Dear Willow Rose,
Your Mom and I are so excited to meet you! We have been counting down the days until we can finally cradle you in our arms, rock you to sleep, kiss your cute little cheeks and even change your diaper (and speaking of diapers, I’ve never changed one before so you better make them good!). Before you arrive, I thought I would share some truths that I hope will help guide you through this crazy, beautiful, and sometimes stinky thing called life.
You are an answered prayer. You are literally a miracle to us. Your Mom and I were starting to doubt if we could have children, but God answered our prayers in a mighty way when we learned we would soon have a daughter. The news of you took our faith in God to a deeper place, and I expect that will be even more true when you arrive. Your life will be full of ups, downs and unknowns, but I hope you always remember to seek God even when the odds are against you, when the road gets rough or when you feel like you’re losing hope.
Your family loves you. Did you know there are 589 brands of breakfast cereal? I tell you this to prepare you for the many choices you’ll be given in life. The one thing you cannot choose, however, is your family. Thankfully, you’ve hit the jackpot with Nana, Bapa, Gigi, Papa, and many others who already love you deeply. I hope you always remember that while you cannot choose your family, you can always choose to love them and I hope you always will.
You will make mistakes. Willow, there are two big lies that this world will make you believe. The first lie is that you need to be perfect, but that’s simply not true. Mistakes are one of the best ways we learn in life. When you fall short, don’t let the sting of disappointment prevent you from getting back up and pressing forward. Your Mom and I are far from perfect, so I hope you always remember that you’re not alone when it comes to making mistakes. We will always, ALWAYS love you (even through the “terrible twos”).
Your beauty comes from inside. The second big lie is that beauty can be measured by the numbers on a scale, the size of your clothing, or the amount of likes you get on social media. As a guy, I can’t say I fully understand the insecurities many girls feel when it comes to their self-image, but those feelings you may someday battle are a result of our culture’s obsession with women’s outward appearance. As your Dad, I promise to show you what real beauty looks like by raising you to value qualities such as gentleness, respect, humility, kindness and compassion. When I first saw your Mom, my knees buckled and I could hardly speak. She was (and still is) the most beautiful girl I had ever laid eyes on, but as time passed and she opened her heart to me, my attraction for her reached depths I never knew were possible. I hope you always remember to seek after that kind of beauty for yourself and in others. And speaking of mama…
Your Mom is an AMAZING role model. She is incredibly smart, loyal, trustworthy, and encouraging. She is a hard worker and a leader. She is trusted and respected, and her kindness and compassion seem limitless. Her desire to be like Jesus is her best quality, and she is loved by many because of how she loves others. I hope you always remember to surround yourself with people like your Mom.
You can make a difference. Willow, there are no limits to what you can accomplish in this world, but my prayer is that no matter what you chase after, it is rooted in truth and love that can only be found in a relationship with Jesus. Our world can be a dark place, but I hope you always remember to be a beacon of light to others because that is truly the purpose for which God has created you.
I love you and I can’t wait to see you shine.
“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:14-16
Photos by The Malicotes
Matt and Kelsey, words aren’t enough to express our gratitude for your friendship,
and thank you from the bottom of our hearts for these treasured images.