Dear Firstborn

Elke,

To say that we are proud of the person you have become is an understatement. You are a joy and such a bright light in our lives. Although we have been honored to guide you and parent you for 18 years, the time has gone by much too fast.

The sense of urgency to “fill you up” with as much advice and guidance as we can, is palpable. If you will indulge us a little longer, I hope this resonates someday. You are wonderful, a whole human being, a great daughter, sister, friend, and teammate to all who know you. You do not need to spend time and effort chasing perfectionism. You are loved and wonderful, just as you are.

Perfectionism is a false promise. It is not about striving, setting goals and working toward them. Perfectionism is other directed – focused on garnering the approval of others – something none of us can ever control and there is no end point. “Most perfectionists were raised being praised for achievement and performance (grades, manners, rule following, people-pleasing, appearance, sports). Somewhere along the way we adopted this belief system: I am what I accomplish,” from Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection. Your daddy and I hope this resonate for you, Boo, and can serve as a reminder that while we 100% applaud all that you achieved – you are more than the sum of your achievements.

While your graduation from high school is an expectation, you have made your high school journey your own and it is a tremendous accomplishment worthy of recognition. You did not sacrifice academic achievement over all else, you did not play the game. You worked hard so that you had the ability to have fun, to hang out with your friends, eat ice creme, watch the sunset, take your dog to the park, binge watch Grey’s Anatomy, bake cookies and throw surprise parties for your friends.

While we will never feel ready to let you go, we know you’ve got this.

Published by kimberlystrenk

West Coast native, enjoying life in Austin, Texas with three teen daughters, awesome husband, and one adorable, vertically challenged doxie pup, Ollie.

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