Eighteen

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Dear Meagan,

In a box somewhere upstairs is a picture of me and you from 1993. Instead of sitting in class on my first day as a senior in high school, I’m wearing a yellow paper gown, sitting in a brown rocking chair, inside a NICU in Minneapolis. It’s just me and you looking out through the thick glass at whoever it was looking in at us. I feel like we’ve been in that same position for years and years. Us on the inside feeling watched by those on the outside. Those not sure how I, a young scared 17 year old kid, would be able to raise a baby. Those that were sure that I would screw you up from the word go. And those who had confidence that everything was going to be okay. You are so much more than okay. You are awesome.

The thought of you turning eighteen today brings tears to my eyes because I can’t believe we have made it to this milestone so quickly. I stood in the aisle of the store this week looking for the perfect card to express just how proud I am of you, how wonderful I think you are, and how sad I am that these years have come and gone so fast. With each card I picked up, my eyes would fill with tears, just as they are right now as I write this to you. I don’t know how I am going to make it through the entire day. I am a blubbering mess.

I’m watching you plan your final year of high school, which is actually also your second year of college. I’m watching you send off applications for college and talk about dorm assignments. While you are researching which school has the best veterinarian and zoology programs, I am looking up how far away from home these school are. I have friends that are just starting to have babies, and I can’t believe that we have already come through so much and so far to this point where my girl is in this final stretch before leaving home. It all happened so fast.

The spring before you turned 5 years old, I went to battle for you to start school just days after your 5th birthday. I took you for testing, had you meet with whoever I could get to meet you, and filled out pile after pile of paperwork trying to get a waiver for you. As you know, you were born just minutes after the clock struck midnight changing the calendar to September 2nd and therefore making you miss the September 1st kindergarten cutoff in Minnesota. You weren’t allowed to start kindergarten until your 6th birthday. No amount of testing would change that. At the time I was so angry and you were so disappointed. I knew you were smart enough, mature enough, and ready to go to school. Little did I know what a gift that would be 13 years later. That decision way back then means that I get to have you home with me one more year. Is that selfish of me? Maybe, but I’m not ready. Humor me, ok?

I am warning you now, this year will be challenging for me with the push and pull between holding on and letting go. I want so much to hold on. Hold on, because you are still my little girl, my first baby, my Maggie Moo. The one that made me “Mom”. The one that made me grow up so much faster than I was ready for. The one that was brought into the world after the longest four days of my entire life. The one that I hold up to those that made comments when they thought I couldn’t hear, those that talked when I was wasn’t around, and say to them, “See! Look at my girl! Do you SEE how awesome she is?”

I know I have to let go, you are  a young woman. You are a fantastic student, writer, worker, sister,  and daughter. You have made me so proud in your short eighteen years of life, and there are so many more triumphs to go. You are capable, and confident, and determined to have whatever it is in this world that you desire. I know that no matter what obstacles get in your way, you will always forge your own path and walk, and sometimes run, toward your destiny, whether that is five minutes or five days from home (California? Washington? Really?). I trust that you will know how to make those hard decisions as you grow older, and that you will be wise and balanced. Today, it is crystal clear just how difficult that balance is, between holding on and letting go.

Happy 18th Birthday Meagan. I hope you know how much I love you and how proud I am of you. I hope this is your happiest of happy birthdays yet.

Love, Mom

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Eunie
    Sep 02, 2011 @ 07:53:31

    Way to go, Kristin! You brought tears to MY eyes too, and I didn’t even KNOW you back when! You must be SO PROUD of Meagan, and you have a right to be! Good luck, Meagan, as you start your last year in H.S. and head to college! You’ll do well, I’m sure!

    Reply

  2. Melissa Luttrell Morrow
    Sep 03, 2011 @ 10:14:13

    So beautiful. Both the words and the girl. Happy Birthday Meagan! You are an awesome testament to your awesome Mom.

    And also, best luck with college! I need a good vet!

    Reply

  3. Kristi
    Sep 22, 2011 @ 21:11:06

    Wow, that was beautiful!!!! Makes me think how quickly Lily will be at this stage. I feel your pain. I know I won’t be ready either!!

    Reply

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