On our refrigerator, hangs a picture of Ellie riding a hand-me down Barbie bike, trailed by a friend on a scooter and Ethan pedaling, hard, bringing up the rear. Ellie is dressed in her brother's hand-me-down Army fatigues and Keenes.
My girl is many things, and most of them she most intensely and often fiercely.
I notice the love shared between her brother and herself. She loves him fully and fiercely, even though he is messy and sometimes they fight. Still, she loves him, and misses him when he is gone. I admire that level of emotional commitment.
I notice that my girl values and cares for her friends deeply. I've seen her take the hard, and difficult road in a few of her friendships when she has gotten help for friends in dark places, even though she knew it might cost her the very friendship that she so valued as to take that risk. I am humbled and admire that level of friendship and love for another person. It is perhaps one of her most outstanding qualities.
I've noticed how she try on different ways to be, new ways to define herself, but always coming back to who she is. I admire her grounded and firm sense of self.
I notice that my girl can also be dark, serious and moody. I admire that she can experience those feelings, instead of hiding them away and pretending that everything is always perfect.
I notice that my girl can be tough, intense, fierce and competitive. I admire how she can commit her whole being to achieving a goal, sticking to the narrow path to achieve a desired goal.
I've noticed how she creates beautiful things, whether that be an event, a piece of art or something to eat and enjoy. I admire how she keeps going, working on something until it is how she wants it to be (or at least close to it), instead of giving up when it does not come out perfectly in a short amount of time.
I notice how much loves her animals. I admire that connection.
I notice how committed you are to your relationship with your boyfriend. I admire the work that you put into it.
I notice the relationship that you have with your dad. I admire the way you can be serious, silly, supportive and how you can help each other out when life gets difficult.
I notice how you love and care for your family. I admire that you've always taken the time to make those relationships firm and real.
I notice what fun we can have when we are together. I admire and appreciate that those times can be long chats on a road trip together, or being silly together, or just enjoying each other's company. I appreciate that our having fun together does not have to involve an expense day at the spa or shopping. I appreciate that it is more about the time we are spending together than what we are actually doing to matters the most.
I notice how thankful I am that you are my daughter.
I notice that you have a big, bright future ahead of you. I admire that you have already spent time beginning to figure out and know who you really are, at the very core of your being, so that you can look firmly ahead of you and explore the next step, the next big adventure of your life. I look forward to seeing where you will go next.