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  • Writer's pictureLesly Salazar

An Open Letter to my Daughter on her 5th Birthday

Dear Elena,

Five years ago today, at 9:29 p.m., you came into this world. It happened quickly, but I remember every moment. When the nurses handed your tiny, fragile self to me, I was in awe of you. Now, five years later, you are beginning your sixth year of life. Happy 5th birthday Elena.

This birthday is not like any other you've had. Unfortunately, you won't be having a party (or two like you're used to having). Because of COVID-19, Maryland, Virginia, and D.C. are all under stay-at-home orders. The world is on hold because of the coronavirus, and that means we're all having to adjust.

I had already planned on making a special video for you that highlights your first five years of life, but because of COVID-19, I'm adding a special section that includes a birthday shoutout from family and friends who wish they could be with you to celebrate.

I hope you enjoy this gift, among the others you'll receive today, and cherish it as a memory of the beautiful five years you've had the blessing of living.

I'm so grateful to have you as my daughter. You have made parenthood so enjoyable and unforgettable. People ask me what I do to have such a smart and mannered daughter. I really can't take credit for it. You're naturally so intelligent and well-rounded.

Yes, there are lessons I have to teach you, but you pick up on them so easily. You're curious and eager to learn. I hope you never lose your sense of wonder and habit of asking "why?" Question everything this life has to offer you. Not in a distrusting way, but in an eager-to-learn kind of way.

Five Things to Remember

1. Your worth is not dependent on others' opinions of you. You are fearfully and wonderfully made by our God and Creator. He doesn't make mistakes, and that means you were made for a purpose. Don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise.

2. People who are mean are hurt. Differentiate between constructive criticism and negativity, then respond accordingly. People who truly care about you will lift you up and help you reach new levels.

3. You will fail, and that's okay. In fact, it's more than okay. Failure brings growth and maturity. The day you stop learning is the day you stop growing. If you think you've peaked, think again. There is always more to strive for.

4. You are not alone. The same God who created light and darkness (yes, there was a time when neither of those existed. What?) is with you every single day. If you feel unworthy because of your mistakes, remember that David was known for being a man after God's own heart. And if you don't already know all the awful things he did, you may want to look into that. Believe me, your sin cannot take you where God's love can't find you. (Psalm 40:2)

5. Don't "do whatever makes you happy." Your happiness is dependent on your earthly desires, which are often sinful. Instead, put others before yourself. Just make sure not to let anyone take advantage of you. Know your worth. When the line gets blurry, read any of the Gospels. Jesus lived an exemplary life that we can look to for wisdom.

Lastly, I want to leave you with my favorite scripture. These verses have guided me through tough times, and they've helped me become a better person.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. -1 Cor. 13:4-8

I won't always be around for you, but God and His Word will be. I love you and wish you growth and happiness in this beautiful life. Eres mi princesa, mi cielo y mi vida. Te quiero mucho little nena!

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