A Letter to My Daughter

My daughter, Olivia, struggles with addiction.  Addiction is a disease that she has and not who she is.    As Olivia continues on her journey with addiction I wanted her to know that, imperfections and all, she is exactly the child I’ve been waiting to parent my entire life.   Parenting her has been a challenge but also a joy.

As parents we all need to make sure that our children understand they are not the sum of their mistakes and that no matter what we will always be there for them.

This is a letter I wrote to my daughter to tell her what a wonderful blessing she is to me.

Dreams of fairytale weddings, dressing up like a princess and a horse-drawn carriage were never my thing.   When everyone else was playing dress-up with their Barbie dolls and dreaming of the perfect Ken my dream was to be a mom.

Joey the teddy bear was my first attempt at motherhood.  Joey taught me that if you throw your “baby” up in the air and it hits the ceiling face-first the baby’s nose will break.  Joey also taught me the importance of keeping your baby clean.  Teddy bears who go everywhere with you need baths just as much as babies need stinky diapers changed. Joey and the washing machine got into a tangle one day and the washing machine won.  Joey had to be patched up but he was never the same again. Joey helped me understand that no matter how much you love someone there are some wounds that can’t be healed.

Years went by.  Joey and I spent less time together.  In my quest to be a mom I kissed a number of frogs trying to find a prince.  As it has always been with you, you came to me in your own time and in your own way.   It was a beautiful day in July. The doctor had predicted your arrival weeks earlier, but all good things to those who wait.  Then you were here.

Every day since that I have watched you grow.  You started to walk much sooner than I was ready to chase after you.  You grew curls on your head that I never expected to see there.  You learned to swim.  You got fearlessly on the bus the first day of school and never looked back.

You are an amazing gift. One there is no occasion that could ever be special enough for me to deserve to receive.

You’re brilliant, funny, loyal, determined, strong, loving, talented, and beautiful.  There is nothing you can’t do if you set your mind to it.

These nearly 16 years have been the best of my life.  Every day with you is a gift, waiting to be unwrapped to see what surprise is inside.  Some of the surprises have been a bit more challenging than others but all of them make you the amazing person you are.

Thanks for letting me be your mom.

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JennSmith

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