Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Love Letter to my Daughter

It has been said, "There are two lasting bequeaths we can give our children, one is roots, the other this wings." -Unknown

Here then, is something to fertilize her roots. May she always plant her feet in rich soil!

Welcome to the world little one....

You are the first born daughter, of the first of two daughters, who was born to an only daughter, who was born the the second of four daughters, who was born to the second of four daughters. You are the fifth generation in an unbroken line of powerful, wonderful, adventerous women. May the stories of your ancestors encourage you and strengthen you.

You are the great, great granddaughter of a man who ventured across the sea to seek his fortune as a laborer in a foregin land only returning to his nation of birth to marry, and then returned to his adopted nation for the remainder of his life.

You are the great, great granddaughter of woman who completed two years of college before the year 1900 and then journeyed across the vast Pacific Ocean, with a man whom she only met the day of their wedding, to a country whose language she didn't speak. In this land she would raise four daughters.

You are the great granddaughter of a woman who grew up nisei, born to parents from Japan, but American by birthright. This woman's country of birth, the only country she ever knew, would imprison her and her relatives during World War II for the "safety of the nation." When she and her husband left internment to farm for the government, she would cook extra food at lunchtime to feed the farm hands provided by the government, German POWs, believing that the meager rations the government provided the workers were not nearly enough.

You are the great grandaughter of a "country boy" who asked the "city girl" to marry him once a year, for 5 years, until she finally agreed. This country boy wished to leave internment so much that he agreed to move inland and farm for the government. The country boy learned the trade so well that when the war was over, he continued to farm, eventually becoming very successful. More than that, he shared his success with his community, allowing the community to buy stock in "Pronto Produce" that increased in value so much that many in the small town were able to send their children to college on that stock. This country boy believed passionately in education and was so generous in his contributions to the local community college that the campus conference center was eventually named after him.

You are the great granddaughter of a woman whose ancestory hailed from the Great Smokey Mountains, but raised her two children on an indian reservation in eastern Washington. Though impoverished, this woman invested love in her children and stretched a dollar far enough so that their bellies never went empty.

You are the great graddaughter of a man who spent a lifetime working the coal mines in eastern Washington. Although this man engaged in hard labor during the day, he loved to take his wife to the grange for weekly dances where he would sweep her into his arms, grasp her dainty hands in his rough, calloused palms and spin her 'round and 'round.

You are the great granddaughter of a woman who raised 8 children on her own, and then went on to assist and help raise their children when needed. This woman would learn computers very early on and go on to head a computer department at a community college well into her 80s.

You are the great granddaughter of a man who fought for the allies during World War II, hopping from island to island in the pacific arena, setting up radio towers as the US pushed forward. This man would go on to be known for the quirky inventions he created the rest of his life.

You are the great granddaughter of a woman who who met her husband while working as a cigarette girl at the Officers' Club in Spokane. This woman was known for making friends out of anyone, and her generosity towards those friends and her family. Christmases at her house were always a special occassion.

You are the granddaughter of a woman who was born while the government imprisoned all people of her ancestory on the West Coast and lived, as a baby, on a dirt floor. This woman became a teacher and could silence a class of 8th grader with just one look, which later also proved to be effective for motherhood. This woman is a connector of people; at your baby shower she had a friend she had known since 4th gradee, a friend from her freshman year in college, and many friend whom she had known for 30 years.

You are the granddaughter of a woman who met the man she married by asking coyly from the shore of a lake, "How's the water?" as he stood chest deep. This woman raised 3 boys while facing challenges in her own life. She overcame these challenges with bravery and tenacity, and discovered her amazing gift with dogs.

You are the granddaughter of a man who grew up on an indian reservation and was the only white child in his grade school. This man claims the didn't even really realize he was different for many years and wondered "why, when played cowboys and indians always had to be a cowboy." This man overcame an incredibly impoverished childhood to earn scholarships for college, becoming the first in his family to receive a college degree. He then went on for several more degrees. His compassion, kindness and love of family shines in all he does.

You are the granddaughter of a man who grew up as one of eight children, to a single mom. This man worked hard to support his family and became a skilled technitian. This man adores his current granddaughter and will adore you too.

You are the daughter of a man who became the first in his family to go to college. This kind man then went on to spend a year with little pay, working with the homeless in Los Angeles. His playful spirit, brilliant mind, and devotion to his family will make him an amazing father to you.

You are the daughter of a woman who danced at the happiest place on earth and across the ocean. This woman is known for bursting into joyful song at random moments, and drawing children and animals to her with just a smile.

Most of all, you are a daughter of the Lord God, who sent His son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for you. When none of your relatives can be near you, His loving spirit will be with you always. May His presence, and the stories of the generations before you, give you strength when you feel weak, courage when you feel afraid, the spirit of boldness when you feel timid, and a blanket of love when you feel alone.