I have been feeling ridiculously sentimental this May remembering how our first graduated from high school last year and now she's just returned home from her first year of college.
She turned 18 right before school ended and we made her a "The First 18 Years" book on shutterfly. (If you have scrapbook guilt like I do, this is a great option to make a memory book in one fail swoop...I felt much better about my lack of record keeping over the years.)
But I just realized the letters we wrote to her for that book were never saved as hard copy.
Here they are for posterity. Along with a graduation photo (I was 9 months pregnant with her little brother--she is a very good sport), and baby photos with mom and dad (rocking the early 90s headband and teal sweater...no wonder she's such a cool kid.)
Abraham Lincoln famously said, "Everything I am I owe to my mother." I would offer that everything I am I owe to my children. And it all began with you.
You, our first born, may have suffered the most from my mistakes. But you are the one who makes me look like a good mom.
Your smile, your compassion, your stubborn drive, your boundless dedication to finding your place in the world, your quiet gifts...all of these things shine to the world in ways that your humility refuses to see.
You are a gift. Though I miss your chubby cheeks and your tiny hands, I am in love with the grown up Abigail and look forward to sharing the world with you as you fly straight up into what God has intended for you to do all along.
I wish I had the words to tell you how much I love you,
You are the best birthday present I ever received. Sharing April 24th with you is one of my favorite things.
As you prepare to take your next educational step, I think it fitting that you have an interest in travel and the Middle East. I was there, in fact, when your mom learned of your impending arrival. Since then, you’ve travelled more in your 18 years than many people will in a lifetime.
You had the unusual experience and burden of sharing your childhood with the Army, attending more different schools and starting-over more than any kid should have to. You handled it all with a grace and poise that I admire.
Thanks for making me a father; you make it so very easy. Thanks for being a wonderful big sister; truly you helped raise the rest of the crew. Thanks for being a young woman of tremendous character and integrity; I am so happy to be known in some circles simply as “Abigail’s Dad.”
Oh, and thanks for becoming one of my best friends; you are a child I love and a person I admire. Great things are in store, sweetheart.
I love you, Dad.