As an infant, you decided to do things your way, you scooted around the house instead of crawling, because it got you to your destinations much quicker. You knew your ABC’s and could count to 10 before your 1st Birthday. You learned to ride your bike faster than your big sister. As a toddler you always finished your dinner, most times first one done. One cold winter day at around 2 years of age, you chose to climb up the shelves of the linen cabinet and open the purple liquid Tylenol. Worried that you drank too much, I rushed you to the ER, while there you gladly drank down that whole bottle of activated charcoal, when the Dr offered you a grape popsicle in return. You have always been a good patient and braved so many things at a young age.
As you grew up, elementary school proved to be just another example of your talents and ambitions. You wanted to be first to accomplish things, holding out for the A in school every semester, striving to do better and better in class, in dance and in swim you were always trying to beat your personal best. You have a witty sense of humor and a brilliant mind.
Fast forward to sweet 16, and you still light up a room with your big heart and wise mind.
Over the years, I learned some other things about you. You always demonstrated a great compassion for others, you worried about the other kids who felt left out at recess or lunch. You expressed an interest in volunteering in our community early on. You are learning that life is just not all about what we accomplish, but it is more about, how we treat others. You are kind, and a good friend to many, you “get things” that usually don’t come for many until they are much older and wiser.
You have a heart for God, and it is obvious as we can see that spirit flow out onto those you come in contact with each day.
You are strong and brave and overcame some health challenges that have made you even stronger.
As you turn 16 and grow closer to becoming an adult there are some things that I want you to know. I may have said them to you before, but as a mom, we can’t help but repeat ourselves.
I want you to know that I realize this is your journey and NOT mine.
I want you to know that right now I have to be your mother first and then your friend.
I want you to know I am learning how to be a parent at every stage you go through, just as you learned how to become a teenager and before long an adult. And through this we continue to learn and trust each other.
I want you to know the rational part of a teen’s brain isn’t fully developed and won’t be until he or she is 25 years old or so. In fact, recent research has found that adult and teen brains work differently. Adults think with the pre-frontal cortex, the brain’s rational part. Therefore it is highly likely you will make irrational choices at some point, and because this is a scientific fact, that’s when my mature brain will have to step in. You will understand one day.
I want you to know that you can come to me with anything, I will listen and we will work through it together. You will make mistakes, I will make mistakes and we will learn to forgive one another.
I want you to know that there is no such thing as perfection. We are all imperfect souls walking this great Earth. Focus your eyes on God’s perfect love and He will direct you down the right path.
I want you to know that regardless of how things work out in our country, you always have the BEST Leader to look up to, He will guide you when all else fails.
I want you to know you are enough, you do not have to prove anything to anyone. Ever. You be you.
I want you to know you are braver than you believe.
I want you to know you may fall, but you always can get back up and start over each day is a new day to do so.
I want you to know that fear and anxiety are just the opposite of love and peace. Focus on the love and the peace will soon follow.
I want you to know that there is a lot of evil that presides out in our big world. But also know that for each and every evil deed that exists, there is still the ability to see good, to see love and kindness, and if you do not see it, then you be the light, you show them the way. Where there is good, there is God. Always look for the good and you will steer away from the evil. Love always wins out.
I want you to know that it is always more important what’s on the inside of than what’s on the outside.
I want you to know that I will always be your biggest fan, I will celebrate your joys and hold you through your hurts.
I want you to know, when and if you are a mom one day, I promise you will feel the same for your child.
I want you to know there is no place like home, we are always here with open arms.
I want you to know, God loves you always and unconditionally and when I mess up as your parent, you can always rely on Him.
I want you to know you are loved, always and unconditionally.
Happy “Sweet 16” my sweet daughter.