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First, I’m sorry.

I’m sorry for all the tears.

I didn’t know how soon they’d start but they’ve already begun rolling down my face.

The tears choose when to come (not me), and I can hardly hold them back when they do.

I’m sorry for the hard times.

To say the last 17 years have been a roller coaster is an understatement.

I’m sorry for all the parenting fails.

After all, we were both learning everything for the first time.

We both grew up together, in a way.

Your first steps.
Your first words.
Your first tantrum.
Your first day of school.
Your first boyfriend.
Your first driving lesson.
Your first day of your last year of school.

They were all my firsts, too.

I’m sorry for holding on a little too tight at times.

I know I have to let you go.

To face this world on your own . . . 

It’s scary to think of letting a piece of my heart walk outside my chest into a world that can oftentimes seem so brutal and cold.

But I know you won’t be alone.

Through all our firsts together, our Heavenly Father was there also.

Even before we believed He was.

And He’ll be out there with you, too.

I’m sorry for cracking jokes about turning your room into a writing room, a crafting room, a room to wallow in when I miss you.

There will always be room for you at home.

It will always be a safe place to fall when everything feels like it’s falling apart.

While I sit here, holding back the tears once more . . . 

Wondering how many times in a day someone can ugly cry, I know God’s going to fill in the gaps.

Because I can think of eleventy billion things I haven’t taught you yet.

I just need a little more time—265 days just isn’t enough.

But I know with our mighty God beside you, there’s nothing impossible for you.

As you go through this year, wondering what on earth to do next (because I know senioritis will kick in soon) . . . 

I pray you have courage to follow His calling, whatever it is.
I pray you remember you don’t have to have it all figured out at 17. (I’m still not sure some days.)
I pray you know the love of your Heavenly Father.
I pray you never forget where your value comes from.

One more thing . . . 

I want to thank you for giving me so much grace.

You’ve accepted every apology and forgiven every mistake.

Like the times I listened to the wrong parenting advice.

Or the new recipes I tried from Pinterest that could’ve landed on “Nailed It”.
Or the awful jokes (that I know you really thought were funny).
Or the times I broke out my best dance moves in public.

It’s not easy being the guinea pig kid, but you’ve handled it like a champ.

And I couldn’t imagine God giving me any other kid to give me my favorite name . . . 

Mom.

This post originally appeared on the author’s Facebook page

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Ana Bright

Ana Bright is a cheerleader for moms. She empowers mamas who are raising (sometimes extra) strong-willed kids. You can find her at Grace and Glory Moms, where she shares hope, humor, and helpful tips for making it through motherhood while holding tightly onto Jesus.

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