I am so of proud this person. She’s beautiful on the inside and out. She cares about other people. SO MUCH. She works hard. She goes after what she wants. She is wise beyond her years. She goes out of her way to make sure that everyone is included. If someone asks for help, she says yes without question. Her smile is contagious and her laugh is infectious. She is clever, witty and sarcastic like no other. She fiercely believes in social justice. She loves a good burrito, iced coffee and peanut butter. She’s quickly becoming one of my best friends. Watching her grow and become her own person with her own ideas about life has been an incredible journey. I was 18 when she entered this world and at times, we grew up together. She’s taught me more about myself than I knew a child could, and in many ways, she has made me. Motherhood is hard. Not knowing if you’re doing it right, knowing you’ll have to let them go one day and hope that everything you taught them was enough. Feeling a little like your job as you know it as a mom is done and knowing they will get hurt as they grow and learn from their mistakes. People keep asking me if I am sad that she’ll be moving away to college in the fall. The answer is no. Our family will miss her a great deal, of course and I’m struggling to come to terms with how different life will be from day to day. I know I will feel a hole in my heart and emptiness where she was (sprawled out on the couch, one earbud in her ear, lost in Snapchat). But I just feel so damn proud of this kid. I can’t wait to see all that she does, to see her hopes and dreams come true. To hold her hand for the bumps along the road, celebrate her successes along with her and support whatever life she chooses for herself. Madi, you are a precious gift to us and loved more than I could ever put into words.