To My Daughter on her Eighteenth Birthday

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Dear Colby, Tonight at 12:25am, May 18th, you will have become 18 years old. In the eyes of the world this will make you legally an adult. You will have new choices to make, new paths to follow and dreams to catch in your net like butterflies passing on the wind. To the world you may be seen as an adult but to me you will always be my baby, my first love, my heart, my little girl, a beautiful young woman, a part of me that no one can ever take away. From the moment you were given life until the end of time and evermore you will be my child. When I am 100 and you are 80 and we have forgotten in our old age who is the mother and who is the daughter I will still be your mother and you will still be my baby. I was 20, not much older than you, when you entered my life physically. Before that, for nine months you had been a dream, a wish, a prayer, real yet still unreal, a whisper of the future, a physical part of my body, flesh of my flesh that can never be undone. You are the reason I decided to grow up. You are the reason a girl became a woman. Not because I gave physical birth to you. Giving birth does not make you a woman or a momma. Please always remember that. If I have taught you anything this I have and I want you to never forget it. You will not completely understand it until someday you have a child of your own. As a woman I understood the responsibility of having a child. I wanted to be the very best mother that had ever been or ever will be. I wanted to be the woman that taught you everything. I have always prayed I was an example of a woman that you could rise up and call blessed. Not for selfish reasons or pride but because I wanted to be a Godly example for you. I held you in my arms, tears streaming down my cheeks, within moments of your birth. The entire world was shown to me in your tiny face. I even said to the doctor, "I am holding the entire world in my hands at this moment." I fell in love with you then and I am still in love with you now. You were the most attentive and active baby I had ever seen, that your Granny had ever seen, that your Papa had ever seen. Within 6 months you weaned yourself and demanded a cup. At 7 months you walked, all on your own, holding onto nothing. You went from sitting up to walking in a matter of days which in many ways did not surprise me at all. The day you were born you were the topic of conversation by the nurses in the nursery. You were the newborn who could lift herself with her forearms and look from side to side. You were eager to know what the world was all about. Before that first year was over you were talking in sentences and potty trained. In this year you also suffered in a way no child ever should. You were horridly burned while being left with your father's parents for a total of two hours. I have never in my life felt so completely helpless and out of control. I stayed by your hospital bed only leaving one time in the entire two weeks to go home and pack a bag. You slept on my chest every night. I went with you daily to therapy while they scrubbed your hands that had no skin whatsoever left on them. I understood this had to be done but the entire time I wanted to kill those people who were hurting my precious baby. Colby, God answers prayers. You are a living example of answered prayers. When you are at the end of your rope and feel you have no where to turn, please remember what I have tried so hard to teach you, God is always there. You are never alone. God was with us the night they told us there nothing left to do for your hands. He listened to my prayers. There is no other way to explain the miracle of millions of skin cells forming on your hands overnight, in less than 6 hours from the time the doctors made evening rounds and returned early the next morning for your skin grafting surgery. God answered my prayer and you never needed that surgery, you needed nothing but God's power and He healed you. He always will. It is my prayer now that you will continue on the path we have traveled together. Lean on God for everything. Seek his will. He will never leave you. I know you think I have been hard on you as you have grown up. I know I have been hard on you. I never demanded more from you than you could give and you have always exceeded my greatest expectations. You have grown into a responsible, moral young woman who will someday be an awesome wife and mother. The man who wins your heart will have the greatest treasure known to mankind. I hope you choose well. We have often talked about this and I believe as I think you do, God has been preparing the perfect man for you. He has been grooming him all these years. Do not be in a hurry to get married and have children. In His perfect time the man of your dreams, the man worthy of you will come along. Please do not let him pass you by. Time passes quickly as we grow older but I remember as if it were just yesterday everything about you. Birth and crying all night.Tea parties and baby dolls. Dress-up and lipstick. School books and pony tails. Piano lessons and school bus stops. Make-up and perfume. Sunday school and summer camp. Salvation and baptism. Homeschool and baby sisters. Good times and bad. We have been through them all together. We have so much more to do together. I am so sorry for things in the past. I am sorry your father was not the Daddy you needed him to be. I believe divorcing him was the best thing I ever did. Some may think I was saving myself and in a way I was but in my mind I was saving you. Saving you from the bitterness and ugliness of a man who had lost his grip on life. Saving you from heartbreak and disappointment of watching a man who could never be what you needed him to be. Through this you and I came out together. As the years of just us passed I do know how out of control you felt when Steven came into our lives. I know how difficult it was to share me, to share us, with someone unknown. I know your expectations were high where he was concerned. I believe he has surpassed them all. He may not be your biological father but he has proven himself in this one short year to be your Dad. He always will be your Dad. In the beginning I admit to being jealous and hurt when you turned from me to him when you needed a shoulder, a friend, a Dad. I quickly learned I had lost nothing and gained everything in this man who loved my child as much as I love you. He will always be your ship in the storm of life. Please know that Steven loves you beyond anything your father ever felt for you. I know in your heart you think only of him as your Dad. I know you think he pushes too hard at times. Perhaps he does. In his heart he is doing his best to be the man you need to see as a role model. He only has the very best intentions for you in his heart. I know you know this. I also want to thank you. Thank you for being the most perfect daughter a parent could ask for. Thank you for being the example of everything a sister should be. You have raised the bar. Gracie can only grow-up to be an incredible young woman because she has you to follow. Your footsteps are her guide. During the times when we had nothing except each other thank you for helping me. Thank you for digging in, for using up and wearing out, without ever complaining. Thank you for trusting me. Thank you for being my daughter. I have often played this day out in my mind. What will I say to you that will give you the confidence you need to take the step forward, away from me and into your own world that you create. This is all I have ever been able to think of: I love you. I have always loved you. I will always love you. I love who you are. I love everything about you. As long as there is breath in me I will be here for you. Never hesitate to come to me. Nothing you can ever say will change my love for you. Perhaps we may not always agree. You have your own life to create. Regardless of your choices I will always be here, waiting, watching and loving you, just as I have every moment of your life, from your very first breath. There is a poem that I have lived as my motto. Do you remember it? Cleaning and Scrubbing Can wait till tomorrow For babies grow up We learn to our sorrow. Settle down cobwebs, Dust go to sleep I'm rocking my baby 'Cause babies don't keep. Every word is truth. You didn't keep. You grew up. What a beautiful moment I have been blessed to witness. My mother never understood how or why I could leave dishes in the sink and laundry in the basket, forgettting them so that I could play with you. She never understood how a bed could be left unmade and the carpet not vacuumed every single day. I hope when you have your own children you will remember those little words and you will forget about your chores for the moment and spend those minutes sharing, caring, loving your own children. Dishes can be washed and laundry can be folded after little ones go to sleep. When the time is gone you can never get it back. I hope you will never get so wrapped up in the details of living that you forget how to live your life for every moment. So on today, this is my wish for you: May you find the path that leads you to the life you want. May you find the courage and the strength to create the world you want to live in. May you find true love and happiness in one man who deserves you. May you have children who rise up and call you blessed. Happy Birthday, my darling girl. Love, Momma

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15 Comments

irene said:

absolutely beautiful. thank you Angie for this wonderful post.

Kristy said:

This is so beautiful. My daughter turned 11 today (May 17). I'm crying.

That letter is the best gift Colby will ever get receive.

And now I want to hug both of you.

Happy birthday, Colby! Happy birthing day, Angie!

sue said:

Gah! I'm actuallly crying- tears rolling down my face. Lovely. Happy day to you both, to you three, to you four, to you five.

Sensational, Angie. I'll bet Colby is as proud of you as you are of her.

(Now, get cracking. You only have 18 years before you write a letter like this to your new car.)

jakapk said:

Beautiful, just beautiful and happy beautiful 18th birth-day to the both of you.

Angie said:

Happy Birth Day to you and your daughter also, Kristy!

Tears - of joy, of commiseration, of praise. What a blessing to you both. Praise You mom, for holding firm and trusting Him. Praise your little one for trusting your example and growing in faith and grace. Blessings, grace and peace. From my heart to yours - I could easily have written much of this in eleven more years. What love, what an example. You have touched me deeply. God Bless you and your family today ~ always.

Dave Morris said:

Wow. Just wow.

Happy Birthday to Colby, I hope things continue getting better and better until the bad stuff is just a distant flicker in your peripheral vision.

Good job Mom.

JerriAnn2 said:

Your letter was beautiful, thank you for sharing it, and thank your daughter too. I don't know what i'll do when hannah is 18, cry i'm sure. Thank you for commenting on my page.
JerriAnn2
ladyarcherus.blogspot.com

kenju said:

I am crying tears of joy for your daughter; I hope she reads this and knows how much she is loved. You wrote this so beautifully, Angie.

Mommak said:

I am honestly overwhelmed by this heartfelt letter. (and I am currently crying my eyes out) I became pregnant with my oldest right around my 21st birthday. I understand that it is not easy raising a child when you are still growing up yourself.

There is so much you said in your post that we all wish to hear from our parents. You say it all and more- given like a gift. You are a wonderful mother, Angie, and you've inspired me to be a better one.

Happy Birthday Colby. You are a very lucky girl.

Michele said:

Aw, so beautiful!
Mine will be 18 in November, so I can really relate.

Happy birthday Colby!

Jenny said:

What a beautiful letter Angie. Happy birthday to your daughter. Loved the poem too.

Now I get to head to the busstop with puffy red eyes. :) Thanks.

G~ said:

This is absolutely precious.

Thanks for sharing with us!

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Angie published on May 18, 2005 12:25 AM.

I Was An MSN Bride - Introduction was the previous entry in this blog.

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