On her 21st…

Dearest Boo,

I just wanted to take this time to wish you a happy 21st birthday. It’s hard to believe that you are 21 years old! I would like to congratulate you for making your life so complete, and I’m proud of your accomplishments – you’ve come a long way from the quiet little girl that use to stare at the world passing by from behind my skirts. All of your life, I’ve made a conscious effort to teach you the difference between right and wrong, as that is the measure of a complete person. I’ve also tried to diligently teach you how to think on your feet, and how to think on your own terms. You’ve embraced my high standards, then decided to exceed my wildest dreams and expectations.

One of my greatest joys with you has been your affability, and genuine interest in making and keeping friends. You are one of the nicest, friendliest young women I have ever known, and have more friends than I can count. You are obviously doing something right. Still, it would serve you well in the future to only associate with people of the highest integrity. After all, the old cliche, “You are known by the friends you keep,” certainly holds true. So far, you have done a reasonably good job in making and keeping friends. However, you need to not always think that every one of your friends will do the right thing. If you choose your friends wisely, life will be so much easier. One strong characteristic that you have that causes me admiration is your loyalty. Loyalty, combined with your word being your bond will get you far in life.

In two years, or ten, depending on how long you study, someday the real world of mundane things like getting a job, paying bills, and buying a house will be a priority. Remember to always think everything through and not do things on a whim. That sharp salesman is not your friend, despite his affable nature. People will try to look for an advantage, and some might take you for being an easy mark. The easiest word to say is No.

Finally, please realize that I will always be there for you. If I’m down to my last three cents, I will gladly give you two of them. Never be afraid to ask anything of me, and never be afraid to challenge me….but do realize that you better have all your ducks in a row if you challenge me. I know it’s cliche, but a good way to look at life is to always do the right thing, even if someone isn’t looking.

I’ve never told you this before, but your greatest characteristic that I admire is your strong desire to do things on your own and not ask for assistance. Boo, as you become an adult, I just want to reiterate on just how proud of you I am. The main thing I want for you to do is be happy. Despite all my [mis]fortunes over the past years, I still have remained relatively happy. I might have my moments, but you know what I mean. Life has its ups and downs and you just have to roll with the punches, no matter what they throw at you. Our family is a resilient breed, and you, clearly are the best of breed.

I know I promised that I actually ‘write’ a 21st letter for you, but  I hope that you will forgive me for settling for an ‘electronic’ version instead 🙂

Love always,