A Letter To My Daughter on Her 5th Birthday

A Letter To My Daughter on Her 5th Birthday

On the eve of my daughter’s second birthday, I decided I would write her a letter every year (read the first one here).  I skipped a few years (she turns five today!) but as I was writing this letter to her, I realized I’m equally writing it for myself and for all of you. Go on, be the nova (bright star!) that you are. 


Dear Nova,

The last letter I wrote to you was for your second birthday. It has been amazing watching you grow over the past three years. You are no longer a baby or a toddler, you are a little girl, a little human (as you like to say). You are bright, sparkling, full of light. A friend described you as someone who goes out into the world sprinkling confetti and I can’t think of a better description of your personality and effect on others.

You love sushi, music of all kinds, every single dog we pass and dancing and performing. You are exuberant, people-loving and full of shiny energy. I am in awe of the way you find something awesome in the everyday. Last week I took warm clothes out of the dryer and as usual dumped them on the bed because I know how much you love to jump on them. I turned around for a second and the next thing I know, you’d taken off your outfit and were lying nude on top of the warm pile of clothes. “Come on Mama, try it!” Of course I was in Mama-mode and said to you “No, I need to get this done”.  You kept insisting so eventually I took off my top and lay down in the clothes with you.  Your face popped over me. “See, Mama?”  I smiled at you and said, “This feels AMAZING.”  Because it did! I observe such real, unabashed joy in you and I find myself wanting to feel what you feel. In that way, you inspire me everyday to rediscover that pure joy from childhood. You inspire me to not accept my current level of joy as all that’s available to me. I know there is so much more.  

But this letter is about you, not about me. And I want you to know that I will make it my responsibility to always guide you towards that joy that is inherent in you. I’m learning in real time that the only way back to that deep, born-with-it level of joy is through understanding, acknowledging, and then releasing our pain. I wish, like all parents do, that I could protect you from any and all pain or hardship, but not only is that not possible, it would also mean I’d be protecting you from the beauty of life. Because as painful as some experiences are, they are where we find the greatest growth. It is through those experiences that our true spirit is revealed. And I know that your spirit is of the very best kind.

So when you feel pain my girl, don’t be afraid. Instead, tell yourself, ah I see, here it is. The pain I am to experience. The pain that is a part of my journey. The pain that is a reminder that I am alive, that I am here. Observe it, be curious about it but don’t be it. You are not your pain. You are so much more. You are infinite, you are expansive, you are a miracle. Your pain hurts, yes. It feels dark. Sometimes it feels like you’re in a box or a hole. But as long as you remember who you are and why you are here, the pain won’t own you or control you. There will always be a window, even if it’s just a little crack, that let’s the light in. The pain is only there to reveal the depths of your power.

Remember that from the time you were born, you shone a light as strong as a star (a nova!) on everyone and everything around you. That is your true self, your true spirit. Any pain that you experience will only deepen your compassion and understanding for yourself and others.

When you were a baby, your Dad used to always say, If anyone can do it, Nova can. Nova can be the captain of a spaceship, or cure a disease or unite divided people. But what he really meant was, Nova is already powerful. Nova is powerful through the love that she gives freely, through the smile she showers on others, through the joy that emanates from her as she walks down the street. That is you at your core, my beautiful girl. Never let the dark clouds that might pass overhead stay there. See them, feel the rain and tears that soak you. But always let them pass. Let your light shine through your teardrops to create that rainbow. That is your superpower.

I promise not to wait another three years to write you another letter.


Your Mama