Dear Daughter: The Happening,


I have a secret tornado that swirls in my chest at night. It twirls through my heart and stomach. Back and forth. Again and again. Until it finally dislodges the lump in my throat. The storm turns to rain. Will it ever not be cloudy when I think of you leaving me? My sunshine. Gone.

I tried to write this during the day, but much of what I want to say to you only comes to me at night. When the comforts of the day are gone. When it is quiet in the house. The darkness staking claim to my thoughts. Allowing my mind to wander to circumstances that hide from the light of day.

At night, I lay awake and the “what ifs” come tumbling into me. But the “what ifs” are not as scary as “the happenings.” Things that are going to happen that I desperately wish were not. At least the “what ifs” might never happen.

But “the happenings” are true. Not nipping at my mind like the “what ifs.” They have a cocky sureness that is unnerving. They do not call for attention. For they know they do not need to. No need to make a fuss. No need to stamp around my mind for a glance or a scratch. They are solid. Always there. They know attention will be brought to them however they act or proceed. So, they lodge themselves comfortably in my throat. Escaping only through hot tears that trail down my cheeks into my pillow in the night.

Now let us address this happening. The one that keeps me awake at night.

Unable to swallow.

It cannot be ignored any longer.

Each day that passes, I know that it is one day closer to you going to college. One day closer to you leaving us. You start high school in one week. “The happening” of it all is too much.

Where did all of the time go?

There are so many things I still want to teach you. Memories we have yet to create. You going to high school feels like a new door is opening for you. And I am desperately trying to keep it closed.

But it is one of those automatic doors. It has seen you coming. Felt your presence. It has swung open and there is no way for me to close it.

I just have to watch you go.

Hope that the years will slow down just a bit. Allow me to catch up. My heart is still trying to understand what my eyes have all ready realized. You are growing up.

I just want you to know…

What? What is it that I want you to know? Need you to know?

Let us start with the stupid little things: Cooking is not hard, as long as you follow the recipe exactly, the first time you make it. Never be late on a bill. Fabric softener is unnecessary. Always keep tissue in your purse. And breath mints. And a hair tie. And bandaids. And headache medicine. And your wallet. And lipstick. Okay, just keep a purse. And put everything in it.

Because you never know what life is going to throw at you.

Boys are going to break your heart. Some of them on purpose.

Girls will, too. Most of them on purpose.

People are going to disappoint you. I will probably be one of them.

You are going to disappoint people. I will not be one of them.

You are going to try for things. And you are going to fail.

You are going to try for things. And you are going to succeed.

Which of these outcomes you choose to dwell on will decide the course of your future.

But the most important thing I want you to know is: I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you.

And I want you to not worry about telling me anything, because I love you.

And I want you to not worry about life, because I love you.

And if you are ever in trouble, I love you.

And if you ever need anything, I love you.

I am so proud to be your mother.

I love you.

I realize you are just as nervous as I am for you to be starting high school. As much as I am dreading it, I cannot wait to see how you are going to handle your future. You are so clever and sweet. So beautiful and kind.

“The happening” is happening whether I wish it to or not. I can see it around the corner. Its form growing more solid with each passing day. It can now be felt in daylight, as well as at night.

I will watch you walk through those high school doors. It will “happen.” I have walked through them myself. I know the trials that await you. The victories, too. I cannot follow you. But I will still be behind you.

Every step.

Every stumble.

Every “happening.”


* I have recently learned my children are googling my blog. Which is sweet. Very sweet. But I also want to know that they are learning something from me besides simple recipes and pretty clothing. These letters are real letters to my children. From their mother. You might not agree with my message, but please respect my sentiment.

12 thoughts on “Dear Daughter: The Happening,

  1. Once again your words have gone right to my heart…… I am raising two of my nieces 13 and 14. I feel this exact way about them becoming teenagers and going to high school. Your letters to your kids are great,in my opinion.

    • Thank you so much Debbie. Wow! Two teenage girls. I do not know how your heart handles it. I cannot even manage one. And back to school shopping. Please. That is another beast of its own.

      I very much appreciate your words. Thank you! Have a wonderful weekend.


    • Yes. Yes. They did just start kindergarten. Wow. Our friendship is getting old. We, of course, are not. : )

      Have a great weekend! My son starts golf today and for some reason this has me in nervous sweats.


  2. Beautifully written, Jenni.

    I was not the mom that cried when my boys started kindergarten. What caught me off guard was how unexpectedly I sobbed…shoulder heaving, gasping, snot flowing sobs the day my youngest headed to his car to start his senior year of high school as I watched from the doorway. I kept that crying up all the way to work that morning where I arrived a mess. Now my boys are both grown, married and I have one granddaughter. What I have learned is, yes, time passes too quickly but during our life time with the kids, it doesn’t end…we just move on to different experiences and they are all awesome. I loved my boys’ time growing up but I am also enjoying watching them as kind, loving, successful men, husbands, father. It’s just a different type of awesome. Now…if I could just stop how quickly my granddaughter is growing up. LOL.

    • Thank you so much for your beautiful note, Brynne. I have been thinking about you and I hope you are doing well. Oh my gosh, your recount of sobbing with your youngest going to his senior year had me crying, all over again. The only good thing about all of this sobbing, is it had to be burning some kind of calories, right?

      You have given me something to look forward to. Adulthood. But I am still sad. It is just my nature. I hate change. I have actually cried the first and last day of school, every year with my children. I told you I needed to toughen up! : )

      Thank you for the encouragement and reality check. I hope you have a beautiful weekend.


  3. Oh my sweet Jenni, you had me in tears!!! Yes, time passes far too quickly, but savor those special moments with your beautiful kiddos…..that is my mission…..I just look at my boys and love them with all of my heart, and I pray that the world will be gentle and kind to them, which I know sadly won’t always be the case, but it’s all we can do because life changes in a moment!!! I love you, my Friend!!! YOU have such a gift with your words and your writing….your kiddos will cherish these love letters to them…because they are as special as their Mom!!! XO

    • Awww, thank you Kathy. You are the sweetest. I appreciate you taking the time to write me so much. Why does this parenting thing have to be so hard? I love your “gentle and kind” comment. The wording is perfect. That is exactly what we want for our kids. Why does that have to be so difficult?

      You are the kindest. Thank you my sweet Kathy! Have a perfect week. We just bought tickets to the auction. I am all yours once school starts. I need to help and get my mind off things. Can’t wait!


  4. What a priceless gift and talent, to be able to put down in writing what mother’s the world over feel, but cannot put into words their thoughts and feelings. Thank you. I love you.

    • Thanks Mom! Now what are the words for shopping with a teenager? ; )

      I think I will leave those out. Getting ready to watch Harry Potter with my son.

      See you soon!


Leave a Reply