Happy 18th Birthday to you! You have grown so much. As a parent, I have watched you grow and develop into a wonderful person and I take pride in having a part in that. Nobody is perfect which is why development should be measured by matters of degree and not extremes in development. I think a good parent fulfills a child’s need for all areas of development including the physical, cognitive, and social aspects. Since your birth I have tried to accomplish my best in all these areas, which I believe make up the whole of a person and are ever changing and constantly growing throughout the life span. Life is constantly full of ups and downs, gains and losses, and successes and failures. These are all learning experiences and learning leads to growth. These changes are milestones, small stages in a process and learning experiences. Development is a never ending process, even for myself as well as you. I just hope I tipped the scales to the higher more proficient sides of these experiences of watching you turn into an adult. I am proud of my role in your life to bring you to the person you are today and the person you will still grow into in the future.
The earliest years of your life, from birth to 3 are when I got to know you on a soul level. This is when we both learn to trust and you develop hope and drive. You were gratefully entrusted with us to provide nourishment, clothing, warmth and care. Then I got to watch and encourage you to become a small self sufficient person who could walk, talk, feed and dress all by yourself! I have instilled a trust in you that you will always be nurtured by your mother and have taught you that you are capable of anything. Not only did I enjoy the physical part of mothering, I made sure we bonded socially with each other from natural birth to holding you next to my skin and I watched your cognition abilities surface when you would hear my voice or focus on something, or when you learned certain shapes at pre-school, and even your imagination at play. You know and always will know that Mom will always be here for you but will always allow you to try whatever you want, even if you don’t succeed.
Your middle years, from 4 to 11 brought new challenges of purpose, initiative, and competency. You went to school and started to learn so many new things. On a physical aspect you always loved swimming and outside activities. I remember helping with homework and realizing how smart you really are. I’ve always encouraged you to try anything of interest which you have mainly chosen music, reading, and art as your main interests. I’ve had to discipline you many times but all out of love and I hope you understand that as an adult. I’ve watched you ‘fit in’ and ‘stand out’ from your peers and again tried to be open to assist you with these phases of growth. You must have learned a lot because after many trials and errors of life you have learned your own methods of problem solving and decision making. Once again, I can’t express how proud I am.
From adolescence to adulthood, we have dealt with many things and I see more of the world’s social impacts on you. You have taken on a search for your place in this world, your role, and your identity. I want to stress again that I am very open and always accepting of your individual choices, and I will always tell you to follow your heart in every matter. I hope I have managed to instill in you enough love to attract love for yourself and love to give to others. I wish love and intimacy for you instead of isolation that turning that love to fearing could cause. I hope you get to love your work and succeed in whatever path you take. I also hope you pass everything of this love onto a family of your own or to your next generation. You should always express yourself and make a contribution. Be satisfied with your accomplishments, not stagnant with never trying. Once again I see how you have developed by social standards such as relationships, family, and peers. I love your new perceptions, your life memories, and your problem solving skills. I am impressed at the adult you have become and learned to be. I tried to be really open and more of a friend on issues like puberty and sex and in the future I hope to help you deal with the aging process also though I am confident I have set you upon the right track in handling your future.
I know this letter sounds like a lot, but a lot changes in 18 years. I am amazed to see what that once crying small baby has become. I want you to know that I’ve always tried my best and will continue to do so. I am here for you always in every way. When my day of refection comes to me upon my last breath I will be filled with satisfaction instead of despair just in knowing that I always did my best. I hope when that day comes for you that you will be able to do the same. Maybe you’ve realized by now that I am right when I say life happens in cycles and forms all kinds of circles. Many times a door closed will open a new one. Always chase your dreams my dear one and remember, there is always a doorway that will take you where you need to go. Most of the time you find this within yourself. May you have a pleasant birthday and many more to come.