A letter to my baby as she leaves for college.
As you embark on this new chapter in your life, I can’t help but feel like I should impart some pearls of wisdom. (Ok, the “pearls” may be more like bits of sand that just stayed, you know, sand-like, but here goes) …
There will be times…challenging times…when the internet isn’t working. In these moments of crisis, you’re going to have to improvise. You’re going to have to stalk boys “old school.” Call me. I’ll walk you through it.
You will make mistakes. Many will be small and sting just a little. These are the errors that come with naiveté. With being young and unfiltered.
And then there will be a few big ones. The kind of mistakes that punch you in the gut and drop you to your knees. Errors of judgment. Of commission. Of omission. Poor decisions that will make you want to question your worth.
Never question the value of your being. Mistakes happen. They are part of the process of living. They help us learn and grow and do better – be better. Missteps help guide us toward the next piece of solid ground. Breathe. Apologize sincerely. Try and right the wrong. Move forward.
Your body is yours. Wholly, mindfully, yours. You decide. Everything.
You’re going to get your heart broken. Another human being is going to tell you they love you, and then do something to demonstrate that they don’t. Or at least not in the way that you thought they did. This is part of the common human experience for all of us. And it sucks. It may humble you and make you a little wiser, but it will not destroy you. There is an abundance of love in the world, and the surest way to find love is to give it away. To love with your whole heart, knowing that pain is a possibility, but the probability is that you will experience a joyful, wonderful ride.
Do some homework. Sleep from time to time, but not in class. Eat a vegetable. Pour your own beverages at a party. Tell your sister about the party – tell me about the homework.
I love you beyond what words can express.
Here’s the thing. My exquisite, smart, funny, feisty, old-soul of a daughter won’t see this. She has chosen not to read what I put out into the world. She told me early on in this process that she was glad I was writing because she knows it helps me through the crazy and is a source of light and joy for me, but she could not participate in any way. She felt it would be a betrayal of her dad. Even though I have assured her that I don’t disparage him in my writing — in fact, just the opposite — it is still too much for her to bear. I absolutely honor and respect that.
So I write this with the peaceful heart of a mother who knows she has already said the words. In countless late night chats and car ride talks and reviews of the day over the dinner table, I have told my baby how amazing she is. How she is loved beyond measure. That she matters in every way. That she is strong and resilient and courageous.
That she is ready to fly.