Dad, your then three year old sister, Samantha and I welcomed you into the world on April 24, 1997 at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak. Your spectacular olive skin and brown hair triggered a certain kind of amazement. I saw my own baby photos; I was light and bald with hints of blonde. Seeing you appear brought the realization to life that creation of a human being truly is a blending of two people. Dad was much like you.
As you grew, you had a strong physicality and a tender heart. Your eyes seemed to be contemplating things but you weren’t regularly willing to reveal your thoughts, even as a toddler. You laughed; you played, made friends and enjoyed learning. You just didn’t love discussing what you were feeling. As a young adult, I know you have worked on unleashing your heart to others, at last. The practical application and outlaying of your growth in this area brings me a most content joy as your mom.
I can’t recall a time, once you learned to do so, that you were not reading. Your aptitude in all academic areas surpassed all expectations. Likewise, in your wisdom, you advanced rapidly. Almost as if there were an 80 year old sage inside your young body, you have a knack for being the stable one with profound ideas. Samantha and I have joked that you should have been our mother but, actually, that would have made a lot of sense.
Now, I ’m not suggesting that you’re an astute student of the street. On the contrary, you have a wildly divergent acumen. On the one hand, you were the salutatorian of your graduating class. On the other hand, you aren’t necessarily skilled on how to make a doctor appointment. It’s the endearing dichotomy of you.
I love all of the creative and vulnerable, brilliant and fragile aspects that make up your heart and soul. You love to make things but it is rarely that you make anything for yourself. You bake for others and it brings such joy to you. You’ve become a prized baker. Your needlepoint messages are always created with love for the recipient in mind. Your framed floral prints bring artistic joy to many. I value the ones you have given me as if they were jewels.
I remember, when you were in grade school, one of your greatest delights happened during the Christmas season when you and I would pass out gifts to teachers and staff. You skipped through the process of handing out each wrapped present. It stirred love in you.
Giving is one of your most beautiful gifts. It has never been something that you thought you ought to do. It has always been something that you yearned to do. It’s genuine. It’s a part of your approach to life. And, that other centered way emits from you into other relational aspects of your life. Rarely is the focus on you unless you are prompted. You would rather learn about others. You are a compassionate, young woman.
You are so wired with empathy, Ana, that, you could never view an awkward, difficult or sad moment on the television or at the movies without wincing aloud and often covering your eyes. Your friends and family always laughed a little because these characters were actors. But, you couldn’t stand their pain. Amplify that in real life. You hurt when others hurt. You want to walk alongside them and you want to make the sting lessen through love.
Your choice to become a teacher is a grand decision and one that will make a lasting feature in this world. You have said that you are not here to change the world. Your goal is to teach in Detroit and focus on one classroom and its individual students, one day at a time. By doing so, you believe that you will manifest transformation. You aren’t here to revolutionize but you are here to affect what you can in a most insightful way, up close and very deeply with pockets of young people who can lend their renewed minds and love, then, to others. And, on it will go.
I am completely blessed by God to have been able to bring you into my life and into the lives of others. I have never taken your life here for granted. I rejoice in it, whether struggles are high or low. I love the love that you have for God and when we meet again, I believe you, Adrianna, will have reward in heaven that will amaze you. It will startle you because your mind never focuses on matters of the self. But, God is ripening you here for glory.
I love you, Adrianna. You are beyond.