,My dear Liva,
It has now been almost six months since I last saw your gorgeous little face. It was in late August that you and your mother went back to Denmark...to Copenhagen....the city where you were born and in which you lived until you were four. When you left the US last August, you were a big girl of six.
It was your mother's decision to go away, one based on a lack of work, ensuing financial difficulties, and personal problems that we won't mention here. The bottom line, my sweet girl, is that I have been bereft of your presence for much too long, and with Christmas (or Noel Yule, as you Danes call it) only days away, my heart aches for you to the point of breaking. What can I do except tell you that I miss you? And what better present can I give you than to share with you some of the most important things I have learned since you went away? Perhaps, in doing so, my lessons will serve you in the future as well. Here goes. I only hope that you don't get bored and fall asleep.
Families are about the most important thing that a person can have. Under perfect conditions, a family is something that you are born into and the people in it remain in it, never leaving, never changing in negative ways, and are always supportive, loving, and focused on doing what's best for little kids like you. But you know by now that families, like people, aren't perfect, and that even something as wonderful as love can't always make things work the way we want them to. But one thing I can tell you is that when the members of a family love a child as much as the members of your family love you, there is nothing that is not possible. Bad times can be forgotten as good times take over, sad memories can be overcome by good ones, and all of the tears that have been shed over the course of weeks, months or years can be replaced by smiles and laughter and conversations about happy things.
But, of course, it always easy to accomplish those changes. In our family, it sometimes seems that the darkness is stronger than the light, and some of us, myself included, struggle daily with that darkness. The good news is that we haven't given up. There's an old saying, "nothing good comes without some kind of fight", and while that isn't always true, it seems to be true in this case. Families, whether they are the ones you are born into or ones made up of special people to whom you feel very close, are important enough to fight for if that's what it takes. Never give up on your family, Liva. But no matter what, I can promise you that I will never stop loving you.
This world would be a pretty bleak place if we didn't have friends. You had some good friends here in the US, and I know that you have some good friends in Copenhagen now. One thing I have learned since you left, though, is that it's important to choose your friends carefully. Since you left, some of the people I thought were my friends turned out to be not very good people at all. One of them even stole my precious kitten! That makes me very sad, still, but I am trying my best to look at that horrible incident as a lesson. It's hard to say exactly what it is that you should watch out for when you are trying to make new friends, but I think I can give you a fairly good assessment of what it means to be a real friend. The way I see it, a real friend is someone who doesn't lie to you, doesn't hurt your feelings unnecessarily, doesn't judge you, and doesn't put their own wants over yours when the going gets rough. In fact, when the going gets rough, a real friend is there without being asked, does whatever they can to help you even if it isn't convenient for them, and encourages you to do what's best for you, not what they want you to do. Most of all, Liva, a real friend is someone who is still your friend even when you can't spend much time with them or it is difficult to stay in touch. Like a diamond, a real friend is forever. I have a few real friends. I hope that you always will as well.
This is, perhaps, the most important thing that I have learned since you've been gone. Do you remember that game we used to play at bedtime...the "Would you rather?" game? You used to ask me if I would rather be a princess or date a rock star and things like that. When I asked you those same kinds of questions, you always chose the answer that included a boyfriend. You so wanted to have a boyfriend! Well, I have met someone who is very nice, but even though he's a wonderful person, I have learned that the best way to have love in your life is to make sure that you keep some for yourself. I made a mistake before. I gave all my love away, and when that person stopped loving me, I felt like nothing. That's not a good way to feel about yourself. I had to learn to love myself all over again. I am still learning to do it. That's why I hope that you will go forward in life already loving yourself and feeling good about who you are without trying to fit someone else's idea of who and how you should be. You are perfect the way you are, Liva. You are unique and special, and even if you weren't already the most beautiful little girl in the world, your smile would make people think that you were. Your smile is more beautiful than any Christmas tree lights, or even the stars, because it comes from a heart as pure and loving and kind as any heart could possibly be. Whatever course your life takes, please remember that the world is a better place because you are in it, and if you weren't, there would be one less reason for anyone who knows you to smile. You are the perfect flower that grows in the wilderness, the brilliantly colored bird that sings from the branches of an old, twisted tree. You are the loveliest chord on the piano, the most melodic note of a song, the warm ray of sunshine that kisses the winter snow and melts it so that spring can return.
You are my year round Christmas present, Liva. I love you.
And here are some of our family members who love you as well.