This day will always have a special place in my heart. Yes, I am the proud owner of a female led company. I also happen to work in a very male dominated industry. And I constantly seek ways to empower and inspire the next generation of women, especially those looking to shatter glass ceilings as executives, and thrive within the world of sports.
But two years ago I took this day to another level, and since then it’s resonated with me on a new level. I used IWD 2018 as the official way to announce the birth of my beautiful daughter, Skylar. Up until that point I hadn’t posted a single photo in regards to my pregnancy. Yes, go ahead and check all photos from July 2017 – March 2018 and all you’ll see are photos from the waist up. I was completely insecure and cared way too much about what other people thought about me. However, from the moment that Skylar came into this world it all changed. I realized that it’s so much bigger than me. That other people opinions of me is really none of my business. And that if I want to raise a confident, secure, successful young woman, that I would have to be the example. I know that not everyone goes through a life changing experience like giving birth – but one thing I can tell you, is that it’s not worth it. The time that you spend comparing and caring (about others) is a waste of time. I wish someone had told me this a long time ago. And so, I am not on a mission to share my story in an effort to spare young women the years that I lost wrapped up in the wrong things. Especially, my daughter.
Here is the original letter that I wrote to Skylar and posted on International Women’s Day 2018:
I’ve loved you since forever.
As I sit here writing this (with the waterworks about to start), it’s hard to believe life without you. You are hands down the biggest blessing in my life, and one of God’s greatest gifts. I remember the first day that I found out about you, when those two lines showed up across that test, and then I remember that exact feeling when I heard your heartbeat for the first time at just 10 weeks, and then when we saw your perfect little body on the 3D ultrasound and learned that you were a girl at 20 weeks (I am not going to lie, I really thought that you were a boy). I’ll never forget the anxiety I felt as the doctor slowly scanned over each and every part of your body, making sure that it was all accounted for. My first “proud mom” moment was when the doctor held the ultrasound camera over your brain… and then referred to it as “perfect”. That first day that I felt you kick, I knew that you would be strong. I fell so in love with you inside of me, that I couldn’t hardly imagine what it was going to be like to hold you in my arms.
Now your entrance into this world was a little long and painful (but completely worth it). so I’ll save that story for another time, but what I will say is that you certainly made a grand entrance and set the tone for the the days to come. Although you were having some trouble breathing, you came out wide eyed, ready to see the world. Within a day you were already trying to hold your head up and holding your own pacifier in your mouth – you also taught yourself how to get it back in when it falls out (yes, at only days old). You are advanced beyond your weeks little lady, and the crazy part is that this is only the beginning.
They say that you never really know what true love feels like until you have a child. And let me tell you, they’re right. It’s a kind of love that’s hard to describe. It’s one so deep that you feel it across every single part of your body. It’s a love that causes you to change your outlook on life. Nothing else matters in this world as much as you.
The standards for every single part of my life were raised the minute that you came into this world. I can no longer do things without thinking of you. I have to work 100 times harder and be 100 times more successful because I am setting the tone and the example for you. Now when people ask why or how I do it, I say it’s all because of my daughter (like last week at the NFL combine when people couldn’t believe I was there just weeks after you were born – I had to quickly remind them that I have that much more reason to continue to build and grow this company because you’re here).
As we celebrate International Women’s Day it seemed only fitting that I write this to you. Because you are destined to be one heck of a woman. I want you to know that you can be and do whatever you want in this world. You can (and will) challenge the status quo. You can have a successful career in a male dominated industry (trust me on this one). You can shatter every single glass ceiling, window, and door that may stand in your way. Forget worrying about making as much money as the male sitting next to you, you can be the one at the top writing the checks.
How do I know? Because I did this. And I did this for you. I now realize why I had to go through all of the struggles of finding my way, building a company, hitting rock bottom, and building things up again. It was all in preparation to pave the way for you. As I said, I’ve loved you since forever.
Now I know you are going to have a false sense of reality, because believe it or not, not every kid grows up surrounded by NBA and NFL players (who all love and adore you already). So I ask that you stay grounded. Be kind. Also, remember that life is not always what it seems like on social media. Consistently strive for authenticity.
I ask that you never lose sight of the fact that no one is perfect and life can get tough. Don’t ever give up. You are stronger than you believe and will be able to conquer and overcome more than you can ever imagine.
Please don’t ever forget that everyone has a story. Don’t ever judge, because every person that you see is fighting their own battle.
I want you to know that you are never alone. When life gets tough, turn into God. And lean in to those who love you, because let me tell you, that list is long.
I ask that you never settle for the status quo. Okay, let’s be honest. I will never let you settle. You are destined for greatness and I can not wait to see what that is.
Say your prayers. Tell those closest to you that you love them. And live each and every single second to the fullest. They say that the days are long, but the years are short. So make it all count.
And even though I tell you every single chance I get, I will tell you again, I love you. Happy International Women’s Day my fierce little woman.