Before you were born, I fought long and hard against doctors and logic and medical science to keep you safely nestled beneath my heart. For nine long months it was you and me against the world. Your normally passive and usually agreeable mama dared to fight an uphill battle that nobody thought we’d win. But then that day came, the day they said we would never see, and you sprung headfirst into this world, all red hair blazin’ and pudgy fists balled up tight. We won, just as we knew we would.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost 18 years since they laid your ooey gooey little self into my arms. You looked at me, eyes wide and aware, as if you knew that the fight had only just begun. How can it be that we’re already preparing for your high school graduation?
I wish I could tell you that being your mama came naturally to me, but it didn’t. In fact, my body revolted and my hormones overran my common sense, and I was terrified that I would hurt you in some way. But in time, we settled into a gentle rhythm of sleeping and eating, rocking and swaying, singing and cooing, and before we knew it, our little family of 3 became a family of 4.
This news traumatized me. I felt like I was betraying you. I felt like loving any other baby in the world would be cheating on you and that you’d resent me for the rest of you life.
But you didn’t. Fortunately, you loved your baby brother (and so did I!) and it wasn’t long before we became a family of 5. Then 6. Now 7.
Somehow, over the years, despite my mistakes and flaws and many, many shortcomings, YOU became an amazing young lady that I am so, so proud of. Red hair still blazin’, hazel eyes dancing, and a bigger-than-life personality just oozing out of you. You’re my Miracle.
As we approach your high school graduation, I am torn between smiling with pride and being wrecked with inconsolable tears. Who am I kidding? It’s mostly tears. But you have to know how proud I am! You’re graduating high school with 18 hours of college credit under your belt and a 3.8 GPA.
You sing, and you play the guitar and ukulele. You’re a wonderful writer and a diligent student. But more important than all of that, you are an amazing person. You make people laugh, and you’re a friend to the friendless. You are kind. You are good. You are a mother’s dream.
Looking back, and now looking ahead, I wonder if I did a good enough job teaching you the things you need to know. Will you save money and be a good steward of what you’ve been given? Have I exemplified the kind of wife and mother that I hope someday you will be? Did I set a good example when you watched me handle hurt feelings and quarrels with friends? Have I shown you the importance of boundaries and safety nets and putting space between yourself and toxic people?
Have I proven to you that love is worth fighting for? And did I show you that your relationship with God is more important than all others? Will you turn to me when you need help and never fear my judgment? Will you trust God with your heart as you learn to trust others?
Will you always be my friend and call me every day? Will you ask my advice but still think for yourself? Will you try new things even if you fail and will you love unconditionally even if you get hurt?
When I think of all these questions, and I wonder what life will have in store for you, I thank God for the last 18 years that you’ve been in my arms and under my roof.
I’m thankful for the sleepless nights and the toddler tantrums. I’m thankful for the skinned knees and the wiggly teeth. I’m thankful for the sleepovers with friends and the dance parties in our kitchen. I’m thankful for swimsuit shopping and Starbucks dates and days at Disney and borrowing each other’s shoes. I’m thankful that my birthday coincides with your high school graduation because celebrating you means the world to me. I’m so thankful for you.
As you spread your wings and fly, I pray that you will remember that you always have a home to come back to. You will always have parents who love you and a cheering squad to always root you on. You will always have people who believe in you and people who want to see you succeed. Your high school graduation marks the end of one chapter but there is so much more to your story yet to be written.
I hope you know that wherever you go, whatever you do, however high you soar, you will always have me. And I will always love you.
With All My Love,