On this, your very first birthday, I sit here in Hawaii typing you this note while you are in Japan thousands of miles away.
Your grandmother and I miss you very much today, and every day. But we see the pictures and videos of your smiling face that are sent to us regularly by your mom and dad.
When in the years ahead you look back on this message, the world without question will be very different from what it is today. I suspect FaceBook will be gone and telephone and video/tv communications will be taking place in a form that is unrecognizable and unfathomable to us today.
I want you to know that I am working hard today and every day to make sure that when you grow up and have children of your own, that you are able to breathe clean air, drink clean water and eat food that is safe and healthy. I work also along with many friends who share the same concerns, to help make the world a little bit more fair for those people who have less and deserve more. I am both fearful of the direction our planet is going, and at the same time optimistic and inspired by the goodness, love and beauty of the world we are blessed to live in. My goal is that the world and the people in my community benefit from the time I have spent here, and I hope as the years unfold ahead of you that perhaps this goal might appeal to you as well.
In my dreams, you will return to Hawaii with your mom and dad to live near us and you will be able to enjoy the beauty of Hawaii and perhaps raise your family here as well. Maybe even on Kauai!
Until you do return, I hope you enjoy your time traveling the world. Please make sure your mom and dad read aloud to you every night and when it’s time to begin your schooling, please work hard and learn plenty! Your mother and father are great role models for you and I know they will be there for you whenever you need them. Always know also that your grandfather will drop his life in a heart beat to come help you, should you ever need him. Know that I will never be too busy to take your telephone call and be there to support or help, should you ever need me.
As you grow up, please set your goals high knowing that you can achieve anything at all that you set your eyes on, and that you are willing to work hard for. But know that success is not measured by money, but in service and in the good that you can accomplish in the world.
Your mother will always be my little girl, and you too now share that special place in my heart.
Please give your mom and dad a huge hug for me. And don’t forget to call us now and again! And, please call and visit once in a while your great-grandmother and grandfather in Alabama too! Of course, I know we have to share you with the Simmons family as well, and it gives me comfort to know that your circle of love and support is wide and strong.
Take care for now.
Love you girl.