An Open Letter On Parenting, Loving, and "Growing Up"

By Kylie & Marcè Ayala

Dear Elianna Daè and Dezi Roux,

To this day, we wish our lives came with a life user manual. As your father would say, like the one you would get with a new gadget. You know, one that could help us do things right from the start, know what we are doing, and get to the end goal quicker.

Truth is, there is no such thing. What we know today is a collection of knowledge instilled in us from the communities that raised us. While we couldn’t avoid the silly mistakes and awkward mishaps, we’ve picked up a few things along the way. We hope they can save you some time, and inspire you to grow into your own selves—whoever that may be.

  1. Don’t “grow up.” To be fair, it’s just a term adults came up with to justify conformism, indecisiveness, and lack of courage. But, you’ve only got one life, so make it count. Make it an adventure. Protect that weird, curiously unhinged, wild personality you two have now and keep it close to your heart forever.

  2. Whatever you’ll be, always be you. Grow into who you are, not who society wants you to be. If you want to be a DJ dressed up as a unicorn, do it. If you want to be a firefighter that saves fairies from fireflies, go for it. Listen to your heart and do what makes you happy. 

  3. Love your body. Elianna, you asked me this weekend while playing our jumping in the lake game: what part of your body do you hate the most? The question broke my heart in a split second. You’re 5, and I want you to know now, and know forever; my answer will always be: nothing. How could I ever hate something that created you and your brother? From our happy tummies to our sleepy eyes, our bodies do everything for us. Give your bodies everything you have, and they will do the same in return. They will continue to change throughout your life, give them grace as they do. We’ve been there a few decades before you and we may not have all the answers, but we have all the time for you two.

  4. Don’t follow anyone’s advice. Always listen, but make up your own mind. Nobody knows what’s best for you better than you do. This applies to all advice, including this letter. Don’t overthink but always come with an open mind.

  5. Question everything. It’s how we learn and grow. Ask questions when you're curious and ask questions when you need clarity. Know that your Dad and I are always an open door, and as he says, “..we’ll always keep it 100 with you”.

  6. Don’t be scared of the unknown. Nothing is ever known until it’s known. New situations, new people, new places—go into all of them with a clear mind and an open heart. I only knew your father for three weeks before I asked him to move across the country with me to NYC. If he didn't say yes, we wouldn't be where we are today. Your next chapter is yet to be written, you control that narrative.

  7. Love. Love is just that, love. Love whoever you want, however you want. Remain respectful, caring, and compassionate. You two are pure firecrackers that make us so proud; and we are only a few years in. We feel grateful that you have chosen us to be your parents and are excited to watch you continue to grow with passion, love and laughter.

  8. Keep good company. Pay attention to who you’re around when you feel your best. Magic and connections like that don’t come often. Listen to the unspoken, it’s often louder than what you hear.

  9. Take the stairs. Almost everyone takes the escalator, so you’ll naturally end up in an incredible place. Don’t be afraid to put in the work. This applies to everything in life. 

  10. Finally, don’t be afraid to change everything. You can change or remain the same, there are no rules in life. We hope you both grow up to live a life that makes you proud. And, in case you’re not, we hope you have the courage to start all over again; know we will be right by your side the entire time.

Enjoy your lives, kids. We are forever grateful that we can be a part of them.

Mom and Dad 

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