Tomorrow you turn 22. I remember this day so well, 22 years ago today. A beautiful sunny crisp October day in Northern California, much like the day here in Seattle. A day like any other. The day before my life changed forever.
It’s funny how the seasons come and go – yet some things stay constant and perfectly formed in our memory. Sometimes those moments that drastically change who we are forever are more clear to us than things that happened yesterday.
According to Dr. Phil, you can trace who you’ve become in this life to three types of external factors: 10 defining moments, seven critical choices, and five pivotal people. But first it’s important to understand the following terms:
Ten Defining Moments: In every person’s life, there have been moments, both positive and negative, that have defined and redefined who you are. Those events entered your consciousness with such power that they changed the very core of who and what you thought you were. A part of you was changed by those events, and caused you to define yourself, to some degree by your experience of that event.
Seven Critical Choices: There are a surprisingly small number of choices that rise to the level of life-changing ones. Critical choices are those that have changed your life, positively or negatively, and are major factors in determining who and what you will become. They are the choices that have affected your life up to today, and have set you on a path.
Five Pivotal People: These are the people who have left indelible impressions on your concept of self, and therefore, the life you live. They may be family members, friends or co-workers, and their influences can be either positive or negative. They are people who can determine whether you live consistently with your authentic self, or instead live a counterfeit life controlled by a fictional self that has crowded out who you really are.
As I reflect over those 10 defining moments of my own life – getting married and having each of my babies certainly ranks up there with the most important and most life changing. No matter how old I am, or where life’s journey takes me – I am forever changed by the birth of Ashlee and you. You are part of those seven critical choices and definitely one of my five pivotal people.
And so Shawn – it is with very sweet and sentimental memories that I remember today, the day before you.
You made your entrance on October 5th, 1991 at 8:26 pm. You filled up an entire room – even back then. You were laid back, shy, sweet, calm and peaceful. As you grew you developed a slow and steady manner and a great ability to make and keep friends. Your sense of humor has sustained you even in the tough times of relationships and finding your own way. Your deep faith in God continues to guide you and be your compass. You are one of the things that forever changed me.
I could not have dreamed you up in a million years. Shawn means “gift of God” and you were that for me. It was a privilege to be your Mom and I am proud of who you are and all that I know you are still becoming. It is in the letting go that we truly find. And I have always known that you were on loan and that you would need to find your own way. I’m so glad you are learning all those tough things while realizing your family loves and supports you in the background. You are learning to rely on God’s help and have deepened your faith in those things that are really lasting and important. Money, fame and even friends will come and go. Love, family and faith in God lasts forever. And I pray every day for that special young woman who will change your life forever.
Until you have finally found your stride and your place stay strong and firm in your faith. You are loved and thought about each and every day. You are special and have a special purpose. Don’t give up, never lose heart – for a part of the end result is the journey you’re on right now. And these times will be what you look back on as one of your defining moments.
I love you…Happy 22nd!