Four years ago I wrote a post to try with every fiber of my being to impart wisdom into two incoming freshmen. It was full of lessons about being kind and showing grace and knowing that you are beautiful even when your hair doesn’t cooperate. I read the post to them and they listened with wide eyes full of worry and peppered me with questions.
“Mom, what if we don’t know where our classes are?”
“What if we don’t have anyone to sit by at lunch?”
“What if we forget our homework?”
“What if we don’t know the answers?”
Oh, sweet girls.
You. Made. It.
Somehow I blinked and the twins are going to college next semester and I’m clinging to every minute of every day and telling it to wait. But time doesn’t slow down even for moms with teary eyes and stacks of graduation announcements.
And so I thought it was time for a new list.
A new list.
A new chapter.
Here are seven things I want to teach my daughters for the road ahead.
Dear daughters of mine,
I am so incredibly blessed to be your mother.
It seems like yesterday you arrived into the world full of tiny ballerina toes and wisps of blonde hair and wistful blue eyes that spoke directly to my heart.
Now you are full of giggles and big opinions and personality and ranch salad dressing and blue eyes that roll.
And you don’t know this, but as you run through this summer between high school and college wiggling your toes in the sand and picking out your dorm room headboards and deciding what the best leggings are in the world and if scrunchies are even a thing anymore….
…the next chapters of your life are about to unfold.
Now is the time to pass on some very important information.
1. Go to class
This is actually your daddy’s rule.
And my daddy’s rule before that.
You are kind of in charge of yourself now. To quote Dr. Seuss, “You have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes, you can go any direction you choose.”
And those shoes?
They should go to class.
It’s kind of practice for showing up in life. You’ll have much more important things to show up for later on.
Like your family.
And your job.
And the occasional awkward class reunion.
Start with school. It will make the rest of life so much easier.
2. Put down your phone
You are about to embark on an adventure.
There will be so many firsts.
Your first dorm room.
Your first college cafeteria meal.
Your first roommate.
Your first college date.
Your first college football game.
And if you are on your phone? You might miss something.
There is a giant big wide world out there that’s not found on the 3″x 3″ phone screen. Open your eyes. Open your heart. Embrace every moment.
Life is meant to be lived, not just documented.
3. Pick up that phone and call me
I’m not sure if you know this or not?
But I’m going to miss you.
I have been a part of every minute of your life for 18 years. I’ve heard the gossip and the heartache and the triumphs and the funny stories and all those awkward moments that you wish you could do-over.
Do you know how lucky I am that you’ve shared it with me?
I’m still here.
I’m still listening.
Just remember, no one understands and loves you like your mother.
Call me and I’ll remind you.
4. You are beautiful
I may have mentioned this before, but you are truly beautiful.
Inside and out.
I know you think I’m supposed to say that because I’m your mother.
At this minute I can actually feel your eyes rolling.
But one day the world will tell you that you aren’t. They will tell you that you need to be skinnier or blonder or taller or more of this or less of that. They will try to convince you that you need to change.
They have no idea what they are talking about. They don’t know.
But I do.
And I know that you are fearfully and wonderfully made and you are perfect and incredible and beautiful….
….just like you are.
5. Duck tape fixes everything
Your daddy is helping me write this list.
Just between us? He’s a little sad, too.
For 18 years he’s fixed all the things that need fixing. He’s put bandaids on skinned knees and built treehouses and fixed bikes and put furniture together and painted rooms and brought more things you forgot up to school than anyone I can remember.
I told him you will be okay, but he’s kind of worried you can’t fix things on your own.
So he’s leaving you with this advice.
If your picture frame breaks? If your book cover falls off? If your suitcase handle breaks?
Just use ducktape.
He has a roll for each of you.
6. Be kind
There is a world of people who are hurting. People who are overwhelmed. People who are sad. People who have more issues than Vogue.
Treat them the way you want to be treated.
You have been given many gifts my sweet twinkly-eyed girls.
Use them wisely.
Never, ever make fun of someone else.
In your life, you will encounter many people who won’t return that kindness.
Be kind anyway.
Until you have walked a mile in their shoes, you never know the battle that someone else is fighting.
7. Don’t be afraid to fly
This is the beginning of an entirely new chapter.
A new start.
A new beginning.
Don’t be afraid of failure.
Don’t be afraid to try.
Nothing in this world is accomplished by someone sitting on the sidelines.
Life is about the doing.
I am typing this with tears in my eyes because it is SO HARD to let you go. I want you to stay here. I want to wake up and hear your giggling. I want you to live in the house next door to me and come over for coffee every morning.
But here’s the thing.
That’s not your story.
You have big wings and a big heart and big plans and big dreams. Life is waiting for you. The most amazing things are just around the corner.
So with tears and sadness and an empty hole in the bottom of my heart, I’m stepping back.
This is your time.
This is your moment.
This is your day my precious, wonderful, incredible, beautiful daughters.
Take it all in. And then? Spread your wings…
I love you,
PS When you are done flying? That house next to me is really cute. Just think about it. 🙂
Some of these photos were taken by the incredible Kenna Lynn from Kenna Lynn Photography.