A letter to my firstborn.
It’s been sixteen years.
Ups and downs. Thrills and disappointments for both of us. Moments of intense pride and utter sorrow. A roller coaster of emotions and experiences.
You were my easiest and quickest birth. You were born on your due date!
And while I wouldn’t trade in any of it for anything,
I wish I could go back and do some things differently:
I wish I had eaten better when I was pregnant with you. I survived on Carnation Instant Breakfast drinks, grilled cheese sandwiches, fish sticks, and frozen French fries.
I should have made the effort to breastfeed you longer. I had 12 weeks off from work, but I weaned you onto formula sooner than I had to, and you liked it better, so I convinced myself it was the right thing. Since it was easy.
I listened too much to all the noise. From family members, friends, co-workers, magazines, TV shows, then later, from the Internet with its articles and blogs. I wish I had just silenced it all to do what I felt in my heart was best for you, for us.
Sometimes, I’m sad that you don’t know your birth father or his family. I regret some of the choices he and I made and that you’ve suffered from those.
I was selfish when you were a toddler. I missed out on a lot of you since you attended day care all weeklong, visited your father every other weekend and every other holiday, while I was so busy pursuing a career that fizzled and relationships that were toxic.
I wish I had listened more when you were very young. So many drastic changes occurred during that pivotal time of 5-8 years old. A new stepdad, two new sisters, new home far away from family and friends, and beginning homeschooling. It was stressful and I didn’t support you enough.
I regret listening to doctors when you were 8. We tried ADHD meds and even public school for a month. Diet and lifestyle changes helped more.
I also regret the legalistic churches we attended at that time. Their teachings for parenting were wrong.
I should have focused more on relationship rather than stuff. We’re prioritizing better now.
I’m glad that:
We homeschooled you (except for preschool and that one horrendous month of third grade). We’ve had a lot of fun with some really cool experiences.
We’ve had the opportunity to live in Hawaii and Germany and travel all over Europe.
You love to read.
I’ve gotten to watch you perform – at piano, singing and dancing and acting on stage.
We have great conversations about life, education, theology, pop culture, and everything in between.
Sixteen is a fabulous age to be, but also one of the hardest.
The culmination of childhood.
Many expect you to be an adult, but society doesn’t quite accept you as an adult yet. You’re so close sometimes, yet other times so far away.
Your academic education is mostly completed, but requirements for university loom large and cause so much stress.
You’re learning to balance the expectations of society with who you really are.
Don’t ever lose yourself.
I love who you’re becoming.
Usually there is reduction in mood swings, irritability, and greater ability to manage anger. They often no longer feel as connected to their classmates, teachers, parents and feel a bit vulnerable or lonely. Often expanding out into the world but may feel a bit unsure.The Parenting Passageway
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