My darling girl,
I cannot believe that we have arrived at the eve of your high school graduation. When you were born, I remember thinking that 18 years was a long time. Now that we’re here, I see that 18 years is just a blink once you become a mother. I thought I would bestow many gifts on you as you grew, and maybe I have. But I see now, my angel, that it’s really been you who brought me the gifts.
You brought me patience. As an infant, you wouldn’t nap on your own. I was so tired. I just wanted to sleep. You had other plans. The only way I could get you to rest during the day was to hold you in the rocking chair for an hour after nursing you for 30 minutes. Your squirmy, resistant little body would finally settle down, and your quiet baby breathing would eventually lull me to sleep as well. Those afternoons, holding you in my arms, taught me to slow down and savor the still moments when they came.
You brought me deep joy. Watching you grow over the years, I’ve felt my heart about burst on so many occasions – when you played Mary in your preschool Christmas play, when you were voted Peacebuilder of the Year by your elementary school classmates, when you put on a brave face for your first weeklong middle school camp. In the little things, too, I felt the joy only you could bring – sweet handmade cards and gifts, hugs out of nowhere, hearing your laughter. All of these things have made my life sweeter.
You brought me companionship. As you’ve grown and our family has weathered difficult storms, you’ve showed incredible maturity and compassion. In my darkest times, you and your brother served as a constant reminder that life was worth living and that the future was bright despite the darkness we faced in the moment. You talked with me, you laughed with me, you kept me company when I didn’t want to be anywhere but home. You offered hugs and your hand and most of all, your love, which I desperately needed at the time. You could have been a wild, crazy, and disrespectful teen, but you chose the exact opposite path from that, and for that, I will be forever grateful.
You brought me pride. I see how you treat others. I see how you are careful with their hearts. I see your strong sense of right and wrong and how you honor it. I see you work through hurts and challenges with strength and fortitude. As your grades reflect your excellent mind, your relationships reflect your shining heart. You have endured heartbreak and come out the other side stronger, smarter, and more compassionate than I ever could have hoped.
You brought me love. You, my child, have taught me love in the truest sense of the word. Until you came along, I thought mostly of myself and what I wanted in this life. Being your mother awakened an unselfishness in me that will never go back to sleep. The love I have in my heart for you multiplies with each passing year as you grow and become.
You will continue through your lifetime to grow and become. Your gifts will be sprinkled among all those fortunate to know you. You are a bright light in this world, and I know that light will only grow brighter with time. I am blessed to know you, my daughter, and so very proud to be your mom.
Congratulations on your graduation.