Today you turn twenty-one years old.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been that long since I was standing blurry-eyed from lack of sleep looking down at this beautiful baby girl lying in a small plastic tub at Presbyterian Hospital in Albuquerque.
So much has changed in the years since you were born. I just wanted to take some time to tell you how proud you have made me and how very much I love you.
I worry sometimes that I haven’t been the greatest role model or set forth the best of examples for you to follow, but somehow, despite any failings that I may have had as a parent you became a young woman with a strong voice of her own and one that holds to a set of ideals and values that warm my heart.
I am so glad that you have found happiness in your life and I hope you continue to embrace that joy as you work towards completing college and starting a life on your own.
I’ll admit it brings more than a few tears to my eyes thinking about the day you finally pack your bags and move out on your own. I’m not sure that I am ever going to be quite ready to let you go, but I know I am going to be so excited to see the amazing things you do with your life.
I wish I had some grand piece of advice to offer you as you move past this milestone in your life. Maybe I’ll just pass along some advice that I learned over the years.
Be respectful of all human beings. Work hard and never feel any job is above or beneath you. Fight for the things you believe in. Take time to enjoy yourself, life is about the experiences we make, not the possessions we own. Never settle for less than you deserve. Never take any moments with the ones you love for granted because time is not something we are guaranteed.
As I have traversed the last almost fifty-one years of my life, I have tried to remain true to these things the best I could but I am certainly not perfect and have fallen down a few times and lost my way.
I feel like there may have been times I didn’t stick up for you enough when maybe your mother was being too hard on you. I often just take a step back and let her control many of the conversations and haven’t always spoken up loudly enough when I felt she was wrong. I feel bad for all the arguments and fights you have had to witness over the years between your mother and I — I’m sure when you were younger it was pretty scary and maybe you thought on more than one occasion that our relationship was destined for divorce.
I’ll admit it’s been challenging at times. I care for your mother, but we have very different personalities and react very differently to things and it’s caused a lot of tensions over the years. I just hope that our relationship hasn’t tainted you in any way.
My guess is maybe not because I can see just how much you care for your partner and that makes me very happy to know that you have found someone that special in your life.
Just make sure that you are always being treated respectfully and have an equal voice in any relationship you may find yourself in over the course of your life.
At twenty one years old, you are living in a world that has now experienced a scary global pandemic that has altered the very fabric of our lives. You have had to experience the destruction of our society under the current administration and it probably feels like you have less rights today than on the day you were born.
You need to stay strong during these times and continue to make your voice heard. Fight hard for what you believe in and stand up and defend those that can’t do it for themselves.
Finally. I just wanted to say thank you for the tremendous amount of joy that you have brought to my life these past twenty-one years. It has been a privilege and an honor to have you as my daughter and nothing will ever change that. You will always have a home and a warm bed to sleep in here.
I love you my dearest daughter and I always will.
Previously Published on Medium