A Soft Place To Fall

26 May

I can’t believe you are graduating Saturday. Where did those 18 beautiful years escape to? It’s unbelievable to me sometimes that your are 18 and an independent young woman now. You are a beautiful and mystical creature to me: graceful, super model hair, sparkly bright blue eyes that always have a mischievous glint, curvy figure, abundantly long lashes, satiny smooth skin, sometimes soft and loving and other times fierce and protective – there is no one else quite like you. The obstacles you have overcome are huge- to say the least- but you owned  them and smashed them to bits. Each time crossing over the heap of pointy splinters to reveal a stronger, smarter more fierce you. To say I am proud of you is an epic understatement. I want to say a few things to you and leave a little advice in your tool box for life:
My vision for you is for you to continue to love yourself, take pleasure in small things, lose yourself in a great book, share a delicious meal with friends and continue to show compassion and love for everyone- including those that have hurt you the most. Have no regrets, follow your guts and take no prisoners.

I remember being your age and thinking there wasn’t much in the world for me and feeling like I had to make things happen all of the time. What I regret most is not living in the moment, feeling panicked and not exploring the world. I was so concerned with the future and my place in it that I forgot to luxuriate in being young. Dream big and live your life with no regrets. Your soul will thank you when you are 40 and you look back  and feel comfort in the memories wrapped around you.

Be good to yourself. I never want you to deprive yourself of a meal or commit yourself to a crazy diet fad, don’t waste a minute criticizing who you see in the mirror, give yourself the luxury of good health and education. Eat well. Sleep well. Continue to grow.

Take risks in love and life. Seize opportunities, face everything courageously, follow your dreams and don’t be afraid to change course if you want to. Nothing is set in stone so feel free to chart a new course, live for your pleasure and don’t fear change.

Travel, uproot and try on a new city. The world is too glorious to stay stagnant in one place for too long. I often think about the dangers waiting for you in the world, the experiments with drugs and drink and men. When I take stock of your peers, some have discovered just how easy it is to get pregnant, others failed to say no to a group of popular kids and paid the ultimate price, and some breaking your heart because they did not have the back bone to face their own demons. I feel secure in knowing that you are wise beyond your age and have spent your life making good decisions, walking your own path and following your own moral compass. Stay true to who you are. You are beyond magnificent.

Whatever I want for you, I know you’ll go your own way- and I hope you do. While most daughters fight with their Moms just for the sake of disagreement- I have the luxury of enjoying a very close and special relationship with you. I love that you will still sit in my lap and tell me about your day, that you text me to chat about the latest gossip and ask about my day. That you tell me your secrets and trust that I will always keep them safe. No matter what and no matter where we are in life- I always want to hear about your day. Always.

I am always on your side. There is no problem or mistake too great that will ever sway my love and support for you. I will always be that Mom who will have no problem protecting you and going to battle for you- even when you are 50. I will never hurt you, say unkind words to you or abandon you. Even if you are making a choice I may not like- my love for you is much too strong to allow me to be on anyones side but yours. However independent you become, I am always here for you – whether it’s a broken heart, worry consumes you, your job is making you crazy, or you just need a coffee and an ear- I will be there. Your calls, your texts,  your requests and needs will never go unanswered by me. Never. You always have a place to come home to. You always have me to come home to. I will always be your soft place to fall. Always.

I am awed by your compassion for others. I have seen you have more compassion for people than I ever could- especially when they have hurt you deeply. Watching you last week at your FFA banquet really broke my heart. As you stood next to best friends that broke you this year- heartlessly left you with no explanation and engaged in classic mean girl behavior- you held your head high and continued to be the FFA Officer you promised to be. As you handed your post to the incoming Officers and began to cry- those girls offered you no shoulder and no support. Neither did their parents who have known you since elementary school. How they can look themselves in the mirror is beyond me- I sincerely wanted to dress them down and protect you. But did not- because you  are better than that. You are better than me. You continued to behave with dignity and honor. I could not have been as strong as you were that night. I could not. Please always remember to show that same compassion to yourself.

Please share your burdens with me- I will hold you and listen- then remind you of middle school when you beat Dyslexia and said, “I would rather fail an AP class than get an A in a regular class”. I will remind you of all of the animals you saved and healed. I will remind you of the people who broke your heart yet you continued on and refused to hurt them back. I will remind you of how in gymnastics you attacked the uneven bars as I watched and hoped you would land unbroken. I will remind you of how lost friends have come back to you and thanked you for treating them well even when they did not give you the same consideration. I will remind you of how strong you were when you took me to the ER and stayed strong while thinking I was not ever coming home. I will hug you and remind you that you have always been fearless and courageous and that you always will be. This world is yours for the taking and I know you will continue to make it a better place to be.

I imagine you over the next 10 years immersing yourself in animal science, surrounded by adoring friends and boyfriends- perhaps finding the love of your life, negotiating your way through life to get what you want and to be who you want to be. It’s funny the amount of times I have said silent “I’m sorries” to your future admirers as I have watched you swish through the house, honing your flirting skills and sharpening your tongue, mastering high heels and the art of makeup and hair. You are pretty magnificent and I see a trail of broken hearts in your wake of those daring to hurt, cheat or hold you back. When your heart is broken, give it time to heal and then be open to new love. I really believe that things happen for a reason and when something falls away it is because something better is waiting to take its place.
Embrace being in love and all of the wonderful things that come with it- but do not marry or have children until you have your feet planted solidly inside living your dreams. Find yourself before giving yourself to anyone. Live for you first and then you can live for your children.

There are no words to express how proud I am of you. None. You have been worth every sacrifice, every tear and every celebration. Because of you- I am a better person. Because I have you- all of my hurts and disappointments have been healed by your hugs, laughter and shiny bright light that shines from within you. I grew up with you and you graciously shared your milestones with me and let me come along for many adventures. I am grateful that somehow the universe dropped you into my arms and gave me the great honor of being Mother to you. I never forget how lucky I am that you are mine and I say thank you to the world everyday.

Finally- once you asked me when you would be a woman. You have been one for a while , my sweet. Your uncompromised integrity, compassion and fierce constitution has earned you a place at the Epic Woman’s Table. It’s up to you to train up and love up the next generation.

Please always love yourself as I love you,

Mommy

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3 Responses to “A Soft Place To Fall”

  1. Heather Reese May 26, 2011 at 4:37 PM #

    Beautiful!

  2. Amanda Absolutely May 26, 2011 at 4:25 PM #

    Beautiful and evocative. Brought tears to my eyes.

  3. Michelle L May 26, 2011 at 3:42 PM #

    That is so beautiful. You obviously are a great mom, with a great daughter. I hope that you are proud of BOTH of you.

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