Dear Danger, While your middle name exudes confidence, power, and courage, I'm afraid that your sweet demeanor and general daintiness make me a little anxious. As your mother, I want to protect you - and for those times when I cannot be with you, my wish is that you will always be safe. Sometimes this means depending on others to keep you out of harm's way... but I know enough now from observing recent events that this is not always the best or only option.
You must learn to depend on yourself in certain situations that require strength and bravery. You must be able to break free of your soft shell and channel your inner ninja to survive in this cruel world.
Yes, I said it: Ninja.
We gave you the option of enrolling in ballet lessons or martial arts for your 4th birthday. You opted for martial arts, because you said, "I want to be a ninja!" For Christmas, the big gift that you asked for this year was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figure (Michelangelo, to be exact). You were drawn to him because he was a ninja, and not because you were all that familiar with the brand. That's ok. It's good to admire people (or in this case, creatures) that are able to kick butt, so long as it serves a noble purpose.
Another such character is Merida, from Disney's new movie BRAVE. Your grandparents bought you the Merida dress and wig, and even a bow and arrow set to practice your archery skills with. (Daddy is helping you with this task, as I am entirely unable to make the arrow fly away from the bow).
My wish for you for the new year is this:
Be brave. Be fierce. Be strong. Be the best you that you can possibly be.
I'll help you practice your taekwondo. You can hit and kick me all that you desire (so long as it is part of your routine). I won't complain about twice-weekly lessons or costly program fees. I will give you the support you need to prepare you for a safer, worry-free future.
If there ever comes a time where you need to step up to the plate and unleash your little ninja powers on a bad guy, just know that you have my support. If someone threatens you, or is threatening the lives and well-being of others around you, at least I will know that you have the ability to do all that you can to stop the situation from escalating.
I cannot help but think that if children were trained in how to deal with dangerous situations, then more children would have the chance to grow into the adults they were meant to be. As it stands, an average of 12.2 children die from violence every single week in our country, and this is so NOT okay. Where is the outrage?! Where are the parents that say enough is enough?!
Well, I am one of those parents. While I realize that nothing could really stop a lunatic from killing people with whatever device or means that he has available to him, whether it be a gun, a bomb, poisonous gas, or even a car, I do know that your self-defense lessons can come in handy in most other situations. You will be ready. You will be brave. And above all else, you will be loved. I love you, my sweet little ninja.
I periodically write letters to my daughter on this site as a means of documenting our thoughts and lives at any given moment. While I absolutely intend for my daughter to know the words and sentiments expressed in this post, I am curious: What do you think about the lack of awareness of child violence in our country? Are you appalled at the statistics, and if so - what are you going to do about it???