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Challenge: Back to School 2020

A Graduation Letter to My Children: Dream Big

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There are dirty dishes in the sink. Toys are strewn around the living room. My 2-year-old is screaming at me for a snack. My 6-month-old is reaching up for me with his tiny outstretched fingers. Mom-guilt twists my stomach as I realize I need to make a grocery run. I also need to vacuum the floors. We're out of yogurt and dog hair sticks to the drool covered palms of my infant. Across the room is my 3-year-old. He's watching yet another episode of Sesame Street. "It's educational," I remind myself as guilt bubbles up again. Scrolling through Instagram, I daydream about the spaces mothers have beautifully redesigned into homeschool classrooms for their children. I feel like sobbing as I look back at my toddler. He's enthralled with a screen reciting numbers with The Count. I don't fee like a good mom. I feel like I'm being selfish.

My infant is now in my lap as I try to remember how to format in-text citations. He enthusiastically pounds his little fists on the keyboard. I'm in graduate school, and I have an assignment due. This is the last semester before graduation, and I'm on the homestretch. "You aren't irreparably damaging their tiny minds," I try to reassure myself. There's that guilt again.

As parents, we are in uncharted waters doing the best we can to survive. Doing good enough is good enough. We don't have to be perfect. It's impossible.

School is important to me, and I hope one day my children will understand. I matter too. My dreams matter too.


On my children's birthdays, I write them a letter. I can't wait for them to read them when they get older. They are letters filled with my hopes and dreams for them, anecdotes about their personalities and things about them that make me proud.

As my graduation day approaches, I decided to write a different kind of letter, to mark a different kind of milestone. When they see me in a cap and gown, they won't understand the work that went into earning the academic regalia. But they will see my smile. One day, when they are older, we'll look at the photos and they'll say, "Mommy, you looked really happy." And then I'll read them this letter.

Dear my little dreamers,

You can do anything you dream. Whether you want to touch the moon, dive to the deepest depths of the seas, solve unsolvable problems or shatter glass ceilings, your dreams are valid and you should pursue them with everything you are. And when you get to the moon, when you reach the bottom of the sea, when you solve that problem or shatter that ceiling, I will cheer with all my might. My megaphone is loud and booming and my pride for you knows no bounds. I am your biggest cheerleader, and my love for you and your dreams is immeasurable.

Mommy has dreams too, and I'm so happy you have been on this journey with me. I want to make you proud. I know there have been bad days - days you thought I was too busy to tuck you in, too tired to read you one more story, too many days of pizza nights and hours of screen time. But my little dreamers, I want you to know that I am always here. I believe in you, and I'm thankful you have believed in me.

Dreams are important, and the goals we set are ladders to greatness. I want to show you that nothing is impossible. I want you to see that our fears are obstacles to overcome, and that no obstacle is too great. I want you to know how much I love you.

I am a dreamer, and if there is nothing else you learn from me, I want it to be this:

I believe in you, and you are dreamers too. Dream big, my little dreamers. You may fall, but that's okay. Everyone falls. You may fall a hundred times, but there will be a time I promise you'll fly, and when you spread your wings and soar, it will be worth it. That is my dream for you.

There will be challenges in life, but you are strong and capable. The world is yours to discover, and your dreams, like my love, should be big and vast and endless.



Dream Big:


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