My oldest, Alissa, turns 16 today. A milestone birthday.
I've written her birthday letters before, but this one will be a little different. Instead of remembering her birth, which I've done on the blog already, I would like to write a bit about my hopes for her.
Every parent wants their kid to be happy and successful. They want their kids to have a better life than they did (even if their life is pretty great already). I am no different. I want Alissa to have the best of everything. I want her to know that the world's her oyster. She can literally do ANYTHING she wants. She's smart, she's outgoing, she's confident, and she's overall just a great kid.
Alissa's had it rougher than my other 2 kids. She's moved the most. She's been to 8 different schools. She's been the new kid at school, at daycare, in the neighborhood, more times than is really fair. (The other kids don't remember or haven't moved as much obviously.) She is the oldest, which means we hold her to a higher standard, whether we mean to or not. She is automatically the example for her sisters. She is automatically the one we look to first.
It's not always fair. In fact, sometimes it downright sucks, being the oldest. (Sorry, Mom. No offense meant.) Alissa handles it in stride. Sure, she has her moments when she disagrees, or talks back. Doesn't every teenager? Or every kid, for that matter?
But if that's the worst thing we've had to worry about with her thus far (and it is), I'd say we're pretty darn lucky. And grateful.
She's a great kid. I'm lucky to be her mom. When I hear her laugh, I am forced to laugh along, whether I actually think whatever she said was funny. (It usually is.) When I look at her, I can't believe how beautiful she is. How grown up. How mature and strong. She has beliefs. She has a moral code. She has a sense of right and wrong.
I am so proud of her.
I love you, Alissa. I know you're at an age where it's not always cool to say that out loud. But I want you to know I love you. I am so blessed to know you and to get to share the events of your life with you. As you turn 16 today, and prepare for all the things this year will bring - driver's license, Junior Prom, AP classes - always know that I am there for you, with you.
You are never alone. Ever.
I hope that you have 90 more birthdays after this one. But I hope this one creates a memory that you can keep forever. I hope you can remember turning 16 as a great day.
All my love to you this day - and everyday - my beautiful Alissa.