Today as I write this post, I am only a couple days away from being, for the first time in my life, the same age as my older sister – a fact as bizarre as it is tragic. All through my life, I looked up to your mom as someone who just understood the world better than me, knew so much more than me and was constantly achieving way more than I could ever imagine myself being capable of. I would keep telling myself that she manages to do so much because she’s a lot older (ok honestly, only 3 and a half years), and that when I am her age, things are going to work out the same way for me as well. But now here I am, almost as old as she’s ever been but still not achieved half as much wisdom, success, strength and love as she did through her entire life. And that not only makes me so so proud but also leaves me in awe of the person we have had the privilege of knowing.
Whatever your mom decided to do, she put her heart and soul into it. Whether it was learning to play the guitar or learning how to cook (she made the yummiest Chinese food, just so you know), her internship at an ad agency at the age of 16 or her full time job as the director of Communications at a non-profit organization at the age of 29, leaving her happy place behind to move to another country so she could start a new life with your dad or be the best mom she could to you, Sam always made sure she gave in her hundred percent and more to anything that she ever tried in life, no matter how big or small. That being said, things that she didn’t want to do, you couldn’t pay her a billion bucks to do it! Like exercising, for example. Or going on a long hike. Or waking up early to get breakfast. You get the drift.
There was this one time I remember many years ago when I was very conflicted with a decision I had to make. I asked her what to do and she, in her trademark calm, composed, straightforward but still normally-always-annoyed-at-my-stupidity self said to me, “ Do what you think is right. If your heart tells you to do it and you know there’s nothing wrong, then do it. Else don’t.” I obviously went ahead and did the thing in question and since then, that is one principle I have always based my life’s decisions upon. Mostly, it’s worked. At the times that it didn’t, I never regretted the steps that I took because at the end of the day I know i did do what I really and truly wanted always. And that knowledge - I believe - of following our hearts, is where most of our happiness stems from. And that is something your mom would always want from you. The courage to follow your heart.
(You remember that one time in the car when all of us had gone on a picnic in America? And we caught you with your hand on your chest, mumbling a few words to yourself. We asked you what you were doing and you told us you were asking Mommy if she was having fun and that Mommy said she was. You did that because you knew she had gone to live in your heart. Hold on to that knowledge forever, baby girl. Don’t ever let go of it. Its what will make everything ok).
I’m going to try to end this letter with advice I think your mom would always give you. She would tell you to dance in the rain, to put your happy pants on no matter what the situation, to know that you are precious, to know that you are someone’s reason to smile, to know that you are loved. She would tell you that life is tough, but it’s also beautiful. Make sure you notice all the tiny bits of beauty around you as much as the bigger ones and make that your strength. Your ability to see the beauty in the minutest of things, just like your mom did, is what is going to help you stand out from the crowd. She would tell you to not try to only fit in, because standing out is great. The world needs more of your light, so keep shining like you were destined to. Shoot for the moon every single time and even if you miss, know that the brightest star in the sky is always shining over you. I am sure this is what she would want you to know, every single minute of every single day. And I am sure this is who you will be.