To My Dear Senior,
I can’t believe you will soon be leaving our home and living out on your own. I’m so proud of all you have done to prepare for this exciting time in your life and I have every confidence you will be responsible and successful in all you do!
There is so much I want to say, so many things I want you to remember.
Sometimes I worry I haven’t said enough, taught you enough, loved you enough, but I hope that these years of raising you have given you the skills and wisdom, the support and confidence you need to be the very best you can be.
Five things I want you to know before you graduate
Before you go, I want you to know some things, things I’ve said over and over again but they bear repeating because you need the reminders.
I also need to make sure you understand, so I say them on repeat. There’s no need to roll your eyes and sigh, just take them in, smile politely, and realize that someday you might understand just how much these things matter…
First and foremost, let’s get this one out of the way, shall we? You need to pick up after yourself.
Your roommates will not be taking my place. They will not want to trip over your shoes or do your dishes or clean up your messes. I know you have worked hard on this habit and I’ve seen so much improvement! But you and I both know that you have to be more mindful of the trail you leave behind wherever you go. Yes, my nagging about this is important because maintaining a clean and organized living space is key to your mental and physical health. It makes a difference, I promise.
When your home is in order, you are more capable of living a structured and productive life and you won’t be distracted by the chaos and clutter that surrounds you. When your living conditions are clean and organized, you will feel more at peace and be able to focus better on what’s important to you. Also, when you live with other people, you must respect the space you share, and be considerate of them too.
When you are on your own, you will have the freedom to do anything you want to do. This can be exciting and overwhelming at the same time. Make sure you think through your decisions, weighing them carefully because being impulsive with your choices can be dangerous and destructive. You will have many new experiences to choose from and you will encounter people who might want to persuade you to join them in doing something fun and new. Please pace yourself, and remember that you don’t need to do E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. that is offered to you.
Most importantly, hold onto the principles you value and don’t compromise who you are or what you believe for the sake of others. Be strong and courageous and honor and respect the person you are, no matter what other people think. You always have a right to say “NO” to anyone, about anything, for any reason. Please be careful, be safe, and when you make a mistake (you will- and often), know that’s how you grow to learn more about who you are and how you want to live your life. Poor choices teach us some of the most important life lessons if you let them.
Please take care of yourself.
Taking care of your physical, mental, and emotional needs are essential to staying well. Listen to your body and rest when you feel depleted. Eat as healthy as you can and get enough sleep every night. Exercise and stay hydrated. If you’re not feeling well, don’t push yourself. If you are sick, go to the doctor. These things may not seem important to you, but they are critical to your health and well-being.
It’s not selfish to put yourself first, it’s the very best thing you can do. Let go of the pressure to please others, keep up with others, or compare yourself to others. We are all designed differently. How you manage your life is solely based on your own unique traits, so honor your individuality and focus on how to best take care of you. Your mental health is equally important, so when you are stressed out or sad or struggling in any way, reach out to talk to someone you trust. You know you can ALWAYS call me. I will be here to listen to you, to love you, and to help you with any hard things you are going through.
You will fail, you will fumble, you will fall… It’s what you do with these experiences that matter most.
These are the chances you have to develop better problem-solving skills, practice ways to resolve conflicts and understand the significance of being accountable for your actions. You are still figuring things out on your own and no one gets it all right all the time, so remember whatever mistakes you make can be opportunities to grow and learn.
NO ONE is perfect, EVERYONE messes up. You WILL recover. You WILL be okay. Don’t give up on yourself or spiral down into a pit of defeat and simply stop trying. Face these problems and own up to your choices and find ways to heal and recover and move on. And always remember I love you, and that will never ever change no matter what you do.
Lastly, please check in and let me know how you’re doing.
I know you will be busy with building your own life, distracted by allthenewthings, but I will be back at home wondering and worrying incessantly about you. Not because I don’t believe in you, I do. And not because I don’t think you can make it on your own, I do. And not because I don’t trust you to make good decisions, I do.
It’s because when a huge piece of your heart goes away, you ache for it every single day.
You may leave my home, but you will never leave my heart.
When you go, you will leave me behind, as you should! But my dear child, I will be here, still loving you, still being your mom, still holding you as my own, even when you’re grown and on your own. I’m not sure how I will make it without you. I’ll have to figure that out myself, but could you just please appease me? If you don’t, I will have to get in my car and drive 10 hours to check on you. And well, I’m guessing you don’t want that, now do you?
But if you ever do want that, if you ever do need me, for any reason at all, I would drop everything and do anything to get there. That’s just what mothers do, because you may outgrow me, but honey, I’ll never outgrow you.
This is a contributed post by Christine Carter. She writes at TheMomCafe.com, where she hopes to encourage mothers everywhere through her humor, inspiration, and faith. Her work is published on several various online publications and she is the author of “Help and Hope While You’re Healing: A woman’s guide toward wellness while recovering from injury, surgery, or illness.” and “Follow Jesus: A Christian Teen’s Guide to Navigating the Online World”. Both sold on Amazon.
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