Holly is 18 today. She is officially an adult by the world's standards. By my standards, she has been an adult in very many ways for quite some time now. Just a couple of days ago she asked me: "Why is it that I can relate to adults so easily?" (Or something along those lines.) Holly has several adults that she includes as her close friends, and these adults reciprocate that friendship. It is fun to see her interact with them. She is at ease, and always herself. It is so apparent that she is respected and valued. And she should be. I think it is fair to say that confidence has played a very important part in these friendships. Holly is very comfortable with herself and she likes who she is and others value that in her.
We recently went to lunch in which a cute, male waiter overheard that we were celebrating Holly's 18th birthday. He made a comment to her alluding to the fact that they (employees) might have to embarrass her by singing Happy Birthday. Holly cutely responded with a coy smile: "Oh, I don't get embarrassed very easily". She was flirty (appropriately so) and engaging as she held her own in that conversation. It is so much fun watching her, knowing she has control of situations and is so darn cute!
That confidence is not just manifest in her relationships, but also in her testimony. She is confident in what she believes. She questions, seeks answers, and applies what she learns. This gift has put her in a position to be a leader among her peers and her adult friends. She is very fine with stating: "NO" if something is inappropriate or just doesn't feel right to her.
Confidence is an amazing gift to acquire; it is even a more amazing gift to keep. The world has a way of chipping away at our confidence. I don't see that happening with Holly. This was a gift that accompanied her to earth and she has continued to strengthen it. As a little six year old child, she kindly questioned her friend why she wasn't a Mormon. As an eleven year old, she once instructed me about modesty in swimsuits. (I was buying a very modest swimsuit with a zipper in front. Holly said that I shouldn't buy it because what if the zipper accidentally unzipped! I didn't buy it.) I have seen her push aside negative thoughts and feelings and change situations that would have otherwise made her feel less about herself. She has made conscious choices to not be "squashed".
To my beloved Holly, I echo the Apostle Paul's comment: I rejoice therefore that I have confidence in you in all things". I can say that because of the righteous confidence you have in yourself. That confidence will allow you to pursue your goals of singing and writing. It will strengthen you as a college student, missionary, wife, mother and whatever else you pursue. It has been a joy watching you grow leaps and bounds these past few years. I really like the person you are. You make me laugh. You calm me down. You give me confidence. Happy Birthday dear daughter and dearest friend. I love you. Mommy