To my daughter,

You are three years old today. (Congratulations, your parents managed to keep you alive for another year!) Hopefully the ride hasn’t been too scary so far. Mommy can attest to the fact that I don’t handle change very well, so it’s been a bit of an adjustment for daddy. (I have the sprouts of gray to prove it.)

Lately though, I’ve become much more fixated on the influences of the outside world than on anything your mother or I am doing. Things are a little topsy turvy right now. Tensions are higher than usual around the world. Things might not be as bad as they seem (they rarely are), but it’s a scary time for a lot of people right now. Yet despite all of that, I’m reminded of some fundamental truths every time I look at you.

Hope. Innocence. Beauty. Kindness. These are the things I am hoping we can all embrace more in the years to come. We’re all in this together and have to learn how to work together. The lust for power over others and monetary gain will never disappear, but as long as there are good people out there to fight for those who can’t, we’ll be okay. I hope that you’ll do your best to be one of the good people, though I know a lot of that burden will fall to me and your mother. We may not get it right all the time, but we are doing our best to guide you in the right direction.

Above all, I hope that, whatever decisions you choose to make in life, there will be room for you and whomever you have chosen to be. We have taken so many steps forward in our world over the very brief time our civilization has been around and, though there are those out there that will pull us to take steps backwards, I know we will continue to move in the right direction. Progress may be slow, but is progressive nonetheless.

It’s taken knowing your mother to help me see a lot of these things. She is able to see the best in people, which enables her to realize the best in herself. I’m still learning how to do that, but I have a long way to go. So I’m hoping you take after her and are more easily able to remain a hopeful and optimistic person in spite of everything your life (and the people in it) may throw at you.

Not to worry too much. You’ve got plenty of time. ; )

With three years (plus an extra nine months or so) of love,