My daughter is now 18… I can’t believe it. I remember when I was afraid of turning 18, and what was in store for me in the big world of ‘adults’. Cheryl, I hope you enjoy every minute of being 18. And 19, and 20. And 30, 40 and 50 too. For that matter, I hope you enjoy your whole life, not only every year but every day and every moment; I hope you enjoy every season of its wonder and all the unique joys and beauties that each age will bring. I hope you find the beauty in the laughter as well as the tears, and I know that you will find strength to match each challenge along the way. I know this because I have, somehow. As has my mother before me, and her mother before that, ad infinitum. It is simply a matter of continuing to place one foot in front of the other and stay the course. (BTW, the ‘simply’ may be somewhat other than implied.)
And I hope you dance. And not only that, but I want you to get swept away, sing with rapture, dance like a dervish. I hope you wake up every morning and say “I got everything I need right here with me. I got air in my lungs, a few blank sheets of paper. I mean, I love waking up in the morning not knowing what’s gonna wind up.” Because life is what you make it, so make it rock. And if ever there is a tomorrow when we’re not together, there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you. And if you ever need me, I’ll be there.
Happy birthday to you, my darling daughter; you are a beauty, a joy, and a gift, and I have loved getting to hold you in my hands this far. May your voyage into adulthood be everything it should be and more – all my best wishes, hopes, prayers and dreams are for you. May you be wise, and keep your girlish charms. May you be strong in trying times, and also have cause for much laughter and joy. May you find your life’s purpose, and enjoy every second of the ride. And may your ship be blessed and guided by God’s hand, and may your course follow His path.
All my love to you today and always,