Four years ago, I wrote Ashley a letter. She was facing major difficulties in overcoming her trauma. As a parent, it was so hard watching my daughter question her value as a young woman. Here is that letter:

Names are funny things. When you were born, we had a list of three names for a girl. Dad chose Ashley and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It just fits.

ARTFUL-🎨From the time you could walk and talk, you expressed yourself artistically. You would sing, dance, write and draw to your heart’s content. I am constantly amazed by your view of the world around you. You seem to recognize the bigger picture and ‘see’ what others cannot. Through color and music, you help illustrate your thoughts in a way that others appreciate.

SISTER👯-You have been sister for as long as you can remember. I see you teaching Emma to slow down and enjoy the world around her. I watch as you laugh at each other’s dumb jokes and share secrets with each other. Over the next two years, continue building that relationship because it will be the one constant in your life.

HIP-Your sense of style is just as unique as you. I have watched as you’ve developed into a beautiful young woman.

LOYAL💜-You are a true friend and leader amongst your peers. I see how determined you are to keep your friendships by pleasing others. As you build relationships, remember who you are and do not lose sight of your goals. You have dreams. In every situation, ask yourself if it will bring you closer to your dreams.

ENVIRONMENTALIST🌎-Your respect for the world around you will benefit many. Continue exploring and sharing your discoveries with others. Future generations will benefit from your understanding of how this Earth works. It is one of God’s most precious creations and to appreciate it, show love for Him.

YOUTHFUL💐-You continue to have this “little girl” excitement about the things you love. I love when you are talking about your passions-you speak faster and your voice picks up an octave. That youthful passion will carry you through when faced with difficulties. Continue to take time to stay young at heart by following your passions.

I love you. Love Mom (2015) ❤️