Sweet 16 – Another Love Letter to my Daughter

Miss Sunshine at the beach in Naples, Florida Amy Lyon Smith

Three years ago, I wrote a love letter to my daughter.

A love letter to my youngest child.

Miss Sunshine.

My only girl, who was just entering into the teenage years. Interestingly, the love letter that sat in the recesses of this blog, and had been seen by around 100 pairs of eyes before 2019, has somehow found some readers this year. In fact, it is my top viewed blog post so far this year, surpassing 3,000 views in this year alone.

And now, that daughter stands at another rite of passage.

Sixteen.

Turning sixteen, for me, meant that I had entered into that space of no longer a child, and yet, not quite an adult.

I now had a driver’s license and that meant a new level of independence.

A chance for more freedoms.

We, currently (i.e.-Virginia, no longer Florida), do not live in a state where you can drive independently from the moment you turn sixteen, but you can three months later. And so, I still look at the moment of turning sixteen as the threshold of a new level of moving toward adulthood.

I have been in a season of life where words seem to elude me. I sit to write and they do not tumble out as freely as they might have in the past. Perhaps they would spill forth were I not encumbered by doing instead of being. Or maybe, which feels like truth as of late, they are just content to roll round and round in my mind. However, I do not want to let this moment in time pass unnoticed.

And so, Miss Sunshine, here is my love letter to you.

5,844 Days.

140,256 Hours.

8,415,360 Minutes.

That’s how long it’s been since the moment that I first looked into your eyes. I know that may sound long to some, but really it’s not. It’s really the blink of an eye (according to us old folks…you know… the ones in their early 40s).

I loved you before that moment, of course, but the eyes will always share the truth. At the moment we met face-to-face, I looked deep into your eyes because I wanted you to see the depths of my love. The unconditional love I hold for the lives that I helped create. A love that knows no bounds.

I breathed you in. I held you close. I knew that you would be my last. My final response to the call of motherhood.

Your brothers came to see you, excited to meet the one they’d been talking to for all these months. Did you recognize their voices? I’m sure you did.

I watched you explore the world. Your style so different from your brothers’.

Always collecting.

Gathering.

Carrying around your treasures.

I remember walking along the shoreline when you were small. Me, looking for unbroken whelks and scallops. You, overjoyed by the imperfect.

Teaching me lessons.

About finding beauty in it all.

You teach me lessons still.

I watch the young woman you’ve become.

The one who knows her needs and doesn’t feel a pressure to conform. The one who chases her passions and knows she is strong and capable.

I hope that self-doubt never creeps into your life. It is a vicious lie that we can tell ourselves. That we are not worthy. That we are not enough.

You ARE worthy.

You will ALWAYS be enough.

No, we are not all created to do the same things. If we were, life would not be the beautiful tapestry that humanity currently weaves. However, far too often, we let the world around us begin to tell us who we should be, could be, if only this and that.

Instead, I want you to continue to listen to that voice inside. The one that sometimes seems to speak softly in a world that has become loud. The one that knows the authentic you. The one that knows what makes your soul sing and how to bring a smile to your lips.

And I want you to never stop dancing.

I love how you can’t ignore a good beat. How the music finds its way into your very being and encourages you to move.

I still wish that I could slow down time. That I could savor each moment of you charting your course in history. Three years ago, I wished for certain traits to maintain their place in the core of who you are. I feel so lucky that you have surrounded yourself by those who lift you up. And that I see those traits of strength, courage, compassion, and kindness still growing in the woman that you are becoming.

I feel so blessed to be a part of your journey and it fills my heart that you chose me to be your mother as you’ve navigated this phase of your path.

May we ever continue to giggle at silly inside jokes during soccer tournaments and may you forever grow into the outstanding woman that you came here to be.

May you never forget that your uniqueness is exactly what is needed in this world. And most of all, may you never forget that you are unconditionally loved just because the you that you are is an amazing addition to this universe.

I would, from now until an eternity into forever, choose you…again and again.


Happy Sweet 16 to the girl who came into this world to disrupt, to teach, and to share with me everything that I thought about being a female in this world.

You are that itsy, bitsy spider that I sang to you about each night in your childhood.

And just like that spider, you never let a little rain keep you from your goals.

Thank you for being the sunshine that dries up all the rain, and thank you for teaching me about perseverance and “climbing that spout again.”

I love you, Miss Sunshine!

Let your light shine!

Amy (aka Mom)

18 thoughts on “Sweet 16 – Another Love Letter to my Daughter

  1. This is a beautiful tribute to her Amy! She is adorable too. She is lucky to have such a loving mom !

  2. Hi Amy, Turning sixteen and driving is always a big deal. I think it is often the first question a sixteen year old is asked. Is she excited to start driving? I recently watched the live musical β€œRent”. The days, hours, minutes resonate.

    Okay, you win, Amy. You made me cry.

    I know you know, Amy. When you speak to your daughter, you are also speaking to yourself, the young girl you still are at the core.

    Beautiful words! Beautiful daughter! Just like her Mother!πŸ’•

    1. She is super excited to drive! I’m ready for her to take over a little more of the chauffeuring that I do for her social life, but still a little nervous for her to get out on these crazy roads.

      I think that’s been one of the interesting things about having a daughter, Erica. That knowing what it’s like to be a young girl. To try to guide while knowing in your core exactly all the thoughts and emotions that are swirling around at that age.

      You are so sweet. I do agree that she’s beautiful. <3

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