In the end, it all comes down to one thing. Change.
Everyday is a new adventure as these babies change, growing and developing new skills all the time. As my marriage changes and takes on a whole new meaning as partners in parenting. As my life changes transforming from infertile to mother to stay-at-home-mom to working mom. The only constant in all of it is that nothing's constant, it's always evolving. We're shifting and changing as we go, and I'm proud of that.
So I thought I'd take a minute to stop and take a snapshot of my dreams in this moment. Those deep hopes I have for my children. What I want them to know, to learn, to live. As time passes, these dreams will change, but I want to remember what I feel in this moment.
So, Grace and Caleb, know that on this day, in your sixth month of life, as you sleep peacefully in the room beside me, my heart is overflowing with dreams for you. Here are a few things I want you to know:
1. Happiness is not a destination, but rather a frame of mind. No one else can truly bring you happiness, you have to decide on your own that you will adopt this frame of mind, enjoy what lies before you, and be.happy. I wish, more than anything, that you choose this path and decide to make each day great. To be happy.
2. You are who you choose to be around. Friends are the fabric of life, they make everything feel more real and seem more vibrant. Friends also define you more than you think they do. Choose wisely who you spend your time with, they will undoubtedly rub off on you, for good or bad.
3. You will always have each other. Your were born with a special bond that not many get to experience. Cherish your unique place as "twin" and remember that you have been together all your life, and nothing can replace that. Lean on each other for strength, humor, compassion, and above all, love.
4. Your parents love you more than you will ever fully comprehend. There are no words strong enough to explain that love. Everything we do for you is in the name of this love, be it discipline or praise, enjoyable or irritating. It's all because we cannot step outside of this love, it consumes us, and we wouldn't have it any other way.
5. It takes a village to raise a child, and probably most of the neighboring villages to raise twins. The support system that cares about you, prays for you, and watches you grow is one of the most important factors in your success. Keep them in your mind and come back to them when you need to find your bearings, plant your feet, or just reconnect with the past that built you. They will always be ready with open arms.
6. Learn from those who came before you. Read and absorb the beauty and success of great people. Learn about strong women who lead and inspire. Take note from intelligent men who lead by example and hold tight to their morals. Do not idolize the recent trend or the fleeting personality, spotlighted by media or thrust in your face by popular culture. Emulate the greats who came before you or who challenge the status quo of today.
7. Love yourself before trying to love someone else. There is someone out there who will steal your heart and challenge you to become better. This person deserves the best of you, and you cannot give that if you don't yet know what it is yourself. Find who you are, take calculated risks and try new things, look in the mirror and decide that you are powerful, beautiful, and original. And once you believe those things, and only at that point, will you be able to convince someone else of the same. And believe me, you deserve someone who is absolutely and undeniably convinced of YOUR power, beauty, and originality. Period.
8. Live out loud! You may be shy. You may be outgoing and boisterous. You may be athletic, artistic, creative, or composed. You may be every single one of those things. Whatever you do, whoever you are, live it outwardly with pride and dignity. Do not hide the talents and passions you have; they are you. Show the world what you're made of, in the way that feels right. Follow your heart and then let it lead others.
9. You are a role model. It doesn't matter if you don't think others are watching you, they are. You will always be teaching someone, be it your sibling, your friends, your teammates, the kid in the back of the class, the kid in the grade below you, your cousins, or your parents. We're watching to see just what you will do next. Someone is always waiting to try what you've tried, be like you've become, do what you're doing. Be careful what you do. Stop, think, then react.
10. Dedicate yourself to something. Take the time to dedicate yourself to one thing and become great, even amazing, at it. Spend your life trying things, but don't ever let that be an excuse to not be great at something. "I tried" is not the answer. Do it, and do it right. You will reap so many beautiful rewards from learning about the power of dedication.
11. Be gentle with others and know that everyone has their own reality, which may be very different from your own. Realize the vast differences in perspective and be patient with ideas, thoughts, and circumstances that are not your own. Diversity of thought has a very important place in innovation and success. Listen and use those other perspectives to bring new light to your own potential!
12. Be humble. You will surely be an amazing person with significant talents and important ideas. This does not mean that you are the most amazing person with the most significant talent and the most important ideas. Share what you know, who you are, and how you got there. But realize that others are better than you in certain aspects. Acknowledge your weaknesses as opportunities to grow. Accept criticism as a blessing, a challenge, and a gift. Learn from others and be gracious for the lessons.
13. Truly know your Creator. He is the reason for your being, the One who answered our prayers and gave us you. He gave you life, and everything around you. Talk to Him and know that He is always listening; speak from your heart and the words won't matter. He loves you in your darkest hours and will never leave you alone. Turn to him in your confusion, trials, and victories. Thank Him, every single day, every single breath. And love Him for the amazing gifts He has given us.
14. Come home. No matter how far away, how many minutes, hours, months, or even years have passed since you were here. No matter where your house or our house resides, when we are together, we are home.
15. Talk to your Mother. While there will be many times that you find yourself wondering how I could possibly have any answer worth listening to, I can promise you this- I will listen to you and offer my love, no matter what. I will always be your #1 fan, cheering you on from the stands, the auditorium, the front row. I will love you from now until forever. You will always be my baby, my child, my heart walking around outside of my body. Wherever you go, you have my heart. Tell me your stories and know that I am truly amazed at who you are. I could not be more proud.
With all of my love,