Dear Haley,

Happy 21st birthday, Pooh! Can you believe it? Do you remember all the conversations we would have about how you couldn’t wait to be 16, 18, and now 21?  Well here you are! You are 21 today.

It really does seem like yesterday I was in the hospital begging you to come out already! (No, seriously, I was.) I don’t regret a moment.  But I do wish I could go back in time and do a few things differently.  I would have let you play more, make more messes, encouraged you to be loud and to be a kid. I wouldn’t have tried to make you grow up so fast.  Instead, I would have held you a little longer, cuddled you more, and played. I would’ve just sat down and played silly, stupid games with you.

I didn’t know it would go so fast.

I hope along the way you have picked up some really cool things from me that will help you in this next season. Life is gonna look a lot different, once again, when you graduate college, get that first “real” job and maybe even your first place on your own. I’ve been thinking about a few things this week that I wanted to share with you. . .

Stay connected

You’ll be tempted, because of your personality, to keep to yourself. Don’t do it. Yes, we all need down days where we can recharge, and since you and I like to do that alone, do it. But don’t do it every day.  Get out.  Have fun.  Enjoy your friends, family and community. Go to a concert.  Have a coffee with someone.  You know the drill.  Life is best lived in community.  That’s the way He meant it to be all along.

Stay focused

Don’t ever lose sight of the fact that you are loved.  Focus on that.  Focus on the important things in life and let the incidentals, the small things, the mistakes just roll off your back.  Set your goals, plan your dreams and go for it.  But remember that at the end of the day, you are fully loved just because you are Haley and not for what you accomplish in this life.

Stay flexible

You’re a planner.  I get it. I am too. But you can’t plan your entire life. Not every minute of it. So be flexible. Plan the big stuff and then sometimes, even though it’s uncomfortable, just let go and fly by the seat of your pants on some decisions.  It’s okay.  It’s actually very freeing. It is perfectly okay not to know the end from the beginning.  And you will never have it fully mapped out.  He has a funny way of changing things up on you and so does life.  So be flexible.

Stay true 

One of the things that I love about my life these days is that I get to give it all away. Everything that has been poured into me, to make me a better wife, mom, friend, daughter, sibling, employee, I get to pour into someone else – first to you and Zoe – then to whomever Jesus sends my way.  You have an amazing life ahead of you.  Give it away. Stay true to Him.  Stay true to yourself.  But also stay true to your calling – pour back into others what has been poured into you.  That can be as simple as creating relationship with someone younger than you who is growing up and needs someone to talk to.  We all start somewhere.  Giving back is important – not just financially, but of yourself as well.

I love you so much.  And I’m so very proud of you.  I love your determination, dedication, loyalty and soft heart.

You made me a Mom.  Thank you for that.  Happy 21st birthday!

Your Momma

Thanks for sharing!
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