Alissa, Happy Birthday!
A letter to my teenage daughter on her birthday:
I thought I would take a moment to remember your special day. The day you joined my life seems like yesterday. I was so afraid! And excited! Grandma Sue drove me to the hospital at about 12:30 am on the 29th. (Daddy was away in Army school.) We were excited and nervous and I had no idea how my life was about to change.
After 15 1/2 hours, you finally arrived (while - your favorite part of the story - "Full House" was playing on TV in the background.) You were so much smaller than I expected, 6 pounds 9 ounces. But so, so incredibly beautfiul. I was blessed in that very moment. The moment we met. I had no idea how much one person could love another, until the moment our eyes met. You changed me. You gave my life a whole new purpose.
The Army let Daddy fly home to see us so he could meet you. It was a wonderful day. We were young parents and we were learning as we went along, but I think you survived most of our mistakes! :-)
You and I spent a lot of time together, just the 2 of us, for those first 3 1/2 years. Dad was gone a lot and it was you and me. You were (and are) such a great kid. Every moment was wonderful, even the not-so-easy ones.
Over the years you have grown into such a beautiful, confident, funny, charismatic, compassionate young lady. You have a heart of gold, and a laugh that drives me insane (because I can't avoid laughing along, even when I'm trying to be serious with you.) We have so many wonderful memories from the last 14 years, and I know that there are decades more to come.
I know it's hard being the oldest (been there, done that). I know we expect a lot from you, and every parenting decision we make gets tested on you first. I am sorry for that. And I know being in an Army family, your life is different than the life you may have chosen for yourself - moving all the time, starting over at every turn. But know that this life you have is meant for you. There's a wonderful plan for you and your life, and it includes all of the moments you've already been through, and all of the moments that you haven't yet experienced. When life feels difficult, keep your head up. You are so confident and you never let the bad moments bring you down for too long. (Oh, if only I'd had that mindset as a teenager!) When life is wonderful, drink in every minute and make it yours.
On this day, I wish you the happiest birthday yet! I hope for a day filled with laughter, memories, and much love. (Not to mention dinner tonight and the pretty cake you chose!)
Happy 14 birthday, Alissa. I love you more than anything in this world.
Have an untoppable day!
(Oh, and thanks for sitting on my lap like a little kid last night while we watched "Extreme Makeover Home Edition". What a nice, quiet bonding time we had, until I stupidly tickled you and we spilled soda all over the floor. Guess that will go into the story bank of funny stories we'll share later in life, right?)
Love You! Mom