paoTo my sweet youngest daughter Ashley, in few hours, you’ll be 10!

I can’t believe how fast time went by.  Another birthday celebration away from you…although I feel a bit sad missing out on your party, the candle blowing and unwrapping of gifts. I hope you know in your heart that you’ll be in my thoughts all throughout your special day.

In part, I’m writing you this so you’ll remember the many things I wish you to keep as you grow older.  Because there are special parts of you that I want you to hold on to and never change.

1. Stay gentle.  It can be very easy to believe something bad someone says about us—easier to believe than the compliments. Just remember what you believe is what you become

2. Stay sweet.  Take pride that even though the world may disagree,but you still believe it to be a beautiful place.  Do not let pain or bitterness steal your sweetness.

3. Stay thoughtful.  In this selfish, narcissistic world we live in, we need more people like you. Someone, who thinks of others before themselves.

4. Keep your sense of humor.  Period.

5. Keep your creative spirit.  Because the world of reality has its limits but the world of imagination has no bounds.  Keep your passion for drawing and painting…because I know it makes your heart sing.

6. Keep your quirky fashion sense.  I love the fact that you don’t give a hoot if people will stare.  So what, if you wear a pair of cosmic leggings with blaring pink top?  It’s different, yes.  But if that defines who you are… Go on, you’re unique.

7.  Stay kind.  When you are kind you are not only helping others, you are helping yourself.

8.  Keep your humility.  Let your actions tell your story, my dear.

9.  Keep your individuality.  You are amazing. I am your mother and I will always believe in you.  Just because you have different strengths does not mean you are less than others. You are you and that’s what matters.

10. Have fun with life. At times it feels everything goes south on you, convinced that the universe is conspiring against you.  Don’t despair, these are lessons in life, and it’s always a bit easier to swallow a hard pill, with a good dose of humor.

I love you very much my dearest Ashley.  Happy happy birthday.