something I’m still trying to understand here at age 34— something that is becoming more real to me everyday— true religion is not about following rules, but following one law—the Law of Love. Loving God, loving yourself, and loving others.
Since I became your mama, God is teaching me something deep and wide about this Law. I long to love you well, to leave you each day sensing, feeling, knowing God’s love and mine. These things are written on the tablet of my heart and now here I am (on another kind of tablet) writing them on the internet.