To my daughter on the 8th of January:
I remember the moment well. Riding in an auto rickshaw, sweaty in my tailor-made punjabi and matching dupata, thigh to thigh with two friends watching India's colours and children whizz by us as we drove. I saw the word on a sign and decided right then. If I ever had a baby girl of my own, I'd call her Jubilee.
I knew that if I ever had a baby girl, I would name her Jubilee. I wanted your name to speak truth of what's to come in the world, truer than the way things are today. Jubilee to call into question inequality and oppression, slavery and violence. Jubilee to inspire our imagination towards wholeness, towards shalom, a peace we wage against darkness, a presence that changes things. Your name reminds me that the world is not as it's meant to be, and this is not how it will stay.
Your name reminds me of what's not yet, but you, my daughter, show me the already daily; how even in the world's dark night there is beauty, there is innocence, there is joy. It's okay to celebrate first words, to read silly stories, to dance wildly to pop music, to drink milk until you fall asleep. It's okay to sleep in-arms, the world may not slow down, but we can quiet ourselves just here.
I can't describe the joy you've brought us this year. I couldn't have fathomed my heart's response to your eyes bright and shining, how you've honestly changed everything. When we thought we were stretched full with love, we're ripped open now. Its a whole new world.
We'll do our best to grow you up in your name, raise you to be a woman who knows her value and sees God's image in everyone, a woman whose choices carve out a little more justice, a little more beauty, a little more equality. I can't wait to sleep with my nose pressed into your hair tonight.
I love you, my precious daughter. You've got nothing to prove; you're already all that we hoped for.
Happy, happy birthday.