Dear Mary Tilman,
My wish for you sweet girl is that you stay true to yourself. Your daddy and I are going to raise you right so I want you to remember that. Be kind to others but stand up for what you believe in. You will face situations that are uncomfortable and trying, but stay strong. It my take a lifetime to be comfortable in your own skin but I hope you find that peace. You are a beautiful, smart, strong little girl and I hope you maintain that identity for years to come. You will have heartaches and mistakes but those moments will make you stronger. While I don't wish failure on you, I know it will come. You will mess up at school, work or say the wrong thing at the wrong time, but those moments make you who you are. You appreciate the happy times after the bad. Be you little one and stay just the way you are.
My wish for you is that you find your "people". Your family will always be there but friends are the family you get to pick. Some of my best friends are ones I found in childhood and in college. You will laugh, cry, experience loss and love with these "people". They are the ones that will carry you through difficult times from near and far. Some of your friends will grow distant but some new ones will come. Those great friends are the ones you see after months and months and it is like you never left. I hope your "people" are as good as mine, yet I also hope to be one of your "people". While I agree with the statement, I am your parent not your friend, I hope I am that person you call during good times and the bad.
My wish for you is that you live with no regrets. This is my biggest aspiration but the hardest to attain. When you were really little, I wished so much for you to sleep or stop crying. Now I regret not savoring those snuggles and precious moments. I wanted to make those first few months perfect but was never willing to ask for help. Time is such a valuable thing and regrets stop you from appreciating it. Live in the moment and don't look back. You can't change yesterday but you have an influence on tomorrow. This past year with you has flown. As I think of all the exciting times ahead, it makes me yearn for those little baby moments I will never get back. Stay young and naive for as long as possible. Live life in each moment and the regrets will never come.
My wish for you is that you never stop learning. I want to take to oh so many places so you can learn, grow and explore. The reason I love to travel is learning about different people and walks of life. I hope you always learn and appreciate the things around. Do the touristy thing if it teaches you nothing else other than what it is like to live in someone else's shoes. Volunteer, give back, because it makes you a better person. Visit museums and art exhibits just to learn something new. I want you to know where you came from but also be willing to have a vision for where you want to go. Your opportunities are endless and completely up to you.
My wish for you is that you know you are loved. You have changed my life in every way imaginable but I wouldn't change a thing. My goal is for you to be safe, happy and loved. I see so much of myself in you, your independence, your determination but also your sensitivity. While you are a spitfire, you are also so, so sweet. You love so much which only makes it easier to love you that much more. You are such an amazing little girl and the love of our lives.
Happy First Birthday my sweet little one! You are so loved.