CrawlerTo my daughter:

You are one amazing little girl. In these last few weeks you have taken on the immense challenge of mobility… and I am blown away. I could watch you all day, fighting to prop yourself up on all fours and deciphering the elusive keys to moving forward. At first, you just sort of wiggled, one agonizing inch at a time, like a frustrated little caterpillar. Then you got yourself up, only to lean forward… right into a crash that was half face-plant and half belly flop. And now? Now you are starting to get it. I know, it still takes you a long time to get across the room, but you are definitely figuring it out. Hand, knee, hand, knee… a repetitive little rhythm that gets you to your ultimate goal. Sometimes it is a favorite toy, but let’s be honest… usually it is my cell phone, the cat, or the dog. You are especially drawn to that long furry handle coming off the cat’s backside!

I genuinely mean it. I am truly amazed by you. It isn’t the fact that you can move from point A to point B, though. Don’t get me wrong. That is great and fun to watch. But that is not the best part… or even the most important part. What really grabs me, warming every fiber of my Daddy heart, is that look on your face. That absolute determination. As if an unrelenting fire burns inside you. You set your eyes on that prize several feet away and your mind is set: You will get it. You slip, you flop, you grunt, you pant… you wrinkle your brow under the strain of this task… but you keep moving forward. You keep fighting. The closer you get, the harder you push. A warrior spirit in a 17 pound package. Incredible. Even if I try to pick you up, you shrug and arch and whine, your own special way of saying “No. I can do this, Daddy. Let me keep going.” I am always right behind you, ready to pick you up and comfort you if you fail, knowing this crawl is just too hard or just too far for a little baby. But time and time again you prove me wrong. You pick yourself up, you keep pushing, until you grab that prize in your tiny hands. And then a new look on your face. Pride. Accomplishment. Total joy.

And I watch you… and I am inspired.

I watch you… and I am filled with a pride I have never felt before.

I watch you… and I make one special wish for you.

Never stop being the fighter I see right now. Never lose that drive, that determination to reach new heights. When you see something in the distance, and you decide you want it, and it seems impossible, harness this I can do it spirit I see in you right now.

Because the goals will always be there, and often they will seem impossible. It might be that A in math, or winning the spelling bee. Or will it be that team you try out for, the one you want to make so bad it hurts. The honor roll or a special award in high school? I sure hope so. Will you aim for a starring role in the class play, or hope for a solo in the school concert? One day it will be that one particular college you love. The one they actually call your “reach” school. That dream job will come along, but the competition will be fierce. You will have personal goals, too. Run a marathon, write a book, take that dream vacation… how will you ever make it happen? By being the same strong, determined, little girl I am watching right now.

You are one amazing little girl. You have so much power and strength in that little heart of yours. Use it well as you tackle every obstacle life sends your way, always refusing to give up.

And never forget: If you do stumble? If you do fall?

Daddy will be right behind you, ready to pick you up.