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.

And now?

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.

Truth?

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?

And now?

Don’t stop.

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.

Don’t listen.

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.

Don’t worry.

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.

Truth?

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…

….AND FLY.

I love you,

Mom

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.

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.

Comments

  1. Image for Claudia Willey Claudia Willey

    How I love this. So well written. I had tears in my eyes as I remembered when my 2 sons moved on. Your twins are beautiful!! Great advice Mom!

  2. Image for Darlene Darlene

    Such wonderful thoughts for those beautiful daughters. If they have learned from you and your husband, I know they will fly. Good job Mom!

  3. Image for Karen (I promise not one of THOSE Karens!) Karen (I promise not one of THOSE Karens!)

    As always beautifully written Karianne!! Sharing this post with my own two girls especially “Life is meant to be lived, not just documented.” which really spoke out to me. That is so very important to remember & sadly gets overlooked in this day & age. Thank you!!!

  4. Image for Sherry Morris Sherry Morris

    Oh no! The time has come and so quickly. I think of the post where the tiniest one was going out for basketball. When we dropped off our youngest at college, we cried all the way home, all nine hours. Good luck parents but you two did a fantastic job.

  5. Image for Myra Freshwater Myra Freshwater

    Oh Karianne, I love this. I feel it all so deeply, I hurt for you. Amidst the excitement there’s that raw competing feeling of wanting to hold on forever. I’ve awakened at night & wondered if I remembered to tell them everything. It takes time to detach & I know you’ll be so proud of them as they fly. What a blessing they have each other!💞 Much love, Myra

  6. Image for Janice Janice

    I enjoy your posts! This one just got bookmarked for its amazing inspiration for the inevitable changes in family life and the letting go and words of wisdom appropriate to those changes. Beautifully said. Thank you....

  7. Image for Renee Renee

    Oh KariAnne— now I have tears in my eyes! Your girls are beautiful.... they will find their way at college. I cried almost everyday when my 2 boys left for college— the first son before cell phones and email. The 2nd after cell phones/email were around. Honestly, everytime I saw a mother in the grocery store with a blonde haired toddler, I would tear up!! Enjoy the summer with your girls.... you will be ok, too.

  8. Image for Kathryn Waite Kathryn Waite

    Well as the mother of four now grown daughters I can say with tears in my eyes this is the best list for daughters ever. And oh yes, you will miss them, but they will fly and come back to our nests for hugs and favorite meals and bring new friends and you will just smile and and nod-you always knew they could fly, you are so proud of how they soared!

  9. Image for Debbie Debbie

    What a beautiful way to send your daughters off to college. Giving them the space they need to fly, like a beautiful butterfly and the freedom to reach their biggest dreams. It takes a strong woman to step back and do this, all while your heart is breaking. You have a great relationship with your daughters and that will continue even when they’re in college. Those breaks from school will be times you will treasure, even if they do bring home the dirty laundry. Cherish every moment, these times go by so fast!

  10. Image for Nancy Nancy

    So perfectly written. I have only one living child, our long ago grown up daughter, who next year will need this for her son. It was so hard to let her fly all those year ago and I still would love to bring her back under my wing but she certainly doesn't need that! In the months ahead you have a whole group of us who will hunger for word of their adventures and who will be right here for you too! and yes, who knows when in the future that house next door might be on the market!! Much affection from me to you.

  11. Image for Paige Paige

    What beautiful advice my friend. So excited for your girls as they start their journey at Baylor in the fall. I can't believe my son is finishing his freshman year there. Your girls are amazing and they will certainly soar at Baylor.

  12. Image for Jennifer Dynys Jennifer Dynys

    Gah! My oldest is the same age as your twins! Such good advice and of course well written! I love the put down your phone, life is to be lived not just documented! So many people need to hear that! Love love this! I missed my mom so terribly when I went off to college. Such a gift to have a good relationship!

  13. Image for Barbara Barbara

    oooooh so well said! Great lessons and I'm sure the girls are ready and already know them instinctively because of their wonderful parents♥ They are just as beautiful inside and out as you!

  14. Image for Sheri Seyler Sheri Seyler

    Oh my goodness! As a mom of two incredible daughters who have already flown the nest, gone to college and graduate school, established careers, gotten married, and are mothers or a soon to be mom, this really spoke to my heart. You expressed the feelings I had and continue to have. Your girls are so lucky to have such a wonderful and supportive mother!

  15. Image for Diane Diane

    Oh boy did this bring back exciting but oh so painful memories of my only child my daughter leaving the nest. I thought I would never get over it and wondered how parents survive this passage of parenthood. But I have a few tips for you and your husband: First, let the tears flow. This is a huge transition in your life and you need to grieve for it for just a tiny while. I cried every time I walked by her bedroom Once you have cried it all out sleep in. Just for a few minutes or at the very least dont immediately get up and get dressed in prep for carpool. Enjoy the quiet moments. It’s your new way of beginning your day Lu nch with your friends. You can do that now without rushing off to a game or a carpool or something else. Your girlfriends are even more important now Go to a movie in the middle of the week in the middle of the afternoon with your husband. It is such a treat to sit in an uncrowded theater and walk out when it is still light. And don’t forget to hold hands! Call your girls once they stop calling you every ten seconds. And they will. But don’t fall prey to thinking you don’t want to bother them etc. they still need you every single day and calling them will not crush their search for independence but rather give them strength to plow forward I still talk to my daughter every day and she is married with my two delicious little grandsons. But she needs her mommy (and mommy needs her) Good luck and enjoy each and every change as it is never ending. Good luck to your two beautiful girls as well

  16. Image for Kim Kim

    Oh boy! This brings back some memories. Have sent three children off to college, including twins. It's not easy to send them into the world. I couldn't go into their rooms for weeks and still tear up thinking about this time. Here's the good news: all those lessons, the talks in the car, the eye rolls, etc.? They were listening. Now you will see them advance into adulthood. You'll see an interest turn into a passion and a career, new friends, and new experiences. It's such an exciting time of discovery. As I watched each of them disappear in the rear view mirror while my husband drove us away, I thought of them as ships sailing off to sea, far from sight. Then it occurred to me: if they are ships, then I am the shore. I'm the home that they will return to after their adventures. It brought me peace. My wish for you is consolation and peace in your heart. Know this: you and your husband brought your children to this place in time and made sure they were prepared for this next chapter in their lives. Take care.

  17. Image for Debbie Debbie

    Oh, my, I can’t believe it...college? WOW! Beautiful advice. You and brown eyes did an amazing job with your children. I love the “be kind” advice, We all need that advice. I also loved that you told them not to listen to those who tell them that they need to change or that they’re not enough. Those young ladies of yours are truly amazing and they will be great!

  18. Image for Helen Helen

    What a great tribute to your beautiful daughters 🤗 I have 2 daughters also and what a joy they have been! A blessing ❤️ They both are in there 50s now and I’ll be 80 next January. But they always call home to still talk to “ ol Mom”. They come and help me when I need help👍 They just call to see what I’m doing👍 Nothing like daughters in our lives! Boys are great too. But nothing like a daughter🤗 You are blessed🙏

  19. Image for Nicole N Nicole N

    What a sweet, beautifully written post. I've watched 3 beautiful teenagers go off to college, and 4 years later to emerge as wonderful young adults. One is a doctor, one is graduating grad school next month, and the youngest will graduate UCBoulder next year. It wasn't easy when the last one left- the house seemed so empty- but it's such a blessing to see how much they grow into themselves. Your girls are lucky - they must know how much you and your husband love them. And, as twins, they have each other for support (I have a twin as well). They're going to do amazing things in this world - even if it's in their little corner of it - because they have the love and support of their family.

  20. Image for PJ PJ

    Wise words, KariAnne! The only thing I would add is "Trust your gut." Too often as a young woman, I followed the advice of others when I should have followed my own intuition. Your girls are on their way with a wonderful foundation built by you and your family.

  21. Image for Lyn Lyn

    All wonderful life tips! Here's another one - remind them that as much as you want them to have a good time and get good grades - try not to put too much pressure on them - BUT, remind them who is paying the bill for college. Years ago we deposited money in our daughter's account the first week she left for college - in addition to spending money - it was to cover the first semester's books. A couple of weeks later she came home for the weekend - with 2-inch. long artificial red finger nails that she went to a salon and had.done!! She figured that the cash in her account was for her to spend anyway she wanted. I told her we thought she was going to college -- but was she working a full time job instead? With a fully funded IRA as well? When she answered, no, she was going to college, I just looked at her. She got the point! Happily she is now a PhD with a lot of common sense and saves and spends her money wisely. It was pretty funny at the time, and even more so now. Enjoy these days!!

  22. Image for Kris Kris

    As a mom who just went to the dollar store this morning to buy supplies for my high school senior's open house .... this was kinda hard to read. Anne Shirley said it best--why do we have to grow up and change???

  23. Image for Maria Maria

    This is absolutely beautiful! Watching your children begin to fly on their own is so hard yet so satisfying. With all of this good advice and the love from their family I'm sure they will soar:)

  24. Image for Regina Rudd Merrick Regina Rudd Merrick

    Perfect, my friend. I've been going through pictures (I'm thinking I need to take a year-long sabbatical to organize them. Oy.), and oh, the proms, graduations, birthdays ... So, so good. Enjoy this time and always remind your babies how proud you are of them.

  25. Image for Jeanne Jeanne

    Oh, so beautifully written! So hard to be a mom when your kids go through major life changes. I cried like a baby when my oldest went to kindergarten and again when he moved out of the house at 18 (and I have 3 kids). The want for them to become independent and the want for them to stay at home is a struggle. It sounds like you've raised two very capable daughters who have each other for support during this next phase of their lives - good job mama!

  26. Image for Kim Kim

    What Wonderful Words of Wisdom to Your Beautiful Daughters!!🌸🌸. I remember when our 4 children were still at home, I would tell them each as they walked out the door in the morning, “Go out there and help make the world a better place.” Its a Tough World out there right now. Our Children definitely need words of Encouragement Sprinkled over them.💦💦💦

  27. Image for VAL lINN VAL lINN

    You are the most beautiful writer and we can tell the words come from your heart..Completely in tears. Loved returning to this journey with you...you never know how life turns out. Both of our girls ended up living within walking distance of us..Given us grand children and in turn these grandchildren have given us great grand children... We are in our 80"s and never expected so much joy so late in life...ENJOY YOUR JOURNEY TOO...

  28. Image for Calypso in the Country Calypso in the Country

    I'm in tears. What a wonderful list of lessons for your girls. Time sure does fly, doesn't it? I'm going to save this as a reminder for my sons. My older son is finishing his junior year in high school so I'll be feeling all these things this time next year. Thanks for sharing! Congrats to your girls! Cheers! Shelley

  29. Image for Denise Denise

    This is such a beautiful tribute to your daughters. Remember Mom - you, too, will be OK. Teary and emotional on many days, but you are strong and will be OK.

  30. Image for Teresa Gonzales Teresa Gonzales

    Ok-just wiped the tears off my face (after ugly crying). What a beautiful message to pass on to them. Kudos.

  31. Image for Karen Mary Karen Mary

    Awwww. Such great advice. My favorite is the one on showing up! I still cry if I let myself think too long about our grown kids having flown away. Happily, we're still close. And the hole isn't often gaping, because they still fill it with love. Grandkids help, too! :) You have a wonderful heart, and I'm so glad you share it far and wide!

  32. Image for Pamela Smith Pamela Smith

    Wahhh! This reminds me so much of my two girls! I so much want them to live next to me too!! But they are both doing so well and I am so proud of them. And thankfully, they still want to spend time with me and we try to make the most of every moment we are together!

  33. Image for Brenda Brenda

    Remind your lovely daughters to have fun but GROUP DATE , that is meet your fellow in a group situation. Trust me , you certainly don’t need a boy to worry about. A “relationship” changes your entire university experience. You can’t think straight when a certain young man is on your mind. Have fun and concentrate on studies. I have two girls, both with Doctorates. Children can make you so proud.

  34. Image for Scarlett Scarlett

    Oh my gosh! This has be boo hooing. It’s so sweet & so true and such a hard time (mostly for the parents of course). Reading this brought it all back to me when our son went off to college. We parents never stop worrying no matter their age and our natural instincts are to fix everything & always be there & never forget to warn them or give them life advice & lessons. I still do it to this day and our son is a grown man and a practicing attorney so...I think he’s got this but still....I worry and I miss him every single day! Your girls will do great & they’re blessed to have each other going off to college. I just always ask, why do they have to grow up so fast?!?! It’s TOO fast!!! I too want to buy a big piece of property and build our house on part of it & leave part open for our son to build on. Wouldn’t that be heaven for us parents? Maybe not so much for the kids 🤣 Still crying here KariAnne!!! 😢

  35. Image for Joanne Joanne

    As always, so beautifully written. Wiping away the tears. Brought me back to when each of my four boys moved on to the next stage of their lives. Feelings of happiness, joy, pride, and so much more. Of course we miss them, but as you said it is their story, and it is time for them to spread their wings and fly. I hope you and your girls will enjoy each and every second of the new journey.

  36. Image for Colleen Colleen

    KariAnne.I do not think for one minute you will have to worry about your girls! But, I do remember the feeling when my twins left on the same day to go off to university. Their dad and I sobbed..lol..(after they were gone, of course) But, it was an adjustment for maybe only 2-3 days..haha! Then, it was time for us! All those years completely devoted to our kids, and then we had the empty nest. We loved it. After 18 years, we had almost forgot what it was like to be "just us" again. So, don’t worry...they've been taught well and they have to spread their wings and just be who they can be. And they will. And also, don’t you worry..they always call for help or advice about something. My daughter, at almost 32, will still call if she needs a problem solved, or has had her heart broken or needs advice about something. And they always come home! We are here for our kids if they need us, but we don’t control their lives or tell them what to do unless they ask for it. This is their time and you and hubby's time. You will still enjoy every moment watching them fly!

  37. Image for Donna Marie Donna Marie

    I never got to tell my daughter what you are telling yours. She had a baby at 17 and 1 day and then got married at 17 and ten days without me and her dad being involved. Very hard time. as she was our only child, and this was definitely not what we wanted for her. Her dad turned to me and said, "This is our time, now." He made it better by making it date night and time for ourselves. We had dedicated ourselves to her and she had left us. You and Denny will have to make it time for yourselves and make it like when you were first married, just you and him and you will get by. Long story short, my daughter could not be closer to us now and the son she had, is married to a wonderful woman, just got his masters and CPA and is doing fine at 25 years of age! So you will be sad, but only for a bit, and then you will enjoy being just you and Denny!!!

  38. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    I knew from the title that I needed tissues. You are an amazing Mom to those amazing girls and their brothers. It’s so hard to speak ALL of this and you do it beautifully from the heart. I can’t wait to see where they will go and the great accomplishments they were designed for...it will be an incredible reveal for the world. I’ll be cheering from the sidelines!❤️❤️❤️

  39. Image for Kim S. Kim S.

    My oldest is also a senior in high school and leaving for college in the Fall., This post gave me all the feels. Thank you for putting into words what I'm feeling. Here's to our next chapters!

  40. Image for Sandy Berlien Sandy Berlien

    I read this w/tears in my eyes on the wonderful advice u gave ur beautiful girls. If they’re anything like their mother, & I’m sure they are, u won’t have anything to worry about & they’ll be there for you as well..... 💖

  41. Image for Ann C Ann C

    Beautifully said, mama. I only had one child and she’s been gone now from my home for 27 years. You will adjust as will they. It will never be the same. But it can be great! New chapters for you and the Mister as well as for them and their brothers. Enjoy. I loved your line about life being for living not just documenting. And I always thought it was duct tape -silly me!

  42. Image for Pam Pam

    So beautiful! I don't have daughters but I was tearing up reading it. I don't know but maybe a mom/daughters business in the future.

  43. Image for Jan Fusco Jan Fusco

    Oh Karrianne, I am hurting already for you when those goodbye hugs come around. It's going to be tough. My daddy bout didn't make it when he left me on those dorm steps of Samford University in Birmingham, AL in 1972. You have given wonderful wonderful advice for these beautiful young ladies. That's great advice for anyone. Wise words for everyone. Empty nest syndrome is coming. Wish I could be there to hug ya.

  44. Image for Roz Roz

    So beautifully written, KariAnne, that I am forwarding your post for all my "MOM" friends who have children graduating this year. Brought tears to my eyes as I remembered just how I felt with each of my two wonderful children as they graduated. May your girls FLY HIGH.....and then NEST next door.

  45. Image for Tammy Tammy

    KariAnne, How exciting for the girls. I got all teary eye reading your post. I remember each time the children started their new adventure. How excited we were for them. How excited they were but afraid too. The calls the first few months being home sick. I was busy when they came home making favorite meals. I love watching them spreading their wings. I enjoyed seeing them become amazing adults. Great times ahead for you all!

  46. Image for Katya Katya

    Love, love, love this!!! I hope you don't mind me using this for my youngest son who is also going to college in the fall. 🙂

  47. Image for Sara Sara

    Your daughters are precious and beautiful. I can tell by reading your post every day that you are level headed and have raised a beautiful family with your husband. Congratulations to your daughters and she’d those tears of joy!

  48. Image for Debbie King Debbie King

    Oh my goodness, this is directly from deep down in your heart. Every point is a beautiful reminder of what to do...with gentle guidance from a beautiful Mom that is close to her daughters. What a treasure this beautiful bond is.

  49. Image for Ronna Ronna

    Beautiful Karianne! These two are near and dear to my heart! I have no doubt they will fly and be successful! You and Denny have prepared them for this moment by being wonderful examples! Your advice is spot on.

  50. Image for Lynn Lynn

    KariAnne - This is beautiful! What a sweet letter to your daughters. My youngest is graduating from college next month and moving back home so they aren’t really gone for a bit! I think I might adapt this concept for my daughter who is getting married this summer! I’m sure your daughters are Amazing! Just like you.

  51. Image for Sheryl Sheryl

    How beautiful! I don't know who is the luckiest, mom or daughters but you couldn't write such beautiful things if there wasn't a wonderful bond both ways 💕

  52. Image for Lynn Mosher Lynn Mosher

    *tears* You did it again. Such a sweet touching letter to your baby girls to start their new lives. Love your precious momma heart. ❤

  53. Image for JC JC

    This is such beautiful pearls of wisdom, KariAnne, for your beautiful girls. There is something about your girls, and the "babies" leaving home that is significantly different. Having lived through a daughter going off to college, it is a new chapter, Mama, and through the tears ( good thing you have that new mascara! ;) ) and the increased prayers, you will cheer them on in great jubilation of their triumphs and lessons learned. You will send them fun care packages and fill their college mailboxes with cutest little stationery. You will think about them, in a day, more times then you can count, and worry that they aren't getting enough sleep, eating right, or feeling sick. You will miss them like crazy, more than words can describe. There will be a new quietness in your home that will be an unwanted adjustment. You will, by habit, anticipate them tumbling down the stairs only to realize that, that will have to wait for a weekend they come home to visit. Part of your heart will ache for the days gone far too quickly, as you realize that a new chapter has started, and the next page has to turn, for the story to continue. The relationship will change just a little bit, but your love for them never does. Even in all those Mama heartstring moments you will let go, and rejoice with them, like never before as you see them succeed all on their very own. You will be filled with just as much pride as the day you showed them to the world as newborn babies. You will cheer for them more than anyone else can, and you will, my friend, never be replaced, because one thing will ALWAYS remain.....you will forever be their Mama and they will forever need you. Hugs, my friend.

  54. Image for Kathy Kathy

    I love this so much! Sending my kids off to college was probably the hardest thing I had to do as a mother. I loved reading all of the comments almost as much as your post. I love how many older fans you have... grandmothers and great grandmothers. One other thing I stressed to my children was to make good choices. So much of happiness is about making the right choices. Your girls are beautiful! Prayers for you, sweet friend!

  55. Image for Kathie Kathie

    We too sent three boys off to college. I never went to college so was living my dreams through them. When I sent them money I told them they could not use it on three things: alcohol, drugs or wild women. I also told them if they ever failed to say 'thank you, mom' when I sent them money, I would not send them any more. One son did this and I have never forgotten it. The best advice for parents? I believe it is to always remember there is something very special in every phase of life, even if it means saying good-bye for a time.

  56. Image for CathyAnn CathyAnn

    Beautifully said advice to live by. I brought tears to my eyes. I remember that exciting time when I was of to college and how it really made me appreciate and miss my family, especially my Mom. All children should have caring parents like you and all parents should be blessed with wonderful children like yours.

  57. Image for Ann Ann

    I have a granddaughter headed to college and I remember so well when her mom left for school. It’s sad and happy all at once. Our daughter is amazing and our granddaughter is, too. We are blessed. You will miss your sweet girls but it will be okay. A mom’s heart feels what her children feel. The only thing I would add to your list is to make Amy Grant’s All I Ever Have To Be their anthem. I love your writing and your heart.

  58. Image for Laura Laura

    What a wonderful gift you are giving your children with this advice. The next chapter - while bittersweet for Mom and Dad - will be the most exciting of their lives thus far. Sounds to me like they are going off with a very solid foundation. How lovely. ❤️

  59. Image for PJ PJ

    Beautiful advice. I told my kids to keep God first in their lives although they're not doing that right now, I still think it's important. I guess it'll be you and Buddy from now on during the day. By the way, will the girls be going to the same school? Hang in there, mom.

  60. Image for Tammy Tammy

    You’re such a talented writer!! What a beautiful letter to your precious girls!! I know they will treasure this for years to come. It’s so nice to see a genuine and sweet relationship between Mom, Dad, and daughters. You’re a blessing to them and although it will be hard to watch them leave in the fall, they are going to be well-equipped and have enough love in their pockets to conquer anything. And that’s exactly what you want!! 😊

  61. Image for Lisa Tutman-Oglesby Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

    Oh, my, KariAnne. I remember the post when you first shared that adorable photo of the girls walking in the country with those blue-jean shorts and straw cowboy hats. You've done a great job, Mama bear. Your twins are lovely and seem so down to earth and they've inherited so much talent from you too. It's been fun to watch them grow up through your photos over the years. You've taught them to be rockstars in their own right and it will serve them well. I'm sure they also cherish your sweet letter/list to them. I wish them both all the luck, success, adventure and fun in the world as they head out into the world for this next great step. I know how you feel too. My oldest will graduate from Duke exactly 11 days from today. Sniffle. sniffle. I'm handing you a virtual tissue. Time flies (and you're wearing it all oh-so well). Gotta feel wonderful about that too. Hugs and friendship and a big congrats to your whole family. -Lisa

  62. Image for Jackie Jackie

    I always enjoy your stories...and this one is beautiful....so lovely written ...with so much love...God bless your daughters as they go off into this crazy world.....

  63. Image for Sharon Sharon

    That was so beautiful. I cried through most of it. All my chicks have flown the nest a long time ago but oh, how I wish I had a family compound that we could all live on in our houses. When my husband passed away two years ago, my son and his wife wanted me to come live with them. I was so touched but God had a plan. He had a condo waiting for me just one condo away from them. I knew it was meant to be the minute I saw it. A little worried that it might be too close for them, I said something to son. He assured me that they wanted me very close. Well, two years later, it has been wonderful. And now my daughter has moved 20 minutes away. (one son in Florida will never leave that state :( ). Family is so important and it is the most beautiful thing when we can have our "chicks" near us. I am sending you lots of hugs in advance, because this is so hard for you but trust in the Lord and you will be amazed at the blessings that will come from your beautiful girls. You are a wonderful mother! Keep reminding then of the house next door!!!

  64. Image for Tee Boone Tee Boone

    Wow, this post made my day! Very inspiring and uplifting to a mom of a new high schooler. I know this will be me someday sooner than later as time has no filter..lol I know your princesses will truly miss the beautiful nest they are leaving as they go off to embrace the world of adulthood. Best of time to you and dad as you both embrace your new chapter of life as well!!

  65. Image for Diane Diane

    Dear Karianne, If every daughter had a mother and father like your's, we would experience joyful and abundant kindness, Hugs from Camano Island, Diney

  66. Image for Renae Renae

    Karianne, This is such a lovely post. It's such a bittersweet time of life when your baby birds really fly for the first time. They will do amazing things because they have been raised by an amazing mama that loves the Lord. Hugs and blessings to you as you navigate this next chapter. There will be some amazing moments that just knock your socks off. Savor each one.

  67. Image for Lynne Lynne

    I remember the chaos, and my chaotic heart, when we first took my youngest to college. A box of her shoes she did not pack well flew out of the back of the truck onto the highway - we had to go shoe shopping when we got there. For the next 36 hours I tried to think of all kinds of things she'd need from a certain store we had not thought about, and just have to go get it for her. My husband told me eventually I was going to have to stop thinking up things she needed from me, reasons to stay a bit longer. Then, after two weeks, she started calling me every evening. Crying, miserable, so homesick and wanting to chuck college and come home. How I found the courage to say no, that she had to stay and at least finish this one semester is beyond me. She stayed for the second semester. The calls, and the tears, were fewer. And for the next 4 years she was that college kid having the time of her life!

  68. Image for Ivory Ivory

    First, let me say, you have two beautiful young ladies. They look just like you. Now your post: It brought tears to my eyes. I read this to my 18 year old son, that will be starting college this fall, too. These words are beautiful, and should be implanted in every young person going off to college. Wow, amazing. Let us pray that they will keep these words in their mind, heart, and use these them if ever needed. May God be with our children as they enter into this BIG world.

  69. Image for Cindy Cindy

    Hi KariAnne, This had me crying and laughing at the same time. Such beautiful girls have the beginning of their young adult lives. They have you and their dad as their biggest cheerleaders. You said many wonderful and important things to them as they embrace the beginning of their next chapter. I was really laughing about the Duct tape. I think that is my dad's motto. Duct tape fixes all. Cindy

  70. Image for MARY-ANN (FROM CANADA!) MARY-ANN (FROM CANADA!)

    Oh! KariAnne! What a beautiful post! Your advice to your precious twins is so touching! You and your dear hubby have done such a wonderful job of raising your children. God has truly blessed you and will continue to bless you! Thanks, so much, for sharing this with us! The pictures of your precious twins are so beautiful! They, too, have been blessed with having such wonderful, Godly parents that have always been there for them to love, help and guide. God bless you all!

  71. Image for Sherry Sherry

    Karianne, this is such a beautiful post! I had tears rolling down my face! My daughter is finishing up her second year in college and I remember like it was yesterday how we were sobbing as we left her behind in that big unfamiliar place. But, they are resilient and will learn to adapt as the parents do adjusting to the emptiness for a while. This is life and your beautiful daughters are going to shine like their beautiful mom!

  72. Image for Stacy Stacy

    This brought tears to my eyes! I have been reading your blog since they were little so I feel a part of your family LOL! Your girls are beautiful and I’m sure they have a heart like their mom! I also wanted to tell you that I am so grateful that you shared the clothes that you have ordered! I am 5’ tall And I lost 80 pounds a few years ago but somehow about 35 lbs creeped back on. I’d love to know how you lost your weight because I need some motivation right now! But I did order the little chambray dress and a blouse from Belk And the cute wide leg pants from Walmart! Thank you for sharing your life!

  73. Image for Kathy Kathy

    I read this the day we were doing a college visit with our son. You’re timing was perfect!!! I’m hoping you don’t mind if I share these wonderful words of wisdom with him. Thank you!

  74. Image for Michele M. Michele M.

    My little sister is going through this too - her 4th child, her last baby to fly off to college - and she is having a million different emotions. Ok and yes, I cried reading this. It won't be easy. Hang in there. And I have strong shoulders if ya need to lean. Hugs of comfort.

  75. Image for Cheryl Cheryl

    I remember how hard it was to let mine go!! And then two nights ago I was writing to my daughter to tell her how much I loved her, crying and hoping I would make it through surgery to see her beautiful face. I did make it and she will too! Love your story!!

  76. Image for Deborah Dench Deborah Dench

    Beautiful sentiment. Sent my boy off to college years ago, Now it's time to send my Grandson. It's never easy, but it is satisfying. Best Wishes!

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