My Dearest Kaitlyn,
Today, you turn 18 years old. I must have blinked. Just the other day I was bringing you home from the hospital…all bundled up in blankets to keep you warm. I remember standing for hours by your side, just looking at you. I was in awe that such a precious, perfect little baby was mine. I was so in love that I would just cry sometimes as I held you. Some nights I would take you out of your bassinet just to hold you while you slept. Maybe that's why you slept in our bed as long as you did. Kaitlyn, you are my first miracle.
Now, you have reached a major pinnacle in your life, but it has only just begun. I eagerly wait with anticipation to see what your life has in store for you. Of all the presents I am capable of giving you today, I feel my words are the most valuable.
These are exciting times for you: finishing high school, going to college, moving out on your own, starting a career, paying your own way, dating, marriage, having kids (wait a minute, no kids until Kade is in college). The possibilities are endless. But, I’m not going to lie. At times, life is going to get rough. It’s going to knock you on your ass and you’ll be down there scratching your head and asking yourself what the hell just happened. It’s inevitable; however, it’s all in how you handle the stress of life that determines whether or not you will succeed. It’s all about finding the strength to stand up and wave your middle finger to your problems and say – never again.
Never forget my ‘attitude’ preaching, because having a negative attitude toward the stress and being pessimistic will NOT, I promise you, resolve anything. Taking deep breaths, keeping a positive optimistic attitude and developing a character that doesn’t quit will take you much further in life than you will allow me to tell you right now.
I remember back 18 years ago to the day you were born and smile as I recall your dad’s first words upon your arrival. “She has red hair!” (I guess that was his sign that you were made from his DNA...but don’t tell him...you aren’t. Just kidding George!) From that moment on, my life revolved around you. There was nothing I wouldn’t do to keep you safe. The moment of your birth was the day I realized I wasn’t alone in the Universe and I would never be again. I had you. I’ve been able to experience this world anew through your eyes and for that I thank you.
When I look at you, I see my own eyes looking back at me. They are thoughtful, ambitious, determined, spontaneous and quick to find the good in others. I can only hope you learn to find the good in yourself. People will disappoint you. It’s in their nature, so make people prove their worthiness to be trusted as anyone of sound mind will ask the same of you. Be someone people can rely on, but don’t allow yourself to be taken advantage of either.
Stand up for yourself and for those who cannot stand up for themselves.
Love yourself and don’t allow anyone to make you feel less of a person through their words or actions. You and you alone, are in control of your emotions and well-being. By allowing someone else to taint your self-worth, you give them power over you. Choose your battles. Life is too short to be arguing with someone all the time about everything. This goes for friends and family as well as any future romantic relationships. Be empathetic and put yourself in the other person’s shoes and try to see things from their perspective. You will be rewarded in ways that you have yet to understand.
Don’t be a bystander…ever. Get involved. Take charge of your life – or I will! (Just like you once accused!) ;-)
A smile at the right time will always go a long way and never stop practicing random acts of kindness.
I challenge you that when the day comes, marry your best friend. Don’t settle. He should make you laugh. Whatever you do, don’t allow him to place you on a pedestal to be worshipped, because when valuables fall, they break. Make sure he sees you as an equal and is willing to walk beside you and not force you to the rear. Make your marriage first and your children second. By doing so, your children will see what a real, loving marriage is and will be all the better for it – I hope that your dad and I have proved this to you already.
If it feels wrong, don’t do it. If you know it’s wrong, don’t go along with it. Your dad and I have taught you better!
Be a leader, not a follower. Whatever career path you choose, be a strong woman that knows her worth in the business world.
And read the next paragraph very slowly. Hell, read it many times until comprehension sets in.
Don’t be in such a hurry to grow up. Yes, you’re now officially an adult, but that definition goes far beyond just being a number. Being an adult means being responsible with all aspects of your life. There is plenty of time to move out and live on your own. Other than your current job after school, your only other job for the next few years should be discovering who you are as a person, going to school, and learning from the mistakes of the adults around you. There are many of us who came before you that have made plenty of mistakes, me included. Don’t make the same ones just because you want to be treated as an adult.
Think long-term and not short-term. The mistakes you make now can haunt you forever. You don’t want to live with that kind of guilt. So, don’t ruin your credit rating by buying things you can’t afford.
Ask for advice. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Asking for help is NOT a sign of weakness; instead, it is a sign of maturity that shows you know the depth of your limitations.
If someone gives you constructive criticism, don’t assume they’re being critical. Take it for what it is and smile. It may be the best advice you ever receive.
Above all else, remember what I have taught you about the Law of Attraction and let that be the first analysis you use when you are struggling.
You are loved more than you will ever comprehend. You are surrounded by people who would each give their own lives to protect you and keep you safe. You are in a position to take on the world and make all your dreams come true. Never turn down the opportunities afforded to you because of fear.
For the world’s sake, FOLLOW your dreams. Never give up on something you desperately want. Ever. The world needs people that aren’t afraid to dance to the beat of their own music and create change.
Never, ever, ever forget to express your gratitude for all that you have. The right perspective will take you farther than you can ever imagine!
You are my first-born. Each new experience you have and will forever have, I will also get to have too. You are the love, light and all things good in my heart. You are my life.
Your dad and I love you sooooooooooo much and we are so proud of you.
Happy birthday Kat...and remember I love you the most. ;-)