I don’t have any kiddos at this point in life, but I think about those days often. It is usually cheerful. Everyone is happy, rested, and soaked in the idealism that only a male without the understanding of what is coming could have. But I do have some practical images as well. I think about sitting down at my desk to write my little girl a letter on her birthday. A letter to celebrate her. To tell her the stories of the past year. Maybe it’s a letter to help her, in some small way, understand who she was (at least in my limited understanding), or to tell her how proud I was when she did this, or when she conquered that.
If I’m honest with myself, the letter is mostly for me. For me to remember who she was, how she changed me, how she continues to challenge me, and how she forced me to grow.
So with no kids, but still full of sentimentality, my letter for this year is to you Sseko.
You’re turning two.
It’s hard to believe.
Over the past year you went from a few Americans, six Ugandan women and a handful of faithful fans to something new. It’s not that you are necessarily better, although you have learned a lot of hard lessons; you’ve failed, succeeded, cried, laughed, grown, and stood at the cusp of the next step…wherever that may lead.
You inspire me to wake up in the morning and (after a nice stove top espresso) face my fears. You have brought people from all over this world of ours together (and I’m going to expect you to speak all those languages as any self-respecting parent would). There is just something about you that brings life to people.
You’re a believer. You believe in people, in their ability to overcome the barriers in life that seem insurmountable. You believe in the human spirit, in its ability to propel us forward, and to help achieve our wildest dreams.
And you have learned to laugh at the craziness of this life. You moved two times this year. You had tear gas dumped inside the walls of your compound and experienced the turbulence of the post election environment. You practically got kicked out of one home, only to land with a lake-front view in what seems like a place built just for you (and yes I’m still jealous).
You watched as six new women walked through the gates as they prepared to face a world that hasn’t chosen them to be successful. And you didn’t bat an eye. Sometimes your fearlessness scares the hell out of me. I’m in the passenger seat of a driver’s ed car, but instead of a 15 year old, I have you. And instead of a secondary breaking system I have a shiny new desk (Craigslist!), some snazzy QuickBooks skills, and ragtag crew of friends who will surely soften the blow as we inevitably run a few lights and find ourselves in the wrong way on a one-way street. And we will make it.
I don’t know that you have fame in your future, or glory, or even one of those infomercials that just suck me in on a Saturday afternoon (although your parents will find a way to get one of their kids on there), but you’re moving forward. You’re dreaming big. Keep at it. We are watching you.
Two was a fun year. Can’t wait to celebrate 3 (and think about how big this little Sseko family will be).