Our oldest child turned 21 this week. She gave me her permission to share with you the letter I wrote her in between crying all weekend. (all kinds of tears, from a little mist of happy nostalgia to the downright ugly cry.) All you parents know how I feel. I'm sure you all feel the same way about the miracles that are your own children....
To the one who started everything, on the day of your 21st birthday. Happy Birthday Beth! I am amazed that 21 years has gone so quickly and yet thinking back on you, as a little curly haired girl seems like another lifetime ago. Funny, when we found out you were coming your Dad and I were never afraid. Almost as if we somehow knew how wonderful it would be to be your parents. Not scary at all but an amazing adventure that would bring us nothing but love and happiness. (Even when you were in Middle school)
From the first moment we saw you, we knew how special you were and how much love you were going to bring into all of our lives. Our families, our friends, everyone loved you and knew you were an amazing little kid.
I hope that feeling of love you received from so many people stays in your heart all of your life. I know we can be hard on you sometimes. Its our job as your parents to prepare you as best we can for what life brings. I guess our thinking is, maybe if we are hard on her, when life gets hard she will be able to handle it. When in reality, I have every faith in you that you will handle anything and everything that life brings you beautifully, with grace and dignity. That is not to say you won’t make mistakes because we all do, but you have that determined ability in you to shake it off and keep moving forward. That is a wonderful trait to possess! That makes all the difference in the world in how you will get through difficult times.
We can’t shield you from pain and heartache that everyone has to have in life. Fortunately, your life is yours to live, not ours. But don’t ever worry, because the things that seem the scariest and the hardest are the things that don’t define us but refine us and all I can do is love you and have faith in you that you are stronger than you know and you have an inner strength in you that you haven’t even had to tap into to much yet, but know that its there for you when you need it and you created that all on your own without any help from your Dad and I.
If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together,
There is something you must always remember.
You are braver than you believe, stronger than
You seem, and smarter than you think.
But the most important thing is, even if we're apart.. I'll always be with you.”
Winnie the Pooh
Remember these words Bethy. A silly yellow chubby bear has summed up everything you need to know. It has been and will continue to be, all of my life, a privilege to be your Mom. Thank you for that. Have a great Birthday. I love you.