As wonderful as sleepy, soft, cuddly newborns are and as hysterical and challenging as the toddler experience was, my favorite moments have come farther along on this parenting road. Today, my oldest turns 17. There are 3 more behind her that are 15, 12 and 10 so I have a distance still to travel on this journey, (that really never ends) but it still seems impossible to me that I have a child this age. I don’t feel old enough, I look at her and remember so clearly being 17 that it brings tears to my eyes. When she describes her experiences to me, a friend letting her down, a first date, I can feel them because they still feel so fresh in my own mind and heart. I’m grateful that I have such a good memory. I am mindful that we have a mother daughter relationship, she isn’t my friend yet…one day I am confident she will be. And although she teaches me things everyday, today I collected the 17 thoughts that I hope she will take with her on her journey.
- know that you have been unconditionally loved from the day you were born, through our faith and from my heart. Nothing you can do will change that.
- know that you are unique, there is no reason to conform to anything that doesn’t feel true to who you are.
- never forget what you learn through life experiences, but always forgive. it’s the only way to live freely.
- your road to success isn’t measured in medals, scholarships or report cards but in the process you engage to make each day a little better for yourself and those whose paths you cross. (You are winning on this one for sure already.)
- there are few problems that can’t be fixed by a long solo drive, windows down with the right music playing really loud.
- let the lyrics of Zac Brown’s Remedy and Roots and Tim McGraw’s Humble and Kind take hold in your heart and even through the twists and turns, things will turn out alright.
- listen to your voice first, it is strong, wise and trained in the right ways. Consult only a trusted few in times of trouble so that your voice is not drown out by others opinions.
- to whom much is given much is expected. never stop counting your blessings and being grateful for the many gifts God has given you in this life.
- always, always, always look for the silver lining. it’s there, some times not as shimmery as others, but no matter what can make you smile through the tears.
- love the little things and seek them out, they make up the biggest parts of your day. a sunrise, a bike ride, a swim, none of these cost a dime and bring so much joy.
- your heart and mind are trainable. train them to love, seek optimism and altruism.
- let your motivation be intrinsic, not extrinsic. there is no limit to what you can manifest from inside your heart and there will always be a time when the outside encouragement cannot be heard even when you are on the right path.
- pay attention to what you attract, it can help reveal your purpose in life and guide you on your journey.
- sometimes all you need is a new day.
- nothing will work unless you do.
- in seeking advice or good role models, look for people who rise to the pinnacle of their craft and pay attention to their process. How we do the small things is how we do the big things.
- slow down and make decisions with intention. it limits anxiety, regret and always shows you the choice that is true to your heart.
Happy 17th Birthday Lauren! You are amazing and so loved.