Eleven years before I got to become “Daddy,” I became an uncle. Today, my oldest niece turns 18, and while the protective side of me is not happy about it, I remember how special and difficult of a time it is. So today’s blog is for you, Brianna, and the following are things I want you to remember as you go through life:
You are a beautiful person, inside and out. You have a good heart and a sweet nature, and one day, hopefully many years from now, you are going to be an excellent mother.
You are intelligent and capable, and you can accomplish anything you strive for as long as you are willing to work hard for it. Never underestimate the power of your own will and the importance of hard work.
Your love is a precious gift. Never let anyone take it for granted, mistreat it, or abuse it. If your heart tells you that you aren’t getting what you want from someone, listen to it. Your heart is a good compass to follow, and if you quieten your brain long enough to hear it, your heart will rarely lead you astray.
I will always have your back. When life knocks you down and the days seem their darkest, remember that and take comfort in it. No matter where you are or what has happened, you can come to me for shelter and safety, so don’t be afraid to take a few chances and reach for your dreams.
The only failures in life are not trying and quitting on your goals. If you come up short or fall on your face, you can learn from that and grow stronger as long as you pick yourself up and keep pressing forward. Nothing worth anything comes easy, and real successes usually come after many failures.
Life can sometimes seem pointless and difficult and overwhelming, and there will be days when you want to give up. Those are the moments when you need to reach deep down inside of yourself, get a firm grasp on your spine, clench your teeth, and get through the dark days. The sunshine will come back eventually.
I love you, my beautiful girl. You have always been more like a daughter than a niece, and I’m very proud of you. Happy birthday with many, many more to come.