I think if you had asked me what my biggest dream was when I was 6 I would have answered, "To be a princess."
I loved princesses because I loved everything pink and girly and sparkly. My mom sewed me flannel bloomers so I could continue my trend of only wearing dresses even during Minnesota's freezing winters.
When I was 12, had you asked me what my biggest dream was, I would have answered, "To be a veterinarian." I was obsessed with animals, and when I rode horses refused to use a crop because I couldn't bear the thought of hurting them. My parents had to distract me from roadkill because if I saw it I would spontaneously burst into sobs.
At 19, I have a myriad of dreams and hopes for my future, but being a veterinarian and a princess aren't included (though I still wear dresses pretty much daily and would leap onto a horse this very moment). I dream of getting to walk beside families like my own and offering encouragement. I dream of being brave and working as a missionary. I dream of speaking Spanish without a second thought. I dream of writing words that make the world stop for a moment. I dream of changing the way people view disability. I dream of walking out of an orphanage with my child. I dream of raising up little world changers and teaching them from the breakfast table like my mom taught us. I dream of so many things...
And I do not take for granted the ability to dream these fantastic, wide-open dreams. Women didn't even get the right to vote until 1920, friends. So many of the girls before me didn't get a chance to dream. So many girls in other countries don't get to dream big dreams. Let us never take for granted the ability to dream.
So here's to the women who came before us. To the women who moved across the country in a covered wagon and raised their families through the challenge. To the women who marched for our right to vote. To the women who fought for our right to work. To the women who fought for our right to stay home with our babies. To those who still fight to end the wage gap, to those who champion women's education. To the many women around the world who don't get a choice in who they marry. To our moms who taught us to be brave and to be capable, and to our future daughters who I pray we will enable. (Whoa turning this into a poem now)
Thank you for allowing me to dream with my princess dress on.
Here's to the girls. When we raise girls up, we lift society up.