My Dearest Erin,
Today, you graduated with high honors from middle school. My heart was aflutter with emotion as I watched you and your friends share in this momentous millisecond in time, rich with the joys of your successes and the excitement for the new paths you will take. Your father and I and your grandparents and extended family are beyond proud, both of your accomplishments, but, most importantly, of the beautiful young woman you have become. Your kindness, generosity, spirit, and humor make you a sheer delight to know. Clearly I am not alone in my belief, as your circle of affection, wide for as many years as I can remember, continues to grow and broaden each year as new people come to know and love you and share their lives and hearts with you as well.
Throughout your entire life, you have never known a challenge to be too great, nor have you ever walked away when the road ahead was uncertain or unstable. With each new experience, I have marveled at your ability to see the opportunity in adversity and your willingness to take the first steps forward even when the path before you was long or rocky. I’m so clearly remember a night many years ago when you, determined and focused, tried and tried and tried to get up and down the one big carpeted step leading in to your grandparents’ living room. Each fall made you only more determined to succeed. This same determination, courage, and strength typify your life, and it has been such a source of joy for your family to watch as you tackle, seemingly unafraid, every challenge you encounter. Your road has not always been easy, and this past year presented particular challenges, both to you and to our family. Yet, you never wavered when the winds grew strong. You kept working, kept loving. Your commitment to your studies continued unblemished and, yet again, you finished the academic year with honors bestowed. Your dedication to performance art and love for the stage shone brightly, with three brilliant performances in three separate plays and numerous musical concerts and a beautiful solo in the school talent show. You kept your eyes future-focused, your heart open, and your spirit illuminated. You made new friends, deepened old friendships, stood up for what you believed in, defended those who needed a friend, and illuminated the paths of everyone whose lives you touched.
It doesn’t seem so long ago that you, a fifth grade girl, was starting middle school and leaving behind the familiar and comfortable walls and voices of the only school you had ever known. And just like that, four years passed by in a heartbeat. Just like that, my baby isn’t a baby anymore. She’s a beautiful, courageous, strong, exceptionally kind, talented, beautiful person who has just begun to make her mark on the world. I am so thrilled for you as you take these next steps in to your future, and can only imagine the joys and successes that await you in the years to come.
I am so honored and proud to be your mother, and sharing in the journey of your life has been the greatest honor and joy of my life. This afternoon, I heard an old song, “I Could Not Ask For More,” the refrain of which simply and beautifully illustrated everything that I was feeling in my heart:
“And these are the moments,
I thank God that I’m alive.
And these are the moments,
I’ll remember all my life.
I’ve found all I’ve waited for…
…and I could not ask for more.”
My beautiful Erin, thank you so much for the gift of you. You are the love of my life and I am so, so grateful for you. God bless you each and every day of your life.
I love you,