A Letter To My Beloved Daughter On Your Graduation Day (2023)

A Letter To My Beloved Daughter On Your Graduation Day (1)

Well, here we finally are. Graduation Day. For you, it likely seems to have been a long, often-fun, sometimes-difficult journey. But here we are.

You will walk across the stage tonight and close an early chapter in your young life. I know you’re excited about the next steps and eager to leave high school behind.

I get it. I felt the same when I graduated 30 years ago in 1992. “Get me out of here, I will not miss high school at ALL.” And it’s true. I haven’t. I wasn’t involved with much during my high school years.

You, you’ve had a different journey. A 4.13 cumulative GPA. Playing violin in the school orchestra for all four years. The same for Improv Club, Image Factory, and Musical Theater. You’ve been a fine arts kid of epic proportions. It’s been a joy to attend every performance I was able to go to.

And then there’s your art. Holy hell, your art. I’ve never seen a person your age so talented at art. It makes sense, you’re your mother’s daughter. In so many ways even more than art. But the art.

Pencil. Ink. Colored pencil. Watercolor and other paints. Digital art. Everything you do is success. Winning contests. Drawing for hours and hours every day. You’ve likely created hundreds of game characters with the digital art you’re so talented in. I bet we’ve likely only seen a fraction of your work.

But the things I’ve seen, they blow me away. I’ve posted just about all of the pictures I’ve taken of your art. People on social media are also blown away. Mom and I are so proud of you.

It makes sense. When I met you and your brother when you were both in 2nd and 3rd grade, you always had a pencil in hand. You drew more often than even playing video games with us or watching YouTube videos like most kids your age were doing. Your practice and commitment to your art have always been impressive.

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I know that going through your parents’ divorce at a young age wasn’t easy. Your dad moving away for a period of time and then coming back when Mom and I started dating was also difficult.

We had a lot of fun though in the beginning. I loved how quickly you bonded with Avery and you, her, and Kazden became fast buddies. Even if you did tell Avery she probably had Ebola and made her cry. (HA!)

I tried hard to make sure you guys were comfortable and happy with the new changes. It’s not always easy putting a blended family together. You guys being in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade when we all met probably helped with everyone accepting things a bit easier. And we did have a lot of fun.

We had challenges. Boy, did we have some challenges. Your sister and brother were both pretty mellow and easy to deal with. You and I had to learn together. I learned a lot about parenting by helping Mom parent you.

You taught me patience. You taught me that you shouldn’t handle all of your children the same exact way and demand the same things from all of them. You cried. You slammed doors. I raised my voice. I cried when you weren’t looking after we’d go rounds.

But we made up. I learned how to say, “I’m sorry” and to mean it. I learned lessons about parenting and life as much and often as you did. I wanted to get through our early struggles and become close with you. I wanted you to know you had a second dad who loved you as much as your dad did, and as much as I loved my own daughter.

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That’s why I never used the term “Step-daughter” when referring to you. Same with your Brother. I’ve always thought of you both as my daughter and son, the same as Avery. I hope you knew that and that made you feel happy and proud.

We’ve grown up together in these past ten years. Your growing up was to be expected. Mine was a bonus. I feel blessed to have learned a lot from you and to have been able to contribute whatever I could that is positive in your life.

We’ve laughed so much. That’s my favorite thing about us. All the dinners we’ve all had together, where we just laugh like goons and say the most inappropriate things. You have your mother’s sense of humor and love putting the “shock-humor” comments out there. So many times I’ve said, “WOW”. But in a good, funny way.

We’ve hung out and spent more hours playing video games together than I have with either Avery or Kazden. Ave isn’t here at home as much as you guys are. Kaz has always preferred to do his own thing most of the time. You and I have played and beaten so many video games together. We’ve laughed. We’ve talked about heavy topics. We’ve grown to be best buds.

Remember when Covid first started and we had to pretty much never leave the house? We started playing Zelda Breath of the Wild together to pass the time. That was so much fun. We played that daily for almost two straight months and knocked it out. It’s been fun revisiting that game again and those memories.

Finally, we were able to work again. You went with me on so many carpet cleaning jobs. We’d get our two cheeseburger meal at Mickey D’s, then go kick ass at work. You’d curl up and hide in small little places you’d find at the homes we cleaned during breaks. I’d laugh at how I’d find you in the tiniest of places. That always made me smile. :)

You bought SO MANY plushies with the money you earned. You built a large collection that summer. You even bought a few for me, just because you knew I liked those Pokemon characters. Even the giant Snorlax one for $50. Then you bought me the Snorlax tank top. I felt bad that you spent your hard-earned money on me. But you wanted to and it meant so much. I cherish those plushies because they are from you.

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We’ve had many hours of car rides home from school. We’ve listened to music together and sung along to it. We’ve been there for each other after a rough day. We’ve made plans for our evening, talked about plans for the future, and sometimes we’ve just sat together in silence. I’m going to miss our daily rides from school back home.

I’m glad you’ll be with us for at least another year while you start college. I know the day you leave home for the first time is going to be a crushing blow to me. Though I’ll be proud to see you fly and head out to conquer the world like I know you will, I’ll be sad for me. While that may sound selfish, it’s absolutely true.

But we’ll stay in touch. We’ll see each other during visits. Technology is a wonderful tool these days to keep people connected. But you better believe I’ll be giving you those big hugs we both enjoy as often as I can.

The clock is ticking. Time always moves on. Tonight, we will enjoy seeing you graduate and celebrate the wonderful person and daughter that you are. Then we’ll hang out this weekend, make dinner, blast tunes, play-fight each other like we do, and get some gaming in. It’s summertime, our favorite time!

We are so proud of you, Little Girl. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t feel so much pride and love for you. Thank you for being a stellar, humorous, caring, and wonderful daughter. And for being one of my very best friends. Congratulations on your graduation tonight!


Jason &:^)

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