14 Wishes For My Daughter On Her 16th Birthday

Dearest Daughter,

We met when you were 11.

mini kendall

I married Daddy when you were 13.

bw wedding

The judge made you and me legal with our adoption when you were 14.


This parenting gig really does fly by in flash, so before you zoom out the door, on the occasion of your Sweet 16, here are 14 wishes from me to you:

1. I wish that you know how much joy you’ve given your two mothers. Both Mommy in heaven, and now my turn here on Earth. I know neither of us could ask for a bigger honor than to get to be your mom.

With First Mom, Kerri.

With First Mom, Kerri. You look more and more like her every day!

2. I wish that you know it’s actually not your job to bring joy to anyone. It’s okay to use that voice of yours. Speak up. People pleasers often aren’t very pleased themselves.

3. I wish that you know your girlfriends are some of the biggest treasures you will ever have. They are your sisters by choice. You’ve picked some awesome ones. Hang on tight with one arm, while welcoming new friends as you travel on.

g & catherine

4. I wish that you demand any boy you choose to date treat you with the same love and respect your girlfriends do. This is a high bar. You’ll be surprised by how many women settle for less.

5. I wish that you remember that you can’t screw up the right one; you can’t make the wrong one work. This will hold true with relationships, colleges, jobs, and houses.

6. I wish that you remember that you’re the only one you need to make a party complete. Know that everyone will be exactly where they are supposed to be and you’ll never be disappointed with an rsvp list.

It's her party and she'll smile if she wants to.

It’s her party and she’ll smile if she wants to.

7. I wish that you know how you dress matters. Like it or not, you’re sending the world a message about you.

8. I wish that you know that money matters. No, not to have the most, but to understand it, manage it, and save it will give you enormous freedom.

Screen Shot 2014-10-12 at 5.27.20 PM

9. I wish that you know that women’s intuition is real. Those hairs standing up on the back of your neck, that funny feeling in your stomach—trust them.

10. I wish that you know that accomplishments are great, but happiness is a choice.

Screen Shot 2014-10-12 at 5.30.18 PM

11. I wish you take as much time as you need before you get your driver’s license. Daddy and I will sleep better for awhile and you get to do life at your own pace.

Longer you put this off the better, as far as we are concerned. No hurry!

Longer you put this off the better, as far as we are concerned. No hurry!

12. I wish you side-blinders so you have no need to look at anyone else’s plate. Comparison is a losing game. You’d be surprised how many who appear to have more aren’t happy with what they have.

13. I wish you appreciation for good health. It’s easier to keep than to get back.

14. I wish you many mistakes and no regrets. It’s called a journey. It’s leading you exactly where you need to be. I know because so many of my so-called mistakes, led me to you and Daddy.

Why only 14?

Because 15-16 and all the others are for you to create and go after.

Daddy and I will be here giving you guidance, love and support, but, Hija, this is your ride.

Oh, what a kick to get to watch you launch.

All my love,

Your Madre.

hug pic

Find more uplifting stories on my website, DarynKagan.com

Please catch my newspaper column each week in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Dayton Daily News and other newspapers across Ohio.




  • Alice Rago

    So beautiful, so true, so worth sharing!

  • Thanks so much, Ms. Alice! Yes, please share. Very much appreciated.

  • Tami

    Beautifully written! So happy that you have all found each other. She seems like an amazing girl, and I bet you are an amazing mom to her! She is lucky to be so very loved!

  • Kate

    our stories are so very similar. My husband adopted my son when he was 5. Next week my son will turn 16. Thank you for sharing these sweet thoughts and wishes.

  • Beautiful — your family situation mirrors mine (except there were more of us!) I was 8 when my first mom died, 11 when my dad remarried, and 13 when my second mom adopted us (4!) She had four more kids and the 8 of us are fortunately all still here and close. My second mom was my mom for 42 years — I miss her every day!

  • And Kate, thanks for telling me about your family. Happy Birthday to your son!

  • Eileen–thanks for sharing your family story. Makes me tear up to think about the impact of what our family is now to fast forward decades in the future. Thank you!

14 Wishes For My Daughter On Her 16th Birthday

by DarynKagan time to read: 3 min