To my dearest Ryleigh,

On this day, your 8th grade graduation, I wanted to take a moment to tell you just how proud I am of you and how privileged I feel to be your mom.  Middle school has not been an easy ride for you.  I have watched you struggle to hold onto the value and beauty of who you are because of outside opinions, and quite frankly, from plain old mean-spirited girls.  I have cried inside, and sometimes at night, over your hurt, I have had to reel in my anger and “mother-bear” instincts to not rush out and fight your battles.  

It has been challenging, but my heart is full of pride and adoration at your strength and unwavering decision to stay true to the core of who you are and not turn yourself inside out to become what might be “cool” amongst your peers.  Know this…

You ARE beautiful, inside and out.

You ARE  compassionate, even for people who have shown you nothing but unkindness.

You ARE empathetic, in a world that is lacking of the same.

You ARE funny.

You ARE quirky, OWN IT!!

You ARE a loyal and kind friend.

You try your best and challenge yourself to reach new goals.

You ARE fun to be around.

You ARE talented in many ways.

You ARE honorable and wonderful, in too many ways to count and mention.

I love that you wear your heart on your sleeve and though this can, at times, be painful, you will find this quality will bestow upon you much joy and fulfillment throughout your life.  Stay true to who you are at your core.  I am excited to be witness to your next four years.  I know you will flourish beyond your expectations, just allow yourself to move beyond your self-inflicted limitations.

You are girt from the heavens!  When I was 22 weeks pregnant with you, the doctors said you would never survive, but we stayed on bed rest in the hospital, you and I, for 13 long weeks.  At 32 weeks you decided it was time to make your presence known and defied all odds, by being born healthy and thriving!  Your spirit was unmatched from the second of your conception.  Keep that luminous spirit alive and make your life YOUR OWN!

You are a beautifully, gifted and generous soul.  I am proud to share your life’s journey with you, as your mom!

Thank you for being born! Thank you for being mine! You are LOVED Ryleigh!

Good Luck and Congratulations!

Love,

Mommy  (can I still write Mommy or should it be Mom?)

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