September 13, 2007
Dear Mattie,

A little over 18 years ago, when I had a brand new baby, I sat down and wrote a letter. I wanted to preserve for you the things I was thinking and feeling at that time. My heart was full of joy and gratitude for the precious life that had been entrusted to us. My plan was to seal that letter and not look at it until I was ready to give it to you, which would be when you were grown up. Little did I know how quickly that day would come! That is the other letter I've given to you today.

You have indeed grown up - into a lovely, talented, mature young woman. Because I haven't looked at that letter for all these years, I don't know exactly what I said in it. I'm sure I told you how happy we were to have such a beautiful child and I'm sure I had great dreams for you, but I know I couldn't possibly have imagined how very much happiness you would bring in our lives over the next 18 years and how greatly you would exceed anything I could have dreamed for you. There are so, so many ways in which we are proud of you - and happy for you. You have achieved so much, and I know that there is much more to come. Most of all, however, you are a person of great integrity and sensitivity to others, and that is what I am proudest of.

We had lots of ideas and plans, all those years ago, of what we wanted to do for our beloved child. Some of those we've been able to do and some not. There are many things I wish we had done differently - more travel, for example. But, I think that, if I had to do it all over again, my goals would be to create a home in which you knew you were loved more than anything in the world and to give you both the support and the freedom to become who you wanted to become. I'm not sure if I thought explicitly in those terms at the time I wrote that letter, but to the extent that those were my goals, I think we have succeeded.

I love you with all my heart, my precious angel. Happy 18th birthday!