A milestone birthday letter

My dear oldest child,

Today is your birthday – a milestone birthday.  It truly seems like just yesterday when the delivery nurse placed you in my arms and you and I saw eye to eye for the first time, just 45 minutes before Mother’s Day arrived.

You were a tiny bundle but oh, so perfect!  Born while your daddy was stationed in a far-off land on the other side of the world serving our country, it really felt like it was just you and me against the world until he returned to join us.

As I lay in the recovery room later on your birth day, my mind still reeling from the miracle of your birth and my body still shaking and quivering from labor and delivery, a nurse brought you to me and said, “She won’t stop crying.  I think she wants her mommy.”

And sure enough, as soon as she laid you in my shaky arms, you stopped wailing immediately.  From that day on, you taught me one of the most precious lessons humans can learn – how fiercely a mother loves her child.  You made me realize a mother lion lived inside of me.

Oldest daughter – cute at age 2.

I blinked and you were a tiny, adorable girl with blond curls dancing and singing “ut-town gurl” (Uptown Girl) in your sweet little voice along with Billy Joel on the stereo.  (Yes, that’s why you still love his music.)

You never wanted to miss a thing, following me everywhere, asking questions.  Always curious, always wanting to know, always inquisitive.  When you thought of something you should try or do, you’d inquire of me, “Be that fun, Mommy?”

I blinked again and you trotted off to school, so eager to be a big girl, so ready to learn, to absorb, to experience.  I believe your zeal to discover and understand coupled with your ability to acquire knowledge so easily molded you into the scientist that you are today.

I worried a bit as moves or other circumstances beyond our control caused a change in schools every couple of years for you, but those experiences seemed to give you confidence, a sense of adventure, and the ability to make new friends.

I blinked once more and Dad and I were unloading the car and moving you into your college dorm room, so proud of you and your accomplishments as well as your college choice and your molecular biology major.   And then all too soon, you were out on your own with a freshly minted degree, a launched career in biomedical research, and an apartment to call home.

My darling daughter, you have amazed us.  As you reach this milestone birthday – your 30th – you have accomplished so much. With travels to Paris and London, to Mozambique and South Africa, to Honduras, and the desire to see more of this world God created,  you have proved how adventuresome you are.

You demonstrated your bravery and independence when you accepted a new position in a place far from home where you knew no one, had no roommate, and no real security blanket.   You’ve taken changes and even set-backs in stride and your strong faith in God sustains you.

You are funny.  You are loyal.  You are intelligent.  You are assertive.  And you are so much more daring than your mother!  Convincing your siblings to go sky-diving with you is just one example.

You are determined whether it is running half-marathons or accomplishing a task in the most accurate, precise way.  You always strive for the best and even though you think you’ve not always succeeded, to us you always surpass! Your “bucket list” continues to grow even as you cross items from it.

Beautiful at 30

How can I even begin to explain how much I admire these things about you?  And now, in your 30th year, the Lord has given you a gift you’ve longed for, one for which you’ve waited and hoped for so long  – a soul mate with whom to share your life, your adventures, and your love.  What a beautiful bride you will be on your wedding day this fall!

Today in my book called Opportunity, I remember how much you have blessed the last 30 years of our lives and I give thanks for you and the joy it has been to be your mother.

This birthday might cause you a bit of trepidation, but do not fear. Turning thirty is just another milestone in the journey of life.

The years to come will be amazing; turning thirty is just the beginning.   Our omnipotent God has awesome plans for you and your life.

Actually, as recorded in our guidebook for life, God’s Holy Word,  some pretty important people accomplished some very important things once they turned thirty.  The Lord had big plans for them and their purposes in life were just commencing:

  • “Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from Pharaoh’s presence and traveled throughout Egypt.” ~ Genesis 41:46
  • “David was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years.” ~ 2 Samuel 5:4
  • “Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry.”  ~ Luke 3:23

I know the Lord has big plans for you too.  God loves you and He will bless you, guide you, and make a way for you when you continue to trust in Him.  That you can count on. And you can always count on us to cheer you on!

Happy 30th Birthday, my beloved and beautiful daughter!

Love always,


“Don’t just count your years, make your years count.” ~ Ernest Meyers

Copyright ©2012 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com


14 responses

  1. What a beautiful, heartfelt, tear-inducing letter. Your daughter is a true gift to our world. I am so happy you shared this lovely letter with us. Happy birthday to her—and have a lovely Mother’s Day 🙂


      • We surely are blessed. With the memory-laden year you are having, don’ t you almost wish there was a live-in person making a documentary of this year for you so that you do not forget a single moment of it? Years like the one you are no doubt having are such an amazing gift….


      • Yes, I sure do!! I’m trying so hard to take it all in, savor the moments, and make deposits in my memory bank that hopefully won’t be forgotten. And through it all, I’m so thankful to the One who has blessed our family abundantly this year. 🙂


  2. Well, I must say I had to find a kleenex for this one. This is an extraordinary letter and if you don’t have plans for a family book, I advise you to make them to record such moments as these. What a lovely, intelligent, adventuresome and awesome daughter you and your husband have. Congratulations on such a milestone birthday and to have accomplished so much. There will be no forgetting anniversary years among your siblings in the years to come.


    • You can imagine how it choked me up writing this special tribute to my oldest child. I’m taking your comment under advisement and I do think I will put together a family book after life settles down a bit (post-weddings!). Now that my parents are gone, I so wish I had a ‘family history’ of stories and memories of their lives to read, but those are lost. Thank you for your sweet comment about our daughter. We surely do think she’s special and one of a kind. It’s funny that you mention how our children won’t forget anniversary years since there will be only one. I was just thinking that the other day! I certainly won’t forget their anniversaries! 😉


  3. What a beautiful, heartfelt letter to your daughter! This is so touching, and it’s true, our children do grow up in the blink of an eye (or maybe a few blinks). Your daughter is gorgeous; she’ll be a beautiful bride. It’s easy to understand the pride you feel in her accomplishments!


    • It sounds cliche, but I honestly don’t know where the years went! So hard to believe my oldest child is 30 today! It is a year for beautiful brides….first will be middle daughter, then my soon-to-be daughter-in-law, and then oldest daughter. I need to post pictures of the other two soon (with their permission).


  4. A truly beautiful tribute to a beautiful daughter from a beautiful mother. This post is amazing and I know your little girl will cherish it forever.


    • We celebrated her birthday yesterday by taking her to dinner with a bouquet of flowers and birthday cake. But I think the most exciting part of her birthday was when we picked up her gorgeous wedding gown as it just came in for her late fall wedding! I’m sure it’s a day she’ll remember! 🙂


  5. This is the most lovely, beautiful tribute to a daughter that I have ever read. I had to get three Kleenex because I was thinking of my own daughter, but your love and pride were in abundance. It is also very humbling to have high achieving, good people for children – this is more proof of God’s work in us and through us as parents and his love for our children. I passed it along to my mother who was also awed by your writing. I couldn’t write anything directly after reading it as it affected me so deeply. Thank you for giving the world such a lovely person and for sharing your memories and love with all of us.


    • Oh Michele, your kind and thoughtful comment just sent ME running for the Kleenex box! I am truly grateful, humbled, and actually a little speechless (and that doesn’t happen often!!) that my post touched you and your mother so deeply; thank you for letting me know! Treasure that beautiful daughter of yours just as I know your own dear mom treasures you as her daughter. May you both have a lovely Mother’s Day! God bless you and your family. 🙂


  6. What a blessed daughter you have, Mama! I love what you wrote about what happened to Joseph, Jesus and David when they were thirty! You are one sweet and inspiring mom! I’ve always loved reading your posts written for your children. Touching!


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