In Her Own Words…A Letter From My Daughter

 

Letter from My Daughter

 

This is a letter I received from my beautiful daughter when she was about 20 years old.  I cried and I realized what an amazing woman she has become.  I am so blessed….

It is through our trials, triumphs and tests that we learn who we are as an individual. We grow into who we hope to be, and we embrace our lives that got us to who we are.

There is not one day I wish for anything I do not already have in my life.

With that said, I still wake up everyday hoping to be more. More caring. More understanding. More generous. More relaxed. More intuitive. More influential on those around me. More of a role model. More willing to trust.

I have realized in the few months I have been gone that it is not enough to want to be more of a person. Anyone can say they hope to grow, to improve. But only a few are able to put those hopes into action and make a difference. That is what I have realized I want more than anything in life. To be able to stand up for what I want for myself and not be afraid to change. I want to see the faults in others and instead of judging, focus on changing the same faults in myself. I want to understand that every path leads to a different ending, and sometimes it may not go the way I want it to, but it is for a reason and God is guiding me every step I take. It is not enough to want. You must do.

There has been so much I have come to terms with and I have learned priceless lessons.

1. I AM GROWING UP. As much as I like to think I am going to live in my little safe pink bubble forever, I know now that is not the case. I am growing into an independent woman. Independent from my family, my friends, rules, boundaries, independent from what others want me to be. I can make my own choices, while weighing the consequences. I can walk down the street aware of myself and what I have to offer others. I don’t have to call my parents and ask them for things, I don’t have to know whether or not a choice is good before I make it. I don’t live in this world anymore where Daddy takes care of me and reality is something I will never be faced with. Just because my Mom tells me I deserve the best doesn’t mean I will always choose the best for me. Sometimes it makes me so sad to see how much of my innocence I have lost, but at the same time, I have become someone I am truly proud to say has shaped herself and made her OWN choices in life.

2. MY FAMILY IS TRULY BEAUTIFUL. I have not realized how lucky I have been to grow up in the home I have been provided. My parents are in love. They have been for so long now it’s hard to imagine them happy with anyone else. My father used to walk my mother to kindergarten. That is the kind of love I want. My parents have shown me what marriage should be, and what I should expect out of a relationship. They have given me morals and values that I will carry with me throughout my life and pass on to everyone that becomes a part of my family. They have taught me countless lessons on life, love and happiness. My parents have given me so much; I am so blessed to have the things I do. All the material things in life they have given me are only a small amount of the true gifts I have received from them. They have brought me up in a strong, Catholic home, a place I will always be able to turn to. My brother has taught me more about myself than I could have ever imagined. He is so sure of himself, so confident in who he is, never afraid to challenge those who don’t approve of him. I have never met anyone more sure of themself. He has shown me I don’t have to be who the rest of the world wants me to be, I should do things for myself and only if they better me. I have so much respect for him; he is such a genuine person and has a heart that anyone that meets him falls in love with. My sister is my little piece of heaven. She is my sweet little baby girl, the blessing God gave our family when we least expected it. She brought a light into our home, gave everyone another reason to smile everyday. Her constant laughter and child innocence is something I am amazed by every time I see her. She can turn my entire day around by simply saying, “Sissy, I miss you.”

3. HARD WORK PAYS OFF. In every way. Personally, it gives me a satisfaction I have never felt before from any compliment or handout. I have spent most of my life working to get goals accomplished, and at this point in my life, it has become clear that all of that was for a reason. I am so proud of myself and I am not ashamed to say it. I have worked for ten years on my music. Ten years of warm-up vocal exercises, classes on theory, singing at church, memorizing countless songs, learning various languages for music, playing the piano, vocal lessons that seemed to be endless, and ten years of hearing two things: You are great, or You are not. All of those things have gotten me to where I am today. I am able to perform for any size crowd. I am sought out by venue owners to sing at events. I am chosen for awards and special performances. I can audition for a group and be confident in myself. And most of all, the past years of music have taught me one of the most important lessons in life. I do not need the approval of others to appreciate the gift I have with music. I do not need someone to tell me I am good enough to sing for them. Instead, I am able to hold my head high and do what I love with no reservations or concerns of what others may think. I have worked since high school to be a leader for others. From Student Council to leadership positions in music, I have always loved organizing a way for others to grow and engage in activities. That dedication has shown me that being a LEADER in the real world is one of my best qualities. Being able to take initiative and make decisions for others has given me confidence and a certain smarts that has helped me stand out in a group of people. Spending hours volunteering for various organizations, for no reason, for no benefit, has shown me how people can be affected by my time and effort. By simply showing up to help others or provide aid in a situation that I gain nothing from, has paid off in so many ways. Not only have I become a compassionate person, but the people I have contributed to have great respect for me and are willing to help me in many ways. All that time I thought I was doing something for nothing, when in fact, I was doing something for everything. Hard work is the key to success. Bottom line.

4. I CANNOT HOLD ONTO THE PAST. I appreciate everything from my past and will always hold it in my heart, never wanting to change a thing, but I have to let it go. I cannot hold onto past hurt, past pain, past triumphs, past let downs. It will only keep me from moving on into my future and I have to realize this. I have spent much to much time dwelling on things I cannot change and things that I wish were different. Holding onto hurt caused by someone in my past will never benefit me. It will only carry on into a new relationship, and handicap myself from giving my heart to someone new. I have to let go. If something ended, it ended for a reason. It was not meant to be. It ended for something better to have a chance to happen. I cannot hold onto my past accomplishments as if they are enough of a reason to not strive for better. I need to be proud of what I have done and then take that experience with me as I embark on a new journey to find new goals to achieve. I can’t blame people in my present for the things someone in my past did. I can’t hold the people in my future responsible for something the past threw at me and I can’t change. I have had such a hard time letting go of things that break my heart. It kills me that at one point in my life, a friend or a boy can mean so much to me, and then at another time we can mean nothing to each other. It kills me, but I can’t change that. I can only open my heart and see that maybe we were a lesson for one another; maybe we were a door that opened for someone else. I can always hope to be a meaningful part of someone’s life, but if I am not, I cannot dwell on it. I have to move on and vow to be an important aspect of someone else’s day.

5. NOT EVERYONE WILL LOVE YOU. I am the poster child for wanting to be loved and liked by all. It used to affect me so much to find out that someone didn’t approve of who I was, or didn’t respect the person I came off as. I used to spend so much time trying to please everyone, I lost myself in the rush. I finally woke up and saw that pleasing everyone is an impossible and draining task. You must first start with yourself. You have to be happy and satisfied with yourself before you can be accepted by someone else. Once you value yourself, others may be able to value you as well. That said, I’ve had to come to the understanding that I will not be the person everyone wants me to be. I will always let someone down, someone will always be better than me, there will always be another way to improve myself. But I have also been able to see that as long as I do my best, give my all, and fight my hardest for what I believe in, I will never let the most important person down- myself.

6. MISTAKES ARE OK. Mistakes are simply sidetracks on your way to success. If you can’t learn from what you do wrong, you will never succeed in finding what you can do correctly.

7. LAUGHTER REALLY IS THE BEST MEDICINE. At the end of the day, when nothing seems to go right, I have realized the only thing I can do is smile. Sometimes little things go wrong but have a much greater purpose that you may not always be aware of. Sometimes it has to rain in order for a rainbow to appear. This has been a struggle for me, I have not always wanted to accept the things that go wrong in my life. I have always been stubborn and convinced I can change what I do not like, but this is not true. There is so much more to life than my small part of the world and I have to remind myself that everyday. When everything in my life seems to go wrong, it still remains that I am blessed in more ways than many people in the world. If you can’t laugh at who you are or what goes wrong, how can you appreciate it when things are going perfectly?

8. MY FRIENDS ARE MY EVERYTHING. Without my friends I would not know who I was. I have so many incredible people in my life, and those people have given me so many things I have grown and learned from. When I am convinced things will not get better and I have no way of getting off the ground, my friends are there to pick me up. They are there to show me what I have to offer the world and how I have influenced their lives. My friends have shown me what kind of friend I want to be to them. I want to show respect, I want to listen when needed and talk when requested. I want to be a person that can stand up for something that is not right for their friend. And thanks to the beautiful people in my life, I can truly say I am able to do those things. I can forgive so much quicker, love so much easier because of these people, and words cannot describe the amount of gratitude and love I have for them.

My life has taken so many twists and turns these past months. I’ve been unsure, alone, confused. But through it all I have chosen to be exactly who I want- STRONG. I want to take life and live it for all its worth. I want to believe in myself and what I know I am capable of doing. I want to fall in love. I want to look myself in the mirror and smile back at my reflection and know what I’m seeing is exactly what I am meant to be. I want to laugh. I want to play. I want to dream of the impossible and then wake up to realize there are no impossibilities. We are each given one life. ONE. And what we choose to do with our time in this world is up to us. I want to make the most of all the time I have.

My future belongs to me. I have no idea what that future is going to be, but I know I am going to find my way and be just fine.

So my friend, I ask you “what’s next on your list?”

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