A Letter to My Daughter on Her Birthday

Rebekkah and Newborn Goat, Picacho, New Mexico  c. 2011  Photograph by ©Craig Varjabedian

Dear Rebekkah,

Today you celebrate the 17th anniversary of your arrival on this planet. I can remember as if it were yesterday taking your mom to the hospital and you, our little bundle of joy coming into the world with hardly a cry, with eyes as big as saucers and an urgent sense of “let’s get busy . . . I’ve got things to do.”

I have a vivid image in my mind of a nurse wrapping you in a blanket like a burrito, putting a cap on your head and handing you over to me while they tended to your mom. As things settled down in the delivery room we eventually went for a walk around the hospital floor looking at the lights and listening to the sounds of life. You didn’t make a sound though your eyes were wide open as you took in the world for the first time and I told you about all the great things that you and I were going to do. I was lucky to be holding in my arms someone who had been so recently with the angels.


We named you Rebekkah because of a dream I had shortly before you were born. For months we had planned on calling you Sophia, but my great-uncle Khoren appeared to me in the dream and told me, among many things, that my great-grandmothers and grandfathers did not find that name acceptable. He said that our daughter needed to have a family name and for reasons I am still unclear about, the name Rebekkah came to me just before the dream ended. In the Bible, Rebekkah was a strong, beautiful and caring woman and I am grateful to Great Uncle Khoren for telling me to name you after this strong woman. As for your middle name, Suren, as you probably know it comes from my late father, your grandpa who loved you very much and was proud that you would carry his name into the future. Suren by the way means “strong” and it seemed like a good name to empower you to go forth in the world and become the incredible person I know you will be.

Nothing compares to being a father watching your daughter grow into a wonderful and capable young woman. So on behalf of your mother Kathryn, your Tia Cindy, two rambunctious dogs named Dektol and Ektar, and the rest of your entire family, I send you birthday greetings on your very special day and fond wishes for much happiness, not only on this day but on every day yet to come.

With much love to you always,