Happy 9th Birthday Lauren!

Today is my firstborn’s birthday and of course, I am in shock at how fast the time has gone. She is growing up to be a wonderful young lady and I cherish each moment I get to spend time with her and be her mother. Birthdays of your children also push you into a state of reflection because right after you see how much time has gone by and how quickly it evaporated-you began to question the results of your parenting and evaluate how you can be better. There are some moments I am proud of and there are some wasted opportunities as well. You only get one shot at parenting and you never get a guide-book on what to do and what not to do. It is truly one of those experiences that are trial and error and you learn every child is different and that every experience is unique. I know it is not healthy to wallow in the past in a state of “If only I had, I wish I had….”. But as I look back over the 9 years, I definitely have some completed statements to those. I cannot change the past, but I can change the present and make it a better future. Today, I am extremely grateful to have her as my daughter and that she is in good health and an active 9-year old. I want her to know how much I love her and I wrote her a love letter for her 9th birthday to express how I feel. So many times as parents, we make the mistake of pushing our children into an assumed state and hope that they assume we love them because of the things we do, the things we allow, and the things we buy. Today, I did not want Lauren to assume-I want her to know just how much I love her and how much she means to me.

Here is my love letter to her:

A love letter to my Daughter on her 9th Birthday

When I was in high school, all my friends would talk about wanting to get married and have kids. I never joined in the discussion and when asked, I always said I wasn’t sure that I wanted to have kids. I never babysat or took a liking to kids. I eventually got married later on and was still tentative on having children. Then one day my feelings changed and I decided I wanted to have kids. I originally wanted a boy because I thought it would be easier. I remember crying when then told me I was going to have a girl. But I quickly became thankful that I was having a healthy baby regardless of it being a girl.

My first child Lauren Gabrielle Mason was born on Tuesday, July 8 at 7:43 am. Wow! It was a miracle and I was filled with so much joy and love that I never knew was imaginable. I had to fight Daddy just to get a chance to hold you because he was holding you and didn’t want to let you go. You were such a beautiful little girl and I was proud to be your mommy.

When we brought you home, I had no clue what to do and was terribly afraid I would mess up. I remember crying and begging Granny to stay when it was time for her to go back to work. But I survived. You and I had a schedule each day and things begin to fall in place. Each afternoon we would go outside and sit on the porch and you would enjoy that.

All of those memories are 9 years ago today and it’s hard to believe that the time has gone by so fast. I’ve watched you grow up and I’m amazed how it feels just like yesterday I was watching you in a bouncy seat or pushing you in a stroller. I have so many great memories as you have grown up.

  • Your first birthday party-you had on the cutest outfit but cried most of your party. You didn’t like the clown and all the entertainment that was there.
  • Your first steps-that was so fun to watch you start wobbling and walking.
  • The field trips we would go to at Covenant Classical and Hoover Christian.
  • Your potty training days-you learned so quickly and it was a breeze. You were fully potty trained at day and night by two years old.
  • The move to Birmingham-it allowed you to come out of your shell quite a bit even though by nature you tend to be reserved at first.
  • You starting to read at age 3 1/2- Wow I remember you with a little book in your little hands reading, “Sam ran…”
  • Your kindergarten graduation-that was a proud moment to see you in your gown and then you gave a class speech at your kindergarten graduation and everyone was amazed at how well you could read.
  • Your first piano recital-you have had several since then and it’s amazing to see how much you have grown technically and with your self-confidence.
  • Getting your first trophy in 2011 at the piano competition was a huge accomplishment.

You are an extremely smart and caring young girl. You are inquisitive beyond your years and you never settle for surface answers but always explore to go deeper in your thoughts.  You have a sweet nurturing quality inside you that likes to take care of others. You are highly affectionate and do not mind showing dad, your brother or me how much you love us.

In 9 short years, you will be 18 and finishing high school and starting a new chapter in your life. If the next 9 go as fast as the first 9 have–I’m not sure I’m ready. Not ready because I feel like I have so much more to teach you and show you that I haven’t. I want you to be prepared to live your life with a love for God and a love for yourself. I want you to know that you can do anything. I want you to carry yourself with a high degree of integrity and respect. I want you to love others and find continual ways to help others and to give unselfishly. I want you to love yourself and be comfortable with who you are-both your abilities and your shortcomings.

Above all, I want you to know how much Mommy loves you with all of my heart! I’m so grateful that God gave me such a wonderful gift and that he trusted me to raise you. I am sorry for my shortcomings and the things I have not done well as a parent. I would ask that you forgive me for any times you have felt unloved, undervalued or not appreciated. Parents make mistakes just like kids you know and I can say I’m sorry when I’ve done those things.

Mommy is so proud of you today and think the world of you. You are becoming a young lady now and I’m proud to be your mommy. I love you to the stars and wish you a happy 9th birthday sweetheart!

Love,

Mommy

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