You have really grown into yourself in the past year and I think you are more than ready to enter adulthood. About a year ago, you got a job working for Ruff It, the grooming and boarding side of City Vet. You were recognized for your hard work by being awarded employee of the month a couple of times, and it wasn't long before you were ready to move into a vet tech role with more challenges and responsibilities. You acquired many new skills and a greater degree of confidence, and you even took the lead on coming up with ways of making the clinic run more smoothly. And, you got pretty good at dealing with people and animals of varying temperaments. Unfortunately, because of Covid-19, you were furloughed from your job in late March, and then they decided they weren't going to be able to bring you back. It was a tough experience on many levels, but you handled it with grace and didn't let it get you down for long.
Because of work, you had the opportunity to stay home by yourself a couple of times during the summer and during the winter break, which is another reason I know you are more than prepared to enter adulthood. You are quite capable of taking care of yourself. And you are responsible and trustworthy...and thoughtful, as you even cleaned up the house before our return.
You had the opportunity to attend a CAP powered flight academy last summer, and you took a leadership position at one of the Encampment events, as well as attending and leading at several events in the fall. You also rose to an officer rank within the Nighthawk Squadron, achieved the title of 2nd Lieutenant, and received the Billy Mitchell award. I'm so proud of your hard work in this organization and of the wonderful skills you acquired!
This was your senior year of high school, but you took all your classes at NCTC, so it was a bit of a non-traditional senior experience, which I guess was an appropriate ending to all your other years of non-traditional schooling. You enjoyed your classes and made excellent grades, and even wrecked the curve for the rest of the class from time to time. Your academic achievements earned you a nice scholarship to UNT and a place in the honors college. You are so smart, and you are an incredibly hard worker, and I'm so proud of all your accomplishments!
You have struggled, as all teenagers do, with what you want to major in in college and the path you'd like to take for your life. For now, you have settled on majoring in Psychology and possibly pursuing a career in Occupational Therapy. I think this is wonderful, but I want you to know that it's absolutely okay if you change your mind. Despite what society might have you think, you don't have to have your life figured out at the age of 18 (or any particular age). I know for sure that you have within you everything you need to become who and what you want to be on whatever timeline makes sense for you. And you have the power to change and grow and continue becoming all the days of your life, so don't ever think you are locked into something that no longer serves you and your happiness. I am excited about the journey that awaits you and will be here cheering you on every step of the way!
This year has brought some difficult changes and circumstances to our family and to the world at large, but I have watched you handle them all with grace, forgiveness, strength, and dignity. You are the kind of person who tries to see the good and make the best of the situation, and you have learned through therapy and life how to manage your mental health in a way that allows you to rise rather than sink. And because of this, you have so much to give to others. You have been a shining example and a wonderful comfort to your brothers, to myself, and to others as we have all navigated these choppy, unfamiliar waters.
Ruth, you have the most beautiful heart and a wonderfully brilliant mind. And you truly have so much to offer the world. You make me proud and bring me joy every single day! I consider these last eighteen years with you a rare and amazing privilege, and I'm thankful for all of the big and little moments that have brought us to this point. You are now and will forever be, not only my favorite daughter, but one of my favorite people on the planet! Welcome to adulthood! You are going to rock it! I love you more than words can say!