Happy 18th Birthday, Helen!

Our middle daughter is 18 today. You’d think that taking her Senior photos and preparing for college would have gotten me used to this idea by now, but no such luck. It’s managed to sneak up on me anyway. So, Helen, as your mother on your 18th birthday, and before you leave us for new experiences and adventures, I have some words of wisdom for you.

  • Don’t ever change. Well, not inherently, at least. Obviously, you will grow as you mature and learn more things, and this will shape you as a person, but inside, in your heart, always be yourself. This is where the culmination of all your years of choices, mistakes, and influences live, and that’s where you need to keep them. We love you for you, and that will always be true.
  • Be kind. This is probably the best advice I could give you for the rest of your life. Be honest and kind, and all else will fall into place. Sometimes… most times, even… other people’s feelings are more important than your own. Be an inspiration for others.
  • Have an open heart and mind. Not everything you see, hear, or even touch will be real. Don’t succumb to outside pressure, and stay true to yourself. Your heart will tell you what’s right. Listen to it.
  • Laugh. A lot. The world is full of seriousness. Remember to shake it off now and then. Taking breaks to have fun is just as important as work.
  • Learn more about cars. No, really. You’re off to a good start. I love that you know more about cars than most boys. Keep it that way.
  • Enjoy the little things. Life isn’t made up of big moments, but little ones. Don’t let them pass you by.
  • Save your money. Oh, who am I kidding? You have more money than I do. Financial security is not something I’m worried about with you!
  • Remember your family. Family is always most important. We are always here for you, and we love you. Always and forever. To the moon and back.


Happy Birthday, Helen! I love you.


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