We are exactly 14 days away from your 14th birthday. I have watched you learn. I have watched you try and fail. I have watched you love and grow and become the young woman that you are today. Your teenage years are going to be your favorite memories. The memories you have when you are 30 years old raising your own kids. And while you travel this road, I will be right here with you every single step of the way. Here are just a few things I want to share with you.
You are worthy of love. Real love! I will be here for you no matter you do or where your life decides to take you. That love we see from people on TV. How they do it so well, but in reality, real life people struggle with.
Don't let the broken relationship with your father mold any part of your future. There was nothing that you did to make this person who was supposed to help raise you, help guide you and teach you about life from "daddy's eyes" to leave you in the cold.
He failed. Not you.
Did you hear what I just said? HE has failed you! Not the other way around.
Don't ever doubt your self-worth and stop finding ways to blame yourself for his short comings.
It breaks my heart as I watch you struggle with his short comings, when it isn't your fault.
I will NOT sit here and put all the blame on him. At first it was partially my fault. I did keep you away from him when he decided in 2008 that he wanted legal paperwork to try and take you from me. After I sat and talked with you, we decided together that right then and there, at that specific point and time it was not the RIGHT time for you to be in your father's life, do you remember?
Things changed. Life changed on us. And that's what happens. Everything is going great and life will throw you a curve ball. And on the Eve of your 13th birthday, you wanted to be in contact with him. So I let it happen. I stood by as I watched my little girl try to mend what has been broken with her father for many years. I can't sit here and speak for him, at all. I have no idea what kind of person he is now, only who he was so many years ago when you were brought into this world. I let you make your own opinions and choices when it comes to your father, so you can see for yourself and make your own judgments on how you want your future with him to go.
For the last 2 years I have watched you struggle with your father. I have seen the heartbreak in your eyes when you have come home from visiting and he isn't the man you thought he was. I have hugged you when you have cried, I have been here for you every step of the way. And I will tell you now, just as I have from the beginning, NO MATTER WHAT you will always have me. Through the good, the bad and the ugly.
Please try not to group every man on this planet in the same category. Give guys a real chance when they earn it because they aren't all the same. Don't seek out their flaws and imperfections or wait for the moment when they are going to let you down and leave. CHERISH THEM.
Enjoy the blessings that you do have. Explore what you have learned in life and how it has shaped the person you are today.
Me? Well. I forgive to easily. You have seen how Grandpa Jack has let me down over and over again. And how I let him back into my life, and how I tried to be apart of his. And he walked out every single time. The year your baby sister was born was the last year I spoke with him. HE chose to walk out of our lives and never come back. It took me a long time to accept that fact. It took me a LONG time to accept that he never was or will be the man I thought he would be, a father. And as I sit here writing you today, I forgive him. It still makes me sad and angry on some days, but my life is not overcome by how he has failed me.
I have learned that I am a strong woman. I have been through a lot. Back surgeries and cancer and rare blood disorders. Heartache. Pain. But I have overcome it all and it has made me who I am today. Not only have I survived, but I will find a way to thrive through it all.
It's okay to be sad, angry, devastated and even lonely. However you choose to feel - it's okay! That doesn't mean you pack your bags and move there. Be sad and angry and heartbroken, play a sad song and reminisce. And then, be okay.
We don't always see eye to eye, you and me. Most of the time we are butting heads because you are so much like your father that our personalities clash. But I know, as I sit here and think about your first words, first steps, first day of school. first hair cut, first best friend and first EVERYTHING. That I am raising strong children. Strong daughters. I am raising YOU.
I make my mistakes along the way, but I have learned from them. Mommyhood didn't come with an instruction manual. Most days I am just winging it. Trying to raise you the best way that I know how. Making sure you have everything in life that you want. Making sure that you have everything that you don't even know you want yet. And I will be here for you every step of the way, no matter what. But here are the most important things you need to know
You are worth it.
You are amazing.
You are beautiful.
Find that passion inside of you and run with it and don't ever stop until your heart is so full of joy and happiness you are glowing.
Sometimes you think I am being mean to you. I am hard on you. That I expect to much from you. This is not the case at all. I am the way I am because I was raised by strong women. We are surrounded by strong women in this family. Your Grandmother, your Aunt, your great Aunt's, your great-grandmother's and your great-great grandmother. And your only Mother. We are a family of strong women, and it will continue to be that way until the end of our time.
Your high school years will NOT in fact be the best days of your life. You will have great memories from high school, of course. But College is where you will make your lifetime moments. So hold on to your knicker's, Dolly. Life is a beautiful struggle.
Just know that through all the struggles that life may (or may not) throw your way, I will always be here for you/ Until my dying breath I will always be at your side. Routing for you. At every concert and assembly, every game, your prom, your first boyfriend, every happiness and every heart ache. I will always be in your corner, always.