A Letter to My Daughter on Her 18th Birthday

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A widowed mom writes a letter to her daughter on her 18th birthday…

Dear Olivia,
This is not the letter to my daughter that I had envisioned writing to you 18 years ago. The letter I most likely would have written you would have been that of pride, love and hope for the future. Although this letter will certainly contain all of those things it will be coming from a very different perspective.

The pride I feel when I look at you is immeasurable.

Not because of your amazing academic accomplishments or the way you perform on the soccer field or the friendships you’ve made and kept over the years. The pride I feel for you is because of your strength and tenacity, ambition, perseverance, and resilience when facing life most challenging situations.
You have been faced with things that no child should endure. I watched you slowly and methodically pull yourself up from a very dark place. A place of anger and fear, anxiety and sorrow. I watched you do this in awe of you. You have chosen to do life in your own way, carving your own path not following anyone else’s lead. So yes, I am proud for sure.

The love I feel for you is so great that it is sometimes painful, for I feel your loss and I grieve your grief.

I must love you at the capacity that two parents would and not just any two parents, but I have to love you as your father would. Those are very large shoes to fill as his love for you was greater than all the grains of sand on this and all the planets. His eyes lit up when he talked about you, his heart raced as he paced the sidelines of the soccer fields with you. His smile was great, and laughter was loud while you were together.

I have tried to fill those shoes as best I can, but I know there is still an empty space in the heel, as there will always be an empty space in your heart.

As you begin to move forward and leave the nest, a place where I have wrapped you so tightly in a bubble these past 3 1⁄2 years that sometimes I know you feel ready to pop, I am hopeful for the brightest of futures.
You are optimistic and fearless like your father and a survivor like me. You know what you want in life and have never been afraid to ask for it. You see the glass as half full and for that alone your future looks wondrous.
We together as parents carried you for the first 14 years of your life and I until now. I would continue to carry you for the rest if that is what you needed. However knowing you, you will do this on your own, in your own way and on your own terms.

My wish for you is the same as all parents; good health and happiness.

I have no doubt you will achieve all that you want in this life and know always and forever that daddy and I will forever hold you in our hearts and our hands.
Happy birthday my sweet love.
Love you forever and always,

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