Madison,

Its been…a difficult year. And as hard as I try, I cant come up with the words I want for you this year. While a lot of your life has been jokes and giggles, this year we have invented new ways of butting heads. Its been difficult, because while I have tried to understand where to draw the lines, you have figured out how to erase them. Its been difficult, because while I am trying to understand when to let go, you have already cut the lines and ran. Its been difficult, because while I still see you as a little girl, you are well on your way to becoming more than that.

While you have always been you, and while I have always loved that about you, this year has been difficult watching you try to be you, when everyone else wants you to be someone else. You’ve struggled, Ive struggled, its just been one of those years. And while I often just want to take you away from all the pain and struggles you seem to have this year, you always find a way out. You always find the escape that leaves you on the other side smiling and saying “See? Told you so!” and you do. Tell me so.

More often than not it seems.

I wonder, what you would say, if you knew that I thought these things. If you really knew. I don’t think you truly know, and to be completely honest, I don’t think you need to know, just yet. Your still trying to find a way to do it on your own. Your old enough now, you no longer need someone tagging along behind you telling you how to do it. You no longer need someone ahead of you showing you the way. But it seems you no longer want anyone standing beside you helping you out. Your trying, and Im trying, even though I know Im failing at so much lately.

You really are your own person. Your own kind of girl. And I do love that about you. You show the world how to get it done. And if you don’t know how, you will make it up just to get through. I have a lot to learn from you, even though you still have a lot to learn yourself.

I really wish I could tell you not to trade it in for something else, but more than that, just this once I wish you would listen and hear me, and really take it to heart. I worry that you don’t think you are good enough. That you think you have to change to be liked. What you dont know is that you ARE good enough and people LOVE you.  Just how you are.  You just don’t see it sometimes, and I don’t have the words or the capability to tell it to you.

Many nights this year have been spent awake, on your behalf. Things I have heard, things I have seen. Tell me that were in for it, and I wish I could stop it. Before its too late.

I cant give you everything you need for this life, I cant give you all the answers, and I certainly cant lead you all the way – I don’t know where your going, or who you will become. I only know that you seem to be struggling this year, and I wish there were something I could do, to help you.

Please know kid, that I do love you and am just as proud of you now as I was last year, and the year before.  And I hope this year is a bit less difficult, for everyone involved.  Happy fifteenth Birthday, kiddo.

May all YOUR dreams come true someday,

– Your Uncle

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