In ten days I will drive you to college and move you into your dormitory. Every parent says it, but it’s true. I’m filled with a plethora of emotion. With each piece of clothing you pack, I know the chances of seeing them or you again as a permanent resident in our household are slim. I can’t even begin to fathom what it will be like to live in a house without you. I’ve loved you and you have been by my side for 18 years. How strange it will be not having you patter around the house or walking by you on the couch. Silly to think, but I will miss you screaming Mom on the top of your lungs or asking me to make you something to eat. The little things will surely add up to magnify the silence and void I will feel.
There are a few things you must know as you enter adulthood and make your way into the world. I’m convinced that writing will be better received by you than a conversation because after all, you’re still a teenager prone to minimalize any advice I might offer. My hope is that you will read this thoroughly, and perhaps even twice. Please save this letter and read it for those times when you long for a piece of home. Let’s begin:
You are a priority. Every decision you make should propel you to your goal. It’s ok to be selfish in this area. Should you need to blow off your friends for a party to finish homework or study and you are met with resistance, do what is right for you. Don’t let others behavior influence a decision you know to be right. School work is your main focus and nothing, not even your friends, should interfere with this. You are paying to go to school, use your time wisely to maximize this experience. Knowledge is power. Get every dollars worth out of your classes.
In life, we encounter all types of people. Some you will bond with, becoming lifelong friends others you may dislike instantly. This applies to classmates, or even teachers. Handling difficult people are part of life. Try to limit your exposure to them and if you can’t, pull deep within you to tolerate them. Always be kind. If there is a student you see isolated, and not part of the “in crowd”, befriending such a person might make a difference in their life. Empathy is an important trait to possess. Try to make a difference in others lives as even the simplest of tasks can impact a person.
Campus life will be new and exciting. I know you think you are big and bad but truth is you’re a hundred pound, beautiful girl. Sometimes people suck and they might want to take advantage of this. Never walk campus alone and always use the buddy system. Stop rolling your eyes because I can see that! If you’re going to attend a frat or house party (whatever they call it) never leave your open drink unattended. If you go to the bathroom, that drink goes with you. Never give someone an opportunity to slip a drug into your drink. Since we are on the topic of drinking, try not to but if you must, drink in moderation. Excessive drinking can lead to alcohol poisoning and even worse, a ruined reputation. Make sure you make good decisions because your reputation will always follow you. Make sure your decisions support the person you are and want to be.
I suppose a boyfriend is somewhere in your future. Know that we support whatever decision you make. Race, religion or color does not matter to your parents. The only thing that matters is the man you are with treats you well, respects you and is supportive. If he does all these things, he is welcome into our family. Don’t ever allow someone to treat or talk to you badly. There are a million guys out there. Don’t be stuck on one. Whoever wins your heart, wins the lotto. You are a great catch with a ton to offer the right person. On the flip side, do not let your emotions or relationships interfere with your school work. Know that the right guy won’t ever make you cry. You are an equal in your relationships. If at any time you feel differently, get out of it.
Work hard in school so you will have a successful career. Every woman should be self-sufficient. Never rely on a man to support you. Build a career and maintain it. Fiscal independence is freedom.
Always be yourself. Don’t alter to fit the mold others have of you. You are unique and should remain that way. Compromise is a good thing but don’t ever compromise your standards, your beliefs or your integrity for anyone, no exceptions. You are enough.
You have a voice so be sure to use it. If you have an opinion, share it. If you feel wronged, air your grievance. If you disagree with someone, debate. Your thoughts and opinion matter so never think otherwise. Remember that you are a leader, not a follower. Blaze your own trail. Don’t fall prey to others beliefs or viewpoints, simply because it’s easier. Know who you are at all times, and be that person.
Lastly, know that I am always here for you. If something is bothering you and you need to call me in the middle of the night, do it. If you need me to come up to school, let me know and I’ll jump in my car. As much as you build a life of your own, know you are always welcomed home, always. Your family is and will always be your safe place to land. You are loved more than you can possibly imagine and I will help you no matter the circumstances. You can depend on me. I want you to have the life I never had but always dreamed of.
I love you,