Letter to you on your 16th birthday

Dear Miquel,

Today you turn 16! You are no longer a child, but nearly an adult. As much as I want to celebrate the amazing you, I want to wrap you up in super duper extra strength bubble wrap and keep you safe as you navigate the next few years of your life. You know what I learned in my 38 years? Life always gives you exactly what you need in order to learn the next lesson. That’s what it’s all about here –  stretching, growing, becoming who we are meant to be. Some learn quickly, others need extra teachers. Some get it the first try, but not many. We grow from most of our challenges and roadblocks. Embrace them. Lean in.

Life is not about keeping score. Keeping score is exhausting and fruitless.

Do you see that path? The one with the light and the promise and the added possibility? Take that one. Take the one in which your vision allows you to see what you do have instead of what you wished you had. Leave that other path unexplored. Don’t give it one more second of your precious time and energy. You only live once….live for YOU. Be authentic to whom you are.

Sure you’ll trip and fall occasionally. You’ll skin your knees. Perhaps your internal compass will malfunction and you will lose your way. Get back up, get on the path, dust yourself off and go. You’ve got places to be, things to do, lives to touch, miracles to make.

This is where God comes in, you see I’ve been praying to God on how to let you just be, yet find comfort in knowing whatever comes your way you’ll be safe. Especially with me miles away. So I offer this prayer for you.

May you make good decisions every time. But when you make the bad ones, because you will, may you be given a moment of Grace so that the consequences aren’t life altering, heart breaking or soul crushing. May you appreciate this moment for what it was: a gift and a chance to grow.

If you decide to be adventurous may you have every bit of luck to get you back home and the good sense to know that your Mother doesn’t need to know about that craziness until long after the fact.

May you forgive us our trespasses. These are the years where we are revealed fully to you for good or ill. May we measure up to the job we have always strived to do. If you ever suspect we are winging this parenting thing, you were only partially right. We took our job very seriously- I read nearly every parenting book, asked for guidance, fretted over every decision we made and tried my best to plan for your future. We often wonder whether all those decisions were setting you on the right path. Throw us up a flare once in a while to let us know things are going well on your end. And know fully that every mistake we made was one of the heart. You’ll see someday just how blind and crazy love can make you.

And speaking of love, take your time. True love is worth the wait. May you find someone who loves you , not like we do, but completely, honestly, and deeply. May your future partner be your your friend too who can help you on your way. There is nothing like a partner who can help you laugh through life’s hiccups, hold the bucket through life’s illnesses, and grab the tissues through life’s disappointments and heartbreaks. And as a bonus, may you find someone who happens to think I am great too. I don’t want to have to beg you to visit, so find someone who loves your family as much as you do.

Oh, and here’s prayers for a life well lived. Be all in. Explore, read, see the world, get involved, defend a cause, right a wrong, step out of your comfort zone, sing, dance, make a fool of yourself, swim, run, hike, watch sunsets, play games, and look at the stars. Remember wherever you are I’m under the same sky. My heart is forever tied to you yours. There is nothing in this lifetime that could make my love for you less….but grow with you.

Our family is blessed beyond comprehension. We know warmth in the winter and cool air in the heavy heat. Our bellies are full. We’ve had vacations and played games at the kitchen table. We have tried and true friends and family who will offer us their pillows and their hearts and their unconditional support.  And laughter. Oh, laughter. We love each other in this little circle of goodness. That doesn’t mean we always like eachother, but there is always love, always. More love than you can even begin to wrap your mind around. Life is tough. Life is unfair. Some will have what you want. Others will get what you think you deserve. Life is also beautiful and fruitful and unlimited. Look at that life, see those possibilities. Live there. Grow and flourish in that space.

Please know you are loved wholeheartedly for who you are, not who you think you ought to be. Remain true to yourself always. At 16, you begin to really start becoming independent and learning things about yourself. Your parents will slowly release the reins a bit and allow you to follow the path God put you on this earth for. Never forget my baby, I carried you then and if you ever need someone to help you through the tough times in life…I’ll carry you back to where you can stand on your own two feet again. As long as I am alive, you’ll never have to face any of this life alone.

You may go through phases of needing your Momma and other times needing space. I’ll go with your flow. Above everything, my greatest wish is to see you smile.

Happy Birthday my dear sweet child. The day you were born, my heart grew bigger than I thought possible.

With love,


3 thoughts on “Letter to you on your 16th birthday

  1. You…my dear sweet soul…are a woman after my own heart. I love you. I remember meeting you and the kids so many years ago. I am so proud of the kids you have raised and the mom you are and have been molded into by our Lord. You give me hope and inspire me to be the best mom I can be.. happy birthday Miguel! You are so lucky to have been given such an amazing mother. Don’t for one second think God didn’t know what He was doing….He picked the best one for you and your sisters and brothers.

  2. Literally crying! This was the sweetest letter. My son is only three months and I can only hope I can find the words to say to encourage him on his sixteenth birthday like you have. God bless you and your family!
    -Najah (@najahrenees on Instagram)

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