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17th birthday

Love letter to my daughter on her 17th birthday

Gabs, 

It’s been a hell of a rough year for you. Life’s thrown you so many curveballs. Things people much older than you couldn’t navigate easily. But you never give up or quit. You fight through the uncertainty. At 17, you’ve had to navigate more than any little girl should ever have to navigate on her own. I tried to step in front of every single hardship and take the hit but that’s not how life works. Instead, I’ve had to watch from nearby, ready and willing to stable you, to pull you up and push you forward. Pushing through the noise and breaking down doors to help you get what you want and need that’s my job. You’ve faced every single trial and tribulation with grace. I wish I could have taken every struggle away.  

Maybe we’re too much alike. It’s been like this since you were a little girl. We both know this and it’s probably why we butt heads so often but I hope you know that no matter what standoff we’re having, how hard you push me away or how long you give me side eye and the silent treatment, I’m not going anywhere. I’ll always be just there; beside you, behind you, or in front of you to guide you to the place where maybe you can’t see because you’re new to it or you’re too overwhelmed by all the obligations and expectations of the world. To me, you are the world so I couldn’t care less about what the world expects of us. The thing I care most about in this world is you and your sister

Those tears that seem to fall like a waterfall, I don’t see weakness. I see strength and too much love for your little heart to hold. You are one of the strongest people I know. Never stop talking to me. There is nothing that you could ever say that would change my love for you. We are all human. We all make mistakes. Believe me, I’ve made plenty. Our humanity and humility is what makes us better humans to the world. Our mistakes are the lessons that teach us to be who we want to be and change so we don’t become who we don’t want to be. 

Always remember that you cannot make anyone love you and you can never control anyone else’s reactions to what you say and do. You can only control your own heart and mind. Keep that in mind when you move through this world. Your words and actions have consequences so consider that before you hurt others. No one owes you forgiveness and you owe no one. The people we’ve loved and lost teach us what we want and need in friends and partners, so never dwell on the loss for too long. Instead, be thankful that you learned such an invaluable life lesson.

I know that your 17-year-old heart takes things personally. I know that every blow feels like the end of the world. Everything is so big at 17. But, I promise you ( I pinky swear on my mama heart) none of this will matter in 5 years. You are growing your soul as much as you are growing your body; stretch and reach. This is the evolution of who you are meant to be. Take it all in because one day, even the hardest bits will be looked back upon with fondness. But why make life harder than we need to?

Never compare your beginning or middle to someone else’s ending. Don’t worry too much about what other people think about you. Their opinion is their’s and has absolutely nothing to do with you. Be happy. Don’t overthink. Fall in love. Dance. Play in rain puddles. You’re never too old for snuggles and hugs. And I’ll never stop listening, caring or wanting the best for you. Go for it. Flap those wings and fly as high as you want. I’ll always be here to catch you if you fall.I’ve got  you forever. You’ll never stop being my baby girl, even when you have your own baby girl. 

Next year is a big one for you. I want it to be the best. You deserve all the happiness and none of the worry and struggle that you’ve had to endure this past year. Let’s make 17 unforgettable in the best possible way. Stay your loving, sweet, funny, goofy, don’t give a shit attitude that you are now. You are smart and beautiful and more than enough. It is my greatest privilege and honor to be your mom and there will never be a day that THAT is not true. 

Love you to the moon and back, forever and ever!

xoxo ,

Mama

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