My eldest daughter Lauren just turned 21 years old on November 9th. It is hard to imagine where the time has gone, but I believe most parents feel the same way. It seems like only yesterday our children were born then, what seems like a second later, they are adults. I am proud of my daughter. She is an inspiration and role model for me. An unsung hero in a family dynamic that was anything but peaceful. Being the eldest, the most was expected of her and even if it was never said to her, Lauren rose to the occasion on her own. She always aimed high and put the most pressure upon herself to achieve and aspire. As a parent, we all want to do the right thing for our children and hope and pray that they will one day grow up to be responsible and respectful members of our society. We offer them lessons and guidance, encouragement and support both financial and emotional. We discipline, we laugh and we spend our time hoping some of who we are will ‘rub off’ on them. A living testament to our own existence in the actions and lives of our children. The toughest part however, is letting them grow, therefore letting them ‘go’. Falling and faltering, making mistakes and hopefully learning from them along the way.
Lauren has not gotten much praise along the way, at least not as much as I believe she deserved. Faced with a sister battling cancer, she spent her teenage years understanding that my attention needed to be upon her sisters care and treatment. Lauren never complained. She went through many teenage things being all too aware that her ‘screw ups’ and mistakes would divert my attention from where it was needed the most at the time. Lauren is a rock of strength. When my ex husband filed for divorce and dragged Lauren into the middle of his legal mess, my then 15-year-old not only maintained her school schedule, but remained calm and composed and somehow seemed to find the humor in the absolute absurdity of it. A college education at University of Florida was something Lauren always dreamed of. How lucky to have a child dream of education as others dream of new clothes and cars. She was accepted and as a single parent doing it alone, I made sure she got that wonderful dream of attending that great school.
Now Lauren is ‘officially’ an adult. No need for fake ID’s, having to miss going out with her friends because she is the youngest and in a months time she will graduate. The time has gone way too fast, the lessons we have learned immeasurable. We have laughed, we have cried and have gone down that rocky road called life with perseverance and resolve. I have learned a lot about myself watching Lauren. Her laughter is infectious, her strength is admirable, her compassion is enviable and her sense of style is unique.
I want everyone to know just how incredible Lauren really is!