Wow! I attempted many times today to write this letter but each time I got a bit overwhelmed. So I think instead of all the feelings, thoughts, and words that are trying to gush out on this post--I will keep it simple!
I've had the opportunity to live with many different people in my life so far, including families, which has given me the chance to compare and contrast our family. So what have I learned? I learned that I have one crazy, loud, messy, annoying, strong, spiritual, amazing, and forever family. I've learned that while there is no manual on how to raise 1 kid-let alone 8 kids-you both did an amazing job.
You both taught me to be myself and for that I'm grateful! You led by example the importance of education, putting the Lord first in my life, and the importance of family. You showed me how adapt to change, how to make new friends, how to grieve, how to ask questions, and how to go to the Lord.
Dad you taught me to be a hard worker--to do something right the first time. To have self mastery (self control). You taught me to keep a place clean, to a leave a place better than I found it, and to always be looking for ways to help out. You taught me to love my scriptures, to seek higher education, and to go for my goals and dreams.
Mom you taught me to be strong and independent. You inspired and foster my love for travel. I watched you read and in turn fell in love with it myself. You let me try so many different things as a kid such as dancing, soccer, music, plays, voice lessons, and so much more. This allowed me to have a broad base and to relate to so many people. Mostly you just listened to all the intricate (and probably mostly boring) details of my life. That mattered more than you know.
Lately, working with kids who have awful circumstances, backgrounds, and "families" got me thinking about all the little things you did for me as a kid that these kids missed. Thank you for reading to me as a kid, for singing to me. Mom whenever I hear "You Light Up My Life" I remember you singing to me as a kid. I remember the PPI's you did with me dad when I got to share with you what was going on in my life and you just listened, learned, and loved me. I'm grateful for the FHE's, the family reunions, the building of our houses, the friends over at our house all the time, and so much more.
Today I'm missing you both and the family something fierce and I'm thinking I should have come home but I'm so grateful I got to see you both at my graduation! It was so much fun to have you all to myself for a few days!
Thank you for loving me, for your patience, for your trying to understand my situation, and for your advice. Thank you for being my cheerleaders, for inspiring me, and for allowing me to make mistakes. I want you both to know that I am so proud of you and could never adequately describe how much I love you!
The First Born in the Wilderness