Today is one of my favorite days of the year, because it's my Beautiful Daughter's Solar Return!

January 27 marks the birthday of my girl, Riley Alexandra Warner! 
January 27 marks the birthday of my man, Melvin Cleveland!   
January 27 marks the birthday of my favorite composer – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The list goes on and on! After all, I gave birth to my biggest blessing on January 27, 2006. I should be a National Holiday!


Riley   –  YOU ARE LOVED!

My Dear Riley,
You’re almost a teenager and a very smart girl. You’re growing up and gaining a lot of wisdom. Here are some things that I want you to always remember:
  1. You are loved. Soooo loved! By everyone in your family and so many others.
  2. You have lots of friends – some will stay with you for a lifetime and many will come and go. This is life. Always be the best friend you can be and if it doesn’t work out, don’t make it about you. You’re a really good person.
  3. Love yourself. No one is perfect and we always have something we could be better at; sometimes we make mistakes – learn from them and move on. Take responsibility for your part, resolve to not make the same mistake again and forgive yourself.
  4. Love your body. You are beautiful. You don’t have to be super skinny or tall to be beautiful. Beautiful comes in all shapes and sizes. Take care of your body – exercise and eat healthy and you will be beautiful.
  5. Do the best you can in school.  Believe in yourself. I believe in you, and so does everybody else in that list up there of those who love you. You’re going to be great at whatever you choose to do; the only thing you have to do is believe in yourself.
  6. Don’t be afraid to work hard. I know sometimes it sucks to have to work hard at something, but if you can work at it, without giving up, you’ll find it gets easier. I promise. But you can’t give up! You’re only giving up on yourself. I will never give up on you and neither will your family.
  7. Don’t stress about the cool kids. The less you care about them, the more they will care about you. Don’t ever do anything just because someone else does it. Trust your gut – it’s a really smart gut and will keep you out of harms way. Don’t worry if the cool kids don’t think you’re cool- it’s not because of you- it’s because they don’t believe in themselves. Trust me – you are very cool.
  8. Don’t be defeated by “no.” You will hear it many times before you hear “yes.” But also know that sometimes no means no and it’s important to respect that. When you respect the no of others, they will respect yours. Learn to know when you should push or when you should respect a “no”. I know it’s confusing now, but with practice you’ll learn to know the difference.
  9. You can’t change people. Not men, not your friends, not your mother or your father. Accept the ones you want to accept, move on from the ones you don’t. You won’t look back, I promise.
  10. When you feel down, find something that makes you happy, listen to music, draw, write a song or a poem. You are very creative and when you are doing something creative, you will find peace and happiness.
  11. Know that you are in charge of you and you can choose to feel any way you want to. It takes work to be your own master – don’t let the thought monsters control you! You can control them! Don’t accept defeat, just keep working at it. Even I struggle with those buggers from time to time. Know that it will all be ok, especially if you love yourself and remember that I will always love you no matter what- you’re never alone.
  12. Don’t believe the negative thoughts and stories that sometimes pop into your head – they aren’t true. Go back and read all of this again- this is the truth!
  13. There will be times when you think you hate me, when you are angry with me and there will be times when I am angry with you. That’s ok. Be angry, but be honest with yourself and know that even when I am angry with you – I still love you. The love I have for you can never be broken or taken away from you. It is a constant you can always count on.
  14. Please know that I am not perfect, no one is and I will make mistakes, too. I promise to always do my best to recognize those mistakes and work on myself.  You are my teacher and I am yours.
I love you with all my heart. You are my greatest gifts.
Your Mother - RileysMommy ~ Verenetta Johnson Warner


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