Love of my life, It's still early, although I have been up for hours now. I can hear you and Daddy wake up and amble up the stairs of the Pine Mountain Lake house, your Yaya and Papa's house near Yosemite. In just a few hours the place will be flooded with family and we will be swept into our yearly ritual of swimming in the lake, creating and consuming one gargantuan meal after the last and pausing for just a moment to take in the fireworks spectacular tomorrow night. But for now the house is quiet, save for the sound of your sweet voice requesting a bowl of yogurt.

Ophelia, you are beautiful. Stunningly so, I would say. From the moment you were born people could not stop marveling at your huge blue eyes. Once an older woman walked by us on the street and just looked at you and said, "Those eyyyyyyyes" shaking her head slightly in disbelief but continuing to walk on by. Your white blonde curls seems to defy gravity and although you know your mother is not one for belief in celestial beings I find it impossible to look at you and not call you "angel". Of course, you are only two-years-old and not even teeth are permanent at this point but I feel confident you will always be a a beautiful person to look at.

But here's the thing, my love: none of it matters. Nope, not really.

Before you write me off as an ogre of a mother, let me explain. In light of recent political agendas and Supreme Court rulings, I've been thinking more and more about what these decisions will mean to you, what message our government and the culture we live in are sending. And I think I've boiled it down to one phrase: You are just a body.

Even reading my own words makes me shake with anger, leaves tears clawing behind my eyes. But there is no other conclusion that can be drawn when at every turn women are denied their rights to obtain birth control, to feed their babies without criticism or debate, to access legal abortions without threat of bodily harm and all the while, the protections we are due are given to faceless corporations, as if our lack of recognized personhood needed to be even more defined. You are just a body. And more over, you have very little say in what happens to that body.

It's dark, my girl, but it's reality. So here's the thing, and I know it's asking a lot of you but I think you're the girl to handle it. You need (in whatever future decade of your life you do read this) to decide that they are all wrong and to live your life accordingly. You need to decide that you are so much more than the flesh you live in. Whoever you decide to be, whatever job you decide to work or not work, whomever you decide to love; all of that, the strengths inside you, the people whose lives you touch and the change you make in the world around you are worth a hell of a lot more than what they will try to reduce you to. You need to say to hell with the idea that anyone else has any more say in what happens to your body than you do. I know that none of this is easy. Trust me, I still fight every day to remind myself of these truths. But as a woman it will be one of the most worthwhile fights of your life.

I love you, sweetness. I love you with such a fierceness that makes me want to turn the world upside down just to give you all that you deserve. Maybe someday we'll all succeed in that. But until then I'll keep fighting the good fight for you, darling and I hope that someday I can pass the torch to you.

All my love, Mama