Letter To My Daughter As Her Birthday Approaches
September 4th, 2016
I can't believe that you will be 20 years old in just one more day! So much has happened during this past year.
You started college, and finished your first full year.
You became an aunt.
You got your first job.
....to name a few.
It has been a challenging year, but you made it through.
You are becoming a strong, beautiful, intelligent young ldy, one who I am proud to call my daughter!
Your birthday approaches. You are becoming a beautiful 19 year old young lady. I just wanted to tell you some things in case I forget to tell you these things later on, when I’m tired, or too old that I can’t even remember.
Rites of Passage
Over the last few months you went through several rites of passage, including graduation from high school, and the progression into college.
When I wrote this letter to you 2 years ago, I started it this way, “Right now you’re probably in your room thinking that life is completely and totally unfair. The whole world is against you because there’s not a single person in it can understand you. Believe me, I understand you a lot more than you may think. I want to leave a few lessons for you. Think on these things as you grow older. You may think that life is not fair, but it is still good.” You may still feel so today, but as you grow older, you will see that your outlook changes.
You've grown so much!
You have grown so much since I wrote this letter to you. There were times when I approached some topics with you, you acted as if you weren’t hearing me. As time went on you realized that I’m really trying to help you and guide you and not ruin your life. This privilege does not necessarily come from biology. It comes from the fact that I have been exactly where you are and I have been navigating this life a lot longer than you. It can be tough at times, but remember that I am always here for you, no matter how old you get.
It is true that everyone has a story and every one story is unique, but loss, pain, anger, confusion and sadness are universal. These feelings don’t separate you from the world, but rather they bind you closer to it.
You're one of a kind!
There will never be and can never be another you. You are part of a magnificent community of humans. Humanity at times can be brutal and petty and downright mean spirited but that’s never an excuse for you to be that way. You are so much more and so much better than a bad day. I remember telling you that I am not your friend. However, as time has gone on, we have, we have gotten to a point when we can explore a friendship.
You're growing up and moving away!
When I ask you to do something right now I’m trying to teach you something about success. You’re right. Your room is yours, and I am less concerned with the state of it than I am of the state of your mind. After all, being in college the last few months have shown me that you can do without me…somewhat, that you are growing up and moving away.
Always do your absolute best!
I’m not interested in you getting straight A’s, although that would be great. I am interested in you doing your absolute best. Do the best you can in school and don’t worry so much about what your grades are. Believe in yourself. I believe in you, and so does everybody else in that list of those who love you. You’re going to be great at whatever you choose to do; the only thing you have to do is believe in yourself. Sometimes you do your best and you fail. And you need to learn to be OK with that too. You must learn to be good at college so it will be easier for you to be good at work, and life. Yes of course it is pandering to a system, but everyone, regardless of status has to work within the system, unless you’re becoming a hermit which, let’s face it, is never going to happen.
Strike a balance!
When you become overly concerned with pleasing your friends and making them happy it takes away from you. The balance you learn to strike right now we’ll carry you through your entire life refrain chips can be vital but, you cannot rely on a great friendship to buy you a house.
Don't be defeated by the word "NO."
Don’t be defeated by “no.” You will hear it many times before you hear “yes.”
Character remains after looks are gone!
I really don’t tell you often enough how beautiful you are. Even though you are stunning, I do this on purpose. Being beautiful should never be the most interesting thing about you. A girl who depends on her looks is setting herself up to be a woman lost at sea as she gets older. We live in a world where beauty can and will open many doors, but how you choose to open them and what you do inside becomes about character. Character, moral aptitude, empathy, grace-these are the traits that will carry on your beauty far after your looks are gone.
I love you!
You are getting closer to being able to understand this, and I am also trying to teach by example. Maybe you are understanding. When you look at me all you see is old and mom. Unbelievably though, I was young once, and not so long ago I might add, and nothing you can say will shock me. If in fact if I was to share and talk about some of the things I’ve done it is you that would be shocked. I promise you this, as long as you tell me the truth you’ll never get into trouble. Though I can’t promise I won’t be disappointed.
I'm your greatest cheerleader!
Until you have children of your own, you will not be able to realize the depth in which I love you. I would do anything for you. I am your greatest cheerleader and your biggest fan. The most important thing for you to understand is though you may be convinced otherwise whatever happens in this crazy, upside own life, you will never ever be alone. Keep this in mind.
Life is short. Enjoy it!
Life is too short not to enjoy it. Remember that your job will not take care of you when you are sick. Your family and friends will. Remember that elegance, etiquette and generally being a lady is ridiculously important. So is sticking your tongue out, hiding from jungle gyms, drinking wine and knowing how to creatively curse. The balance is key.
If someone is ever rude to you on the road or in line at the bank, first try to imagine what horrible things may have happened to that person earlier in the day. I know you will be good at this. You’re courageous and kind and know that you never berate a 60 year old man in a gas station or an 80 year old woman in a motorized cart in Walmart.
I saw your courage as you had to deal with my illness over the last few years. You witnessed my collapse and my bounce-back, and how I struggled with it on a daily basis, yet you remained strong. I am grateful and proud of you for that.
Stay true to yourself!
Some days you will have arrived at wit’s end and the amount of rudeness a stranger is exuding may exceed normal levels, and flying off the handle is completely satisfied and justified. This will happen less than we’d all like to believe once you learn how to control your emotions.
Stay true to yourself. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
Don't ever be "too busy!"
When it comes to dating no one on planet earth is ever too busy to spend time with you unless they do not care for you. This is a fact. Don’t let people use this excuse and do not use it herself if you can help it. It is not easy. If your relationship has to be a secret thing you should not be in it.
Believe in miracles! You are one!
Believe in miracles. Get outside every day. There are miracles all around you, and miracles are waiting for you everywhere. Although humanity may fail you sometimes you should still, also, have faith in humanity as hard as that can be sometimes.
Always take time to de-clutter!
Don’t buy stuff you don’t need and get rid of anything that isn’t useful. Clutter weighs you down in so many ways. Also, remember to save things that matter. Burn the candles. Use the nice sheets. Wear fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for special occasions. I learned a long time ago that every day is a special occasion. Things can change and sometimes in an instant, but frame every so called disaster with these words, “In five years, will this matter?”
You have your own style!
One of the things I love about you, Siobhan, is that you are so eccentric. You do not let anyone decide your fashion. You have your own style. Always remember this. Be yourself! What other people think of you is none of your business.
Cherish family and who you are!
You are from a long lineage of Welds. The Welds women are known to be strong, independent determined and stubborn. Do not take crap from anyone who cherishes only a fraction of who you are. Be true to yourself!
Be your brothers' biggest supporter!
Don’t just be nice to your brother. Be his best friend, his biggest supporter and his most constructive critic. Be the same to yourself. You will be grateful for your brothers in time and you will need each other one day. Incidentally, you need each other now, too!
Believe in love!
I want you to believe in love. I cannot guarantee that the world will show you love in its most obvious form, but in every moment you will find it if you look hard enough. It might be in the kiss after the goodbye. It might be in the friends who you find solace in after the break up. And it might be the stranger who smiles at you in a gift shop. Do not be afraid to love. It is scary. It makes you vulnerable, but it is undeniably, unequivocally and absolutely worth it. Every relationship, whether that person is with you for a few seconds, a season or lifetime is sent to teach you something. It is never something to look back on with regret.
Remember your values!
You were sent into every moment of your life by a greater life force called God. The lesson you were meant to be taught was given. Find the goodness in those moments, minutes, months and memories.
Remember your values. They are your guide. If something is not sitting well in the very pit of your stomach, it is not for you. Trust that voice. It will not lead you astray.
Emotions come for a reason!
Emotions come for a reason. If you feel sad, cry. If you feel joy, then laugh and smile. If you hold them in and push them down your authenticity is compromised and they get stronger and more intense. You can be a woman who has to be strong and hold it all together, but the truth is it’s not easy to live that way for long. The truth within us is better released. It makes you stronger still to express yourself.
Take everyone's advice critically!
Take everyone’s advice critically. My mistakes will not be your mistakes. You may have better ideas, better ways of making it through the day. Keep the good, discard the bad and be careful with what you tell others. Care for yourself. Care for others. Never pretend to understand the mystery we call life because no one knows all the answers and I don’t believe you really want all the answers.
I have raised you to believe in God. God does exist. Carry that faith with you throughout your entire life. God has seen me through a lot and continues to this day to get me through my best and my worst days. Remember, also, that it’s OK to get angry with God. Trust me. He can handle it. God loves you because of who He is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do. I have relished in witnessing your development!
…and finally, Siobhan, always remember that I love you, and am always here for you.
Have a great birthday!
Go back and read all of this again, because it's true!
Don’t believe the negative thoughts and stories that sometimes pop into your head – they aren’t true. Go back and read all of this again- this is the truth!
© 2015 Gina Welds Hulse