Another Mother’s Day is almost here, and with you, I have shared so many.
So many gifts of love carefully crafted and colored and carried home from school. So many lessons on motherhood I have learned from you- and so on this Mother’s Day, just day’s away from your high school graduation, I am writing you this letter.
I will always be your Mom, but I also know my hardest yet best work in mothering you, is coming to a close. I remember when you were comforted by carrying books with you wherever you went. One day that just stopped, as you no longer needed that sense of security.
You approach challenge head-on, not shy about accepting responsibility and jumping in. You have all the tools you need to try new things, to take risks, but most importantly to be true to yourself and your wants and needs. My heart will miss you so, as you are such a big part of my every day. I know you are ready to go and immerse yourself in college, I know you are ready to do the hard work that comes next.
You have grown so much, in the way you have recognized what real friendships looks like, in the way that you have chosen to accept more responsibility with your family and at home and in the way you motivate yourself always to perform and do your best.
I know these four years have not been easy. I have held you as you cried and hugged you when you were excited about new friendships. You have learned what your body and your mind needs to be truly healthy and happy, now and in your future.
And your maturity continues to impress me, the way you are learning to think practically, and problem-solve as a young adult should. The way you are learning to look for solutions to challenges and offer to help when your help is needed. The way you accept the imperfect, not Instagram worthy reality of every day even if sometimes it means you are disappointed, yet it doesn’t stop you from reaching for your dreams.
This is how I know you will succeed, and this is how I know you are ready to do your own work.
You will continue to learn to make wise decisions, even when others do not. To do what is right, even when no one is looking. To defend your own beliefs, and respect the ideas of others, even when it is not the popular decision. To accept who you are, what you prefer and what you need to be happy and succeed.
You will continue to learn that you should always do your best, work hard and give each challenge your every effort. And yet sometimes, it still won’t yield the outcome you desired. That is when you will need to take a deep breath and look at what you have learned, what you should do differently next time and then move forward with that knowledge.
When I say that the hardest work of mothering you is almost done, it is a reflection of how mature and ready you are for independence, for growth and your future.
Your father and I have done our best to model hard work, loyalty, love, encouragement and what family means. All that is left for us to do is watch you reach, watch you work, and even watch you stretch and struggle, and to support you through all of this.
So when my heart starts to hurt from what missing you might feel like, when I think about your room being empty or that you won’t be here at the end of every day, I will think about what comes next. I will think about all of the opportunity before you, the friends you will meet, the places you will travel to, the immersive environment of college, and I will picture you smiling.
The toddler smile I loved when you would splash in the pool. The shy smile from kindergarten when you performed in your first play. Your proud smile in grade school when you came home with an award for reading the most books, the way your laughter would bubble when you and your friends from middle school would spend summer days, shouting song lyrics from the pool as you screamed and splashed. Your confident high school smile when you made fun plans for a Friday night or aced a hard test. Your future will be filled with all of these smiles.
And although there may be tears, from fatigue or frustration or even friends that disappoint you, there will be more growth, more reward, and more satisfaction from living your own life.
And I feel so fortunate that I get to watch, that I can be present in your life to love and support you and listen to your stories. That when you come home, I hope that you will share your joy and your heartaches, your struggle and successes. Because that is what mothers do, we do our best to get you ready for this, for the time when your future is before you, and it is time for you to walk out the door.
When you leave you will take it all with you; the love, the lessons, the support and encouragement, the feel of my arms around you, my words of support from this long time mothering, all of this will fill your heart.
It is your time, and as hard as it will be not to lead and protect you, it is my time too; to watch you walk first into your future, it is my time now- to step out of your way.