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Dearest Senior:: On Graduation Day

Dearest SeniorMy Dearest #1,

I wrote you a letter on the first day of your senior year of high school, sharing my emotions, thoughts, and wishes for you. I wanted you to know how I was feeling but I was also trying to prepare myself for what was to come at the end of the school year. Well, here we are 9 months later, and the day has arrived. It’s Graduation Day! You, my darling son, are graduating today.

I find myself feeling so naïve and laughing at the fact that I actually thought I was going to be ok today. (Knowing what an emotional person I am on a daily basis, I’m sure you’re finding the humor in that statement as well.) All year I have envisioned this day, and I honestly thought I had prepared myself. I’ve been keeping myself busy with the list of things that needed to be done for today to happen. I made sure your GPA stayed up, I signed you up and tutored you for the ACT and SAT until your scores were high enough, that deadlines were met for college applications, and senior dues paid. After you had got accepted to your college of choice, I began teaching you how to budget for college and helped you fill out all the required paperwork. Your siblings and I have been working on a special gift for you, I’ve ordered graduation announcements, designed a memory page for your yearbook, and attended multiple senior banquets. I’ve been so excited to have all our family come to celebrate your accomplishments and lavish you with gifts, advice, and words of wisdom. But today I have come to the end of that ridiculously long list. The last thing to check off is the graduation ceremony. That’s it. And I have found that the reality of what is happening has hit me like a freight train and I realize that I was in no way shape or form prepared for its impact. The ugly crying has begun, and I apologize in advance for it possibly continuing until you leave for college in August.

Dearest Senior:Graduation Day

#1 at his Pre-K Graduation

In my first letter, I said that the thought of you turning 18, “almost knocks the breath out of me.” Oh, how wrong I was. You turned 18 last month. The reality of this milestone has literally knocked the breath out of me. I’m still in denial that my chubby cheeked little boy is now an adult! You are now responsible for your own destiny. What you choose to do with your life, is now completely up to you. You are entering a new phase of adulthood, and I am entering a new phase of motherhood. I am no longer the one who will be nagging you, holding your hand and navigating you through life. Now, I will be here to advise you when you ask, to encourage and support you, to believe in you and to love you. The rest is up to you. I know it’s scary and overwhelming for you, but please know it is for me too.

I said it best in my previous letter:

“Don’t get me wrong, I am so excited for your future and for this next phase of life you are moving into. I truly cannot wait to see where your life journey takes you. However, I also feel an enormous amount of sadness. My baby boy, my firstborn, is going to be out of the house, on his own, without me. I have no doubt that you will be perfectly fine taking care of yourself, it’s me that will have a hard time trying to figure out this new phase of parenting. Not being in control of anything in your life. Having to step back and hope with every ounce of my being that everything I taught you and the man I helped shape, will go out into the world and remember all of the values and tools I raised you with. It’s not going to be easy.”

I am still slightly panicked about whether I covered all of the bases and told you all of the things I wanted you to know and also hoping that you actually listened.

Just in case, here are a few reminders:

Always wear clean underwear. You never know what could happen.

Your body can’t survive on pizza and caffeine. Eat some veggies.

Separate white clothes and dark clothes when doing laundry.

Call your mama.

Use protection. I do NOT want to be a grandmother anytime in the near future.

Floss your teeth.

Wash your sheets at least once a month.

Call your mama.

Take responsibility for your actions. “I’m sorry” are two of the most important words you can say.

Always trust your gut.

Don’t bite your fingernails.

Call your mama.

Celebrate diversity. It’s a beautiful thing.

Read a book every now and then. Your brain will thank you.

Never give up on something you really want. Ever.

Call your mama.

Be kind.

It’s ok to make mistakes, just don’t make them life changing ones. (NO babies!)

Decide what to be and go be it.

Call your mama.

There are lots of things in my life that I should have or could have done differently, but the one thing I would never change is having the privilege to be your mama.

I hope you know that I will always be here for you, that I am so proud of you and that I love you the most,



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