Sweet 16 and COVID-19 :: A Letter to My Daughter

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Dear Daughter, 

Since the moment the ultrasound tech told me I was having a little girl, I dreamed of having a big sweet 16 birthday party for you. I wanted to be able to give you every wonderful experience that I was blessed to have, and more, as most mothers do.

I remember being your age better than almost any other time in my life. The adrenaline rush from the feeling of freedom driving my first car with the windows down and radio up. The feeling of accomplishment in landing my first job. These were my first introductions to being an adult. My hunger for independence became my life during those years and I was able to take it on head first.

Nothing could have ever prepared me for just how different this period of life would be for you.

Near the end of your very first year of high school, not long after you received your driver’s permit, schools were closed and our world was turned upside down. The COVID-19 pandemic hit, and changed everything about every expectation and plan we had for the entire year. Our new normal became staying home as much as possible, wearing a mask if we had to go anywhere, and not seeing any friends or family who wasn’t following the same guidelines as us.

This is not what I wanted for you, and so far away from what I imagined that I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if one of us is abducted by aliens tomorrow, but we can talk about that later. 

I’ve been so blessed to have a daughter who is so much like me. Not everyone gets to have a connection like you and I have. So I can imagine how hard this is for you because I know how hard it would have been for me. The day you turned 15, you started looking for a job because you want to be independent just a much as I did.

But here we are.

Brooke and her daughter Alyssa

You just got your driver’s license, but you’re experiencing your high school years online now. You’re still desperately wanting a job, but now we have to worry about how much risk that job poses to your health. And in a few weeks, you turn 16 and won’t be able to celebrate that huge milestone in the way that you really deserve, and the way many girls dream of, or at least they did when I was younger.

Sweet 16 is a big deal. You’re entering a new stage of life. That stage where you begin transitioning from a kid to an adult, and further away from needing your parents.

It’s also when I have to start accepting that I can’t always be there to protect you anymore. I have to accept that you’re able to make good decisions when you’re no longer in my eyesight, and that you’ll remember everything I have taught you. It’s a hard time for me, but it should be the best years of your life.

So this year, as with every year before, you and I will have our annual mother-daughter birthday skip day. You’ll skip school and I’ll skip work and we’ll spend the entire day together having fun. Normally, we do whatever you want, but this year will be whatever you want that we can do safely thanks to COVID-19.

Our options will be limited this year, and we might need to throw on full hazmat suits, but one way or another, we will celebrate and have fun doing it! I am so unbelievably proud of the young woman you have grown into and I can’t wait to see how you change this world!

Happy Sweet 16th My Beautiful Baby Girl!

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Brooke Moore
Brooke is many things, but normal is not one of them! She’s a native of SC who was raised in Bamberg and has been living in Columbia since 2017. She’s a Mom of 3; JD (20), Alyssa (15) and Will (3). Brooke and her husband Chris married in 2014. Together, they’ve become avid advocates for autism awareness in support of their son Will. Brooke holds a Masters in Information Technology and works as an IT Security Risk Analyst. In addition to her love for writing, Brooke also loves running, bow hunting, and tattoos. She’s a Christian who’s definitely not without flaw, a survivor, and an advocate for survivors of domestic violence & sexual assault. Her greatest loss has been the unexpected loss of her Mother in 2016. Her greatest loves are God and her family. Her greatest accomplishment was walking away and her most valuable lessons learned are to never take a moment for granted and never judge a book by its cover. In her spare time she writes for her blog at BrookeMcAlhaney.com and feeds her social media obsession on Facebook.

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