A Letter to my Daughters on my 40th Birthday
Dear daughters of mine,
I turned 40 today - and I have so much to share with you. Today, I am at my happiest self, I hope you feel that in my hugs and see it in my passion.
Growing up I always felt this massive potential, had this massive drive, and that didn’t stop when you were born. I chose to follow this drive to show you what’s possible for your life, too.
Even when life is wonderful, I still want more.
I believe this drive came from my Mom’s side, your Grandma. Perhaps because growing up I watched her work full time while always pursuing more education. She got her Masters and worked, all while deeply caring for everyone around her - the family’s Nurse, the perpetual host, and working mother. My grandmother Doris, worked full time as the Post Master in our local Post Office while raising 5 children. Every single woman on my moms side has worked while raising children.
In turn, I was a constant overachiever and excelled at it. From high school to Penn State, to corporate America, knocking on my boss’s door each year asking for the next promotion.
Our Italian side, my Dad your Grandpa, taught us street smarts, hard work but also FUN. Your Italian Great Grandma Martha showed us the true joy of gathering great people together - you couldn’t help but feel happy around her.
The lesson here? Make room for both in your life.
Work hard, but also be soft and present and enjoy the people around you...
Grandma Martha took being a homemaker with such joy and life...98 years of life. And I’m sorry you never got to meet her - but know that I strive to carry on her joy and I want you to, too.
For a long time I looked at my yearning for more as a weakness,
perhaps I was never satisfied.
It wasn’t until I was 39 that I realized this is my unique strength and gave myself permission to go all in toward these BIG goals. I am so enjoying working toward these dreams - it’s fun, lights me up, and will have a massive positive impact on so many families just like ours. I can see it all so clearly, like a message sent right to me. Learning to listen to this calling is probably the biggest lesson I can teach you - you have all the answers inside of your beautiful heart. I hope you realize this before you’re 39.
When you see me working, it’s not that I don’t want to spend time with you - it’s that I’m building something for you, for us and for so many just like us. You see - us parents need time to tap into our joy - and parenting itself is a full time job, especially today. What I’m building will help parents get the space to find more joy - and simultaneously teach you to be independent and find some for yourself.
Life has so much to offer, and if you too want more I want you to hop, skip, dance and run toward it - joyfully.
Know that people will come in and out of your life with lessons to teach. Realize that all of life is a lesson and you will be so far ahead. When things are hard, ask yourself, what can I learn from this experience? But also let yourself cry, give yourself grace, then stand up tall and move on. I am so proud of you both, you make my heart sing every single day. You’re the reason I am who I am and your potential is limitless.
I hope to be here in this life to witness all of your joys and hardships. Know that I believe in you, I believe you can do big things and that the world needs you to shine in your own unique way. Do the things that set your soul on fire - shine your light so bright that it inspires others to do the same.
Life will be very full, do it anyway. People will tell you not to, do it anyway. Mistakes will happen - keep going. Trust yourself, go find your joy and then spread that happiness around like wildflowers.
Always your biggest cheerleader.
Karen Cook is a mom of two young girls living with her husband and family in LA. Founder and Chief Experience Officer of The Wyldflower Collective - a parent focused community providing joy-filled events and retreats with on-site supervised kids club - so we can catch a breath. Follow her story on Instagram at www.instagram.com/thewyldflowerco