Happy 20th, Princess

Dear Princess,

Today you are 20 years old.

Twenty. 2.0.

I don’t even know how that happened.

This is the latest on your birthday I have ever written this letter, I think. It’s nearly 9 a.m. and as I type, your cake is in the oven and the pans are overflowing and soon I will smell batter burning on the floor of the oven and I’m not sure how I managed such a mess but perhaps I needed more coffee before getting things started today.

And you are at work at the place you’ve been for just over a year, a place you love with people you like. You made your own cake to take into work today because you wanted to be a little “extra” about your birthday, and I kind of love that… and not just because it’s the kind of thing I would do.

You have finished your sophomore year of college and you had another stellar year academically. I didn’t tell you this, but the other day I found my college report card in the basement, and… well, you’re doing much better than I did. I am simultaneously super proud of you, and worried sometimes about the pressure you put on yourself to succeed. You have a drive to do things well and I’ve never needed to nag, push, or tell you what to do. Blessing and a curse, and what not.

I think this year may have been a slightly better year after two years of complete Covid garbage. I still mourn for the things you missed and I know sometimes you do, too. I am hoping that some of your new adventures pave the way for leaving the past in the past and embracing what’s to come. And what’s to come is a grand adventure.

This year you applied for and were accepted to a study abroad program. This fall you will be heading to Spain for the semester. I would never have had the courage to do this and so I’m in awe of you and truly excited for what this year will bring. I don’t know how it will be, not seeing you for months (though I look forward to coming to visit!), because I’ve never gone that long without seeing you. But there’s no way I’d dare stop you from this experience – and getting to see the world.

You still love your Spanish classes (obviously), and find less joy in Stats (also, obviously). You have made some new friends, and got involved with some activities. I know it’s still kind of hard to have normal these days, but it feels like we’re on our way. Ish.

I loved my days coming to visit you at school, taking you out for cinnamon roll pancakes and then having you show me your favorite coffee shops. It makes me smile when we order coffee and you quickly get out your debit card to treat me to a cappuccino – because never in a million years when I pictured my parenting journey did I imagine the days of my children buying me coffee at places they had discovered on their own. It’s pretty great, I’ve gotta say.

The hardest thing this year was the realization that some people are just never gonna be who you want them to be, or what they need to be. I mean, “disappointed but not surprised” is not an unusual theme, but I think this year it truly hit that you could do everything right and some people still just won’t show up, won’t be there, won’t be what you want or hope or wish. And I hate that for you. And I hate it with the understanding of someone who has been there and felt that and experienced it. It’s AWFUL. But I am so proud of you for acknowledging the feelings and for working through it. Being a human is hard and it’s good to use all the tools we have to figure ourselves and our lives out.

You love Harry Styles. Tik Tok. All the caffeine with none of the dairy (oat milk lattes are a fave). White shirts are a staple in your mostly neutral wardrobe. A little bit of pink to keep things sassy. Retail therapy. Garlic aioli. Time with our doodle. All of the music. Pretty color palettes. Baking, always baking.

I am so glad that I have raised good humans. You are one of my favorite people (and yes, your sister is another – I don’t play favorites. Even on your birthday!). And I know that I am lucky to just genuinely enjoy my kids so much. Talking to you on long drives is one of my favorite things and I feel grateful for every minute and all of the years.

I don’t know how twenty years flew by like it did, but you’ve made life so special and I’m so very lucky to be your mom.


Love Mom.

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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