Dear Meg:

A note from the editor: In this letter series, there will be letters written from our friends, parents, mentors, and loved ones. Each of these letters will help us lead to our self worth and value.

Hi Meg. A curious thing happened today I thought I’d share with you. I was shopping in Home Depot (ok, it was more like walking around aimlessly looking at stuff I didn’t need!) when I heard a little giggle behind me that sounded familiar. I turned around to see a little blond-haired girl 2 or 3 years old riding on her Father’s shoulders as he held her hands above his head to hold her steady. I smiled and laughed a little myself at the sight of the two of them having such simple fun.

As I continued my wandering up and down the aisles I realized that giggle sounded so familiar because it reminded me of your laugh at that age. I began thinking about a picture we had in a frame in the kitchen for years of me carrying you on my shoulders while vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard. I remembered how you too loved to sit up on my shoulders and check out the world from up high. I wondered if that little girl’s Dad could appreciate in the moment what I know now: how great it is to be a little girl’s Dad. I felt a moment of envy that he still had that carefree moment with his little girl. I then found myself having a flood of memories that replaced that envy with gratitude and pride. I remembered your early school years and going to parent’s night and seeing what you had learned or created while hearing from teachers year-after-year about what a “joy” it was to have you as their student. I remembered how early you began to swim and countless trips and vacations at beaches and your love of the ocean. I remembered how excited you were to have your baby sister come home – finally someone you could boss around! Those squeals of fun as you and your friends played house, went on the swings and trampoline in the backyard, and performed dance concerts on the back deck and in the family room. How you tore down the steps from your bedroom every Christmas to see what was under the tree. (Actually, you still do that!).

It seemed that giggle I had heard from that little girl behind me was one I have heard from you your whole life as you grew into the remarkable young woman you are today who still has that great giggle we now call a laugh. But I also recalled your challenges and conviction. How you consistently push yourself to conquer your fears and succeed. Some require remarkable inner determination like conquering your fear of horses to watching you compete a short time later in equestrian events. Or learning to ride a dirt bike then tearing through the neighborhood on it for hours at a time. Some challenges were simpler, like teaching you ski or to drive in bad weather even as you just got your permit because “we live in New England and that’s what we drive in.”  Some convictions you hold have grown remarkably profound like your confirmation freshman year and the “blessing of hands” as you prepare for your career in nursing. Other challenges in recent years have been more personal and the consequences more significant. But your growing faith, love of family and friends and devotion to help others has carried you through troubled times and you have again found that giggle, that laugh, that makes us all smile when we are around you.

If I could have spoken to that little girl’s Dad, mine would have been a cautionary tale. I would have told him to hold on to those precious simple moments.  That it doesn’t get easier as that little girl grows older and doesn’t have your shoulders to ride upon or your hand to hold all the time. But if he loved her, trusted her, and believed in her as I have in you she would always know she still had her Dad right beside her wherever she was. I hope you know that you do, every day.  Love you Meg. God bless.

Oh, by the way:  Never did buy anything at Home Depot but their gift cards make a great Father’s Day gift!