A Tribute to My Daughter on Her Birthday

My favorite picture of you and your brothers!

Oh, my dear daughter, thirty years have passed from the day I first held you in my arms. It’s been an exhilarating journey being your mom. No, it hasn’t been all bliss and lollypops and gum drops, you and I both know this. You were not easy to raise. Me, with my I want to please the world and everyone in it persona, and you, with your I will concur the world disposition, you definitely gave me a wild-and-crazy ride.

You taught me how to be a mom.

You taught me how to love unconditionally. You taught me how to embrace life. You taught me how to have confidence.

Yes, I know, it’s a mom’s job to teach her children, but on this mother-daughter-deal I think I learned more from you.

When you were born, I was in no way ready to be the mom that I needed to be. I was still growing-up myself. You got the brunt of all my first-time mom mistakes. Like… the time I thought you were dying because your temperature reached 105 degrees, only to hear your dad say, “Did you shake the thermometer to clear it before you took her temperature?” I was on the phone with the doctor at the time and quickly said, “Oh never mind. I did it wrong.”

I did it wrong.

“I did it wrong,” that was my theme verse while raising you.

And then… there was the time I didn’t allow you to attend the Middle school Disneyland trip because I feared there wasn’t sufficient adult supervision. I watched you cry in my car, and after I finally said you could go, it was too late. I tried to make it up to you by taking you out for the day, but we both know it wasn’t good enough. I had made a decision which caused you to miss out due to my own fear. Oh, you were gracious and kind, and told me it was okay, but I knew it was tough for you.

And let’s not forget… the time you were on a date and I drove by “to check on you” and your date noticed me. Sure, you yelled at me but you also forgave me quickly, too.

I watched you grow into a capable woman of God, beautiful inside and out. Such talent and grace, with wisdom way beyond your years.

I got to watch you surrender your life to Jesus Christ. I got to watch your dad baptize you. I got to watch you walk down an isle and into the hand of a man I respect and love, knowing you would always be loved and well cared for. You chose well. I got to watch, as your child entered this world, being welcomed by a mom and a dad who will love unconditionally, guide toward grace, a child who will learn from his parents what it looks like to love God fully.

Yes, today, you are a wife and a mom. You are everything that I had wished I could be while I was raising you. Everything I was striving to be. And now, I get to watch you do Mommy-ing better than I ever did. It’s making my mistakes more bearable. All of my striving is being realized in watching you, and I am so very proud. It makes it worth all the pain and insecurity, all the sleepless nights, all the fears and blunders.

One of the greatest joys of motherhood is watching your kids do stuff (dealing with disappointment, overcoming, soaring) better than you. The joys of motherhood are realized in having a daughter such as you. Monica, happy birthday, my dear daughter, thank you for making my world brighter than I ever thought possible.

I love you now and forever… Mom

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Photo credit: Josh Telles



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