Happy 17 to my daughter

Dear Pumpkin (gosh, it feels so ridiculous to call you that now… but that’s what I did when I started writing here and so it stuck),

Happy birthday to you, sweet girl. Today you are 17 and this morning, I was up early just as I was 17 years ago, though fortunately not because of agonizing pain or discomfort. Just awake and watching the clock and thinking how quickly the years go by and what a big year is ahead for you.

Just a couple weeks ago, you got your drivers license. Drivers training and permit hours have been a challenge amidst the current state of the world. But finally you did and and finally you have a license. It’s kind of amazing. Feels like another exciting milestone accomplished.

Yesterday, we went to get your senior photos done and it was such a fun time watching you pose and play and have a blast with the photographer. I can’t wait to see how those come out. I feel like they will showcase your love of fashion and sense of style and your free spirited personality. Another milestone.

Your junior year was a step closer to normalcy. You remained involved with theater. You were cast as Emily in Our Town. Your performance was exquisite and I cried at every performance. I am hopeful that your director will let you wrap senior year with a comedy, instead of once again casting you as a dying girl — but time will tell! In the musical, you were Cinderella’s Mom (also dead), and you had this lovely ethereal costume for this “tree mom” role. I love seeing you on the stage and making connections and friendships in your theater family.

You’re still an exceptional student who gets phenomenal grades – even in classes you hate. When you’re interested and engaged, there’s no stopping you. This coming year, you’ll be taking an independent study to spend more time being creative and exploring art. I have a hard time envisioning how it will go but I’m excited for you.

We’ve started college tours and I think you’ve got your mind set on where you’re applying. It will be interesting to see where you make your home for the four years of college. I know it feels overwhelming to try to choose a place but I think you’ve seen some great places and I hope you feel comfortable about that.

You have a tight knit group of friends. Your friend group are creative, bright, funny. I love how each of you embraces your own individuality and what makes each other unique and special. This past weekend you took part in a demonstration organized by a friend of yours and I am so proud of you for standing for what you believe and for using your voice to move toward change. Gen Z makes me feel a little hope for the future – and I am so proud to have raised daughters who will not be silenced.

It’s hard for me sometimes when I realize, “My baby is 17!” but I am so excited for this year and I’m honored to have a front-row seat for all the things you do in the year ahead and beyond.

Happy birthday. I love you so much and I’m so very lucky to be your mom.

Love you lots and lots of tater tots.



About sarah

Sarah is a book nerd, a music lover, an endorphin junkie, a coffee addict. Oh, and a goof ball. She writes, she tweets, and she sings off key.

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