Letter to My Daughter on Her Graduation Day

“My wish for you is that you continue. Continue to be who and how you are, to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness.”

-Maya Angelou

Lipreading Mom and her daughter, 2008
Lipreading Mom and her daughter, 10 years later

Lipreading Mom focuses on two things: living with hearing loss and being a parent. Today I would like to focus on parenting my children who are all almost fully grown. And I would like to share a few words with my only daughter. But first, let me give the back story about this blog.

When I began blogging here more than 10 years ago, my children were ages 11, 7, and 4. The oldest two were in school full time, and the youngest attended preschool part-time and I stayed home with him. It was a very cold winter with a lot of time spent indoors playing with Thomas the Train and his friends on wooden train tracks. In those days, having phone conversations were difficult because I hadn’t yet discovered hearing aids with Bluetooth capabilities or phone captioning. If I wanted to connect with people, I had to find another way on those long, wintry days. While my son played, I created this blog and started writing about being a mom with hearing loss.

Now these children are not so little. They are young adults. One son lives on his own while attending college. My younger son is at the age of learning how to drive. And my daughter is a few days away from graduating high school. While I love the three of them more than I’ve ever loved another human being (except their dad), the remaining words are for my daughter.

Sweetheart, I have often wondered what it is like to grow up as the middle child, sandwiched between two boys. I didn’t grow up with brothers, and I have watched you over the past few years find your way with brothers who sometimes can’t relate to who you are or how you see the world. But I see you.

We have navigated this family together, carving out time for adventures and lessons. This began when you attended speaking engagements with me while the boys stayed at home with your dad. Whether you were in the audience or on the stage helping, you had a front row seat into being raised by a mom who loves to write and speak and just happens to have progressive hearing loss.

When my dad (your grandpa) died a few years ago, you and I made the out-of-state trip to be with your grandmother. You found ways to make us laugh and kept things lighthearted and fun during what was one of the most difficult times in our family. When it came time for the memorial service, you got up on stage with your cousin and shared memories of growing up with your beloved grandpa. When I listened to the songs that would be played at the service, you let me cry and you held me. That is a lot for a young woman to have to do, and you did it because of your kind heart.

Now you are a young woman entering adulthood. The bond that I have with you is different than with anyone else I have ever known. You are the daughter I hoped I could have someday, long before becoming a mom. When I was a young girl laying on my parents’ trampoline under the nighttime sky, I gazed at bright stars and imagined what the future could bring. You are so much more beautiful than what I could have imagined.

My hopes and dreams for you are that you will…

Continue to show kindness to others as you have with me, your Lipreading Mom

Let your faith be stronger than fears

Be open to new adventures that will grow you

Realize that pain is temporary and enduring pain brings courage

Know that I will love you forever,

Mom

6 thoughts on “Letter to My Daughter on Her Graduation Day

  1. A beautiful letter from a beautiful soul. Congratulations Ainsley, May your new Chapters in life be as bright and amazing like you.

  2. Thank you for sharing this blog Shanna.
    Gosh it seems like yesterday that you and I met at MOPS when our kids weren’t even in school and now are youngest sons (and my only son lol) are in high school.
    Time has passed so quickly.
    You were a great mom then and you still are!!
    Even though we aren’t really in contact much anymore since life got busy I want you to know I still have love for you and your whole family.
    You are still a blessing to me. You were one of my first friends here in Kansas.
    Congrats to Ainsley on her graduation! Only one more kiddo to finish high school.
    Take care. Reach out if you want to meet up or text. God bless you!! Adrienne

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