Monday, May 13

My dearest Elizabeth,

I knew this day would come. Today you are 18 and with this birthday you are one minute closer to leaving us. You are an adult and in three short months you will be off to follow your dreams. I must have blinked hard Elizabeth because just the other day we were bringing you home from the hospital…all bundled up in pink. 
At the time, Daddy and I wanted another son, did you know that? But then you were born and we wondered how we had made it all of those years without you. I remember standing by your crib, just looking at you, watching you sleep. I was in awe that such a precious, perfect little baby girl was ours. Nighttime quickly became my favorite time of day. It was our special time alone. I read and sang to you, talked to you just like you knew exactly what I was saying and eventually had the joy of rocking you to sleep. 
As you grew, we were just plain  fascinated by you. You WERE our entertainment! What can you say about a girl that can ride a pony with one foot and comforts and reassures her bear that all will be fine in the washer and not to be afraid of the dark dryer because she would be waiting for him when he came out. I tell you Elizabeth, you are a wonder.
We watched you learn to crawl, walk, jump and run. At times we have listened to you cry, giggle, talk and sing. We have held you when you were hurt, confused and frustrated. Daddy and I watched as you discovered, learned and eventually fell in love with the new things God brought into your life. Somehow we have survived the teen years with only a few eye rolls and a minimal degree of sass. 
We learned to give you space, and you rewarded us by making good choices and becoming a young woman of grace and faith. You bear an amazing strength of conviction, honesty, and most of all, incredible self-confidence. You know who you are, what you want and more importantly, what you do not. You have a heart for Jesus, social justice, friends and family and helping others. You know no prejudice, selfishness, or greed and you have often taught me life lessons along the way. Girl of mine, you are incredible.   
Your high school years have gone far too fast… sweet silly girlfriends, Friday night football games, a driver’s license, a steady boyfriend, and college plans. I’m not sure how to slow it down, but I wish I could do so. I cherish all of those late-night talks we had about choices and consequences, feelings and decisions and well, 
I told you what you wanted to hear and sometimes what you did not. I told you what you needed to know and checked up to make sure you were listening. There were times when Daddy and I told you “yes” and “no” and “absolutely not!”  We hugged you, trusted you, believed in you, and loved you unconditionally – and always will. Your eyes see beauty and the best in others, your fingers are busy with creativity and your smile brightens the world around you. You, my dear, are magical.
I have no doubt that you are ready for this world. For you are already a smart, talented and  focused young woman with a level head and faith that will carry you through any tough roads ahead. You have always been mature beyond your years and Daddy and I have complete confidence that you will conquer this world with your grace and wit. Although I never did sell you on the virtues of a tidy room and clothes on a hanger, I feel I have been successful as your mom. I worked hard at it, but I made mistakes too. I owe any real success to God’s grace and your forgiving spirit. Being your mother is truly one of the greatest blessing of my life. If God’s love is greater than a mother's love, then I am awestruck by how immense that love must be.  For I love you more than you could ever know. Elizabeth, you are my heart.
Happy 18th Birthday Sweetie Pea. You make US proud and happy and blessed beyond measure.