My dad lost his mother, Carol, at the age of 5 – a devastating loss (later his Kindergarten teacher married his father to become the Grandmother I know and love, but that’s another story for another day). Over the years, a few precious letters have resurfaced that Carol wrote to her sister, describing her young sons with sweet humor and deep love. I have always treasured these letters, they gave me a sense of connection to a woman I never knew.
Upon discovering I was pregnant, I started a journal for both of my children – writing them a letter every year or so, inspired by Carol’s letters, I wanted to capture these moments in time. I had gotten away from the practice as they’ve grown older and life got busier. However, I have renewed it now on the occasion of my daughter’s 14th birthday.
And so, I share this letter, words of encouragement to my daughter in celebration of her 14th birthday.
My Dear Taylor,
“Have courage and be kind.” Yes, I’ve borrowed this from the most recent Cinderella movie, but that doesn’t make it any less true (and we both love all things Disney, so it’s fitting).
You have grown into a spirited, kind, strong young woman. I am so proud of you. I still remember the days your chubby little hands needed help with small tasks, like dressing your Barbie or tying your shoes, now you teach me how to use my iPhone.
But here we are – you at 14, me the mother of a 14-year-old – and we’re figuring this out together.
There are a few fundamental truths I hope you always hold close to your heart:
Be curious – for the little girl who asked, “What’s that?” a hundred times a day – keep asking questions, continue to learn, always.
Be brave – you will make mistakes – be brave enough to admit that and move forward. You will never please everyone. Be brave enough to do what’s right, even if it’s not following the crowd.
Believe in magic – we’ve always enjoyed reading together, one of my greatest parenting joys. Magic is not just in our beloved books, look for it – it is everywhere if you have eyes to see.
You are loved – you are truly loved by so many. We have been crazy about you since the moment we found out we were expecting you – our first child, grandchild, and great-grandchild. Most importantly, you are loved by God. You have a host of angels surrounding you and guiding you, I hope you know that always.
Oh, sweet girl, life will be hard and wonderful – my wish for you is that you always hold your head high. And always have courage and be kind.