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18th Birthday

dedication: my beautiful niece Nikki

sweet girl, you’re 18 today
and your life’s bound to be
different then it was yesterday.
graduation will come with teardrops
falling down your face,
one last dance with a high school backdrop-
don’t wish for it to come quick,
it’s no race.
it’s goodbye to an era
and hello to a new year.
embrace the pull of your passion,
and in the direction of your wonders
is where you should steer-
be bold and different and fierce;
drive the map until the road unwinds
into the sunset into the night,
lose your way and fight for your dreams,
keep looking until your place in life feels right.
seek happiness
as work fills up most of your days,
let it be something you love-
love unconditionally, spread your wings
to find your way.
sweet girl, you turn 18 today-
have the courage to take every chance,
cliff dive every moment,
not judge the world at first glance.
let road blocks and red lights
be stepping stones, surf boards
over the waves.
let you’re youth stay with you,
as you embrace adulthood.
let love make you the best version of yourself,
as those you love and who love you
always should.
be kind and adventure,
as free spirited as Winnie the Pooh-
when childhood become a memory,
I’ll always be here to remind you.
through achievement, hardship, and every circumstance in between,
hold faith in the darkness, and always
believe in the possibility of the unseen.
words may not reveal the love you have showed me,
what can I say..
you light up this world, keep illuminating
happy 18th birthday.

-Allison Ryder