Letter to My Daughter

As I write this letter, it is days before your 26th birthday and 2 weeks before the day your name will change. The day that you have fantasized of since you were small, and the day you have been creating and planning in your dreams and every waking moment this past year. The day you will make a commitment to your best friend that the lifetime ahead will be a journey created together and forever.

There will be so many things that will change, evolve, and transcend…. and much will stay the same due to the natural rhythm you have established. This past year you were faced with hurdles and heartbreak that are a common place in the landscape of life. You were also presented with countless opportunities to explore, discover and unveil sacred and precious moments living in a jungle paradise together. All of these moments are building blocks to your story and your legacy.

At this point in your life, your foundation will be your grounding center as the pieces are moved and re-centered. What I feel is true more than ever today is that your foundation is unshakeable. It has been created by pebbles of experiences where you absorbed a life lesson and made it a core value. In the wake of perfection and imperfection, there is an oasis of truth – only yours. And as you navigate these next months, I can only offer a few words that may be helpful as you travel uncharted territories… As I sit from afar, yet witness your unfolding from the front row, I wish for you this year love, wisdom, and grace….

I wish for you….

The courage to trust your instincts. If you are second-guessing your choice, it is probably a NO. Your heart will speak louder than your head.

The confidence to stand up, speak up and step up. Your voice is crucial and necessary – in relationships, in your community, and the world.

The strength to keep talking when you are tired or frustrated. Your unspoken feelings and words can become toxic if covered for too long. Keep the conversations alive.

The curiosity to nurture your relationships. Your questions will reveal the details of the past and possibilities of the future. Stay interested and engaged, it will keep you connected at a heart level.

The commitment to practice being present in every situation. There are zillions of distractions that will hijack your thoughts. Stay awake, alive, and focused on where you are in the moment.

Although your last name will change, you will always be the daughter I carried inside of me for 9 months. There is a part of my heart that only you can fill… you are a part of me and I am so proud of the woman who has emerged.

May this be the year that you see what is possible… and may you see in yourself what we all see in you…. Intellectual heft, creative depth, internal poise, external beauty, courage of warriors, and wisdom of the ages…this is you loved and undefined.

Happy Birthday, Hannah…. Happy Wedding Year… Happy Birthday almost Mrs. Welton.

I love you more than you may ever know!


Carolyn Lebanowski
Carolyn Lebanowski
She began her professional career in retail and grew to become an experienced and respected senior-level executive with particular expertise in strategic development, organizational communication, and executive coaching. After nearly three decades of career growth in corporate organizational development, Carolyn was ready for a career change—and a life change. This led to a new role and the most challenging, enriching, and rewarding work of her life, as a Strategic Business Leader for nonprofit spiritual institutions. These roles provide her the opportunity to fuse the professional and the personal, aligning her business acumen with her spiritual identity and passion for the development of human potential—in her colleagues, her community, and herself. Carolyn is a writer who seeks above all to share from the heart. Her impulse to write began 20 years ago with letters to her children and grew into journaling that was unedited and life-affirming. Today she writes with a focus on raw, authentic experience, drawn from real life, to explore, express, and make sense of the pain and joy, struggles and triumphs, of life. In all her endeavors, she champions connection, integrity, and radical positivity.

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  1. Congratulations, Carolyn, and Godspeed to your daughter and Mr. Welton.

    Your letter focused on the big Cs: Communicate. When you have the Courage to keep talking and the Curiosity to listen, you can find Compassion. And with that comes Care. And Collaboration – sometimes you help me towards my goals and sometimes I help you. Then Contentment follows from perspective and gratitude.

    The Cs to watch out for are Convenience, Cowardice, and Complacency.

    An old joke asked a Golden anniversary couple the secret of their long union. “We each made a list of 10 things that were only mildly annoying that we could live with and would forgive. And then we burned the lists. And whenever we felt mildly annoyed, we were sure it was one of those 10 things.”

    • Thank you so much Charlotte for reading, but mostly for providing your insights and humor.
      I tend to lean one way on my writing, and find the Cs to watch out for, very refreshing! Unfortunately or fortunately, I have played in that sandbox too many times…. hence, I learned.
      Mildly annoying??? I am drinking my coffee and sitting with this question with a smile on my face.

  2. Beautiful, heartfelt, an amazing and long-lasting gift to your daughter, Carolyn. Thank you for sharing wisdom which goes beyond a mother-daughter relationship–into the healthiest kind of human to human relationships. Life-giving and inspiring. Thank you for sharing this letter with all of us! What a treasure!

    • Thank you Laura for your loving reply!
      It was so important to me that she remembers how deeply she is loved…
      And, I love the parallel from Mother/Daughter to Human/Human.
      We all need words that are life giving and inspiring. I so appreciate and value your insights.

    • Vinod,
      Thank you again for reading and commenting. This is such a personal share..
      You never know how it will land on someone else’s ears. It is always encouraging to get positive feedback. #sograteful.

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