A letter to my oldest as he heads off to Middle School….
I know that in the history of the world, moving up to Middle School isn’t a huge deal. And I don’t know if it’s because these last 15 months have aged us all, but you seem way older to me these days. I see it in the quiet way you clutch your device and begrudgingly answer my daily onslaught of questions. I see it in the side-eye you flippantly toss at your younger siblings when they annoy you. I see it in the morning when you ask me to carefully coif your hair. I see YOU. So, before it’s too late and you don’t see ME anymore, I just want to remind you of a few things.
May you have auspiciousness and causes of success.
May you have the confidence to always do your best.
What does that mean? For the love of God, please work hard and do your best. As long as you’re doing your best, that’s good enough for me. I don’t care about a crap grade if you can prove to me that you tried. That counts for everything. I’ve had the privilege of watching/teaching you for parts of 4th and 5th grade here at home. And with you, it was an actual privilege. Your diligence and desire to learn are what every teacher dreams of. You listen, you follow directions, and you dig deep. So when you eventually get that bad grade, don’t be too hard on yourself. If you want, you can even blame it on the fact that your mom was your teacher for a while.
May it take no effort in your being generous.
Sharing what you can, nothing more, nothing less.
And this? What do I mean by this?? What are the two things I yell out the window to you every morning at drop-off??? Learn some stuff and BE KIND! For crying out loud, please BE KIND. If you are nothing else in this world, BE KIND. You’re entering what can only be described as the awkward stages of life. Middle School can be cruel. Kids are cruel. There’s an old adage. “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.” I call mega bull on this one. Words may not physically hurt somebody but they have the power to break a persons heart. Don’t let that somebody be you.
May you know the meaning of the word happiness.
May you always lead from the beating in your chest.
Are you happy? How often do I ask you that?? Do you know why I always ask that??? Because your happiness is my happiness. You, my love, are worthy of happiness. One lesson I’ve learned along the way is that to find your happiness you need to follow your gut. Do what you you know is right and everything else will eventually fall into place. Fair warning though, doing the right thing isn’t always easy. And knowing exactly what the right thing is can seem impossible at times. Just try to do one right thing at a time. The worst thing you can do is nothing. Please. Show. Integrity.
And may the best of your todays be the worst of your tomorrows.
May the road less paved be the road that you follow.
A favorite quote of mine is, “Some days are diamonds and some days are rocks.” (Tom Petty) And I know you think you’ve had bad days, but I’m here to be your buzz kill. Things can always be worse. It’s how you carry yourself through those tough times that speaks volumes about your character. Hold your head up high. Be true to yourself. Be brave.
Here’s to the hearts that you’re gonna break.
Here’s to the lives that you’re gonna change.
Here’s to the infinite possible ways to love you.
Let’s talk about the company you keep for a moment. Your friends. The ones you will think are way smarter than me. The ones you will spend most of your time with. The ones you will laugh with. The ones who will pick you up when you fall. The people you surround yourself with are often a reflection of who you are. So please pick wisely.
Here’s to the good times we’re gonna have.
May you really own it each moment to the next.
But you know what I want most for you, baby boy? Have some fun. For the love of all that is holy, kick off your shoes and let loose sometimes. You have proven yourself as my child that plays it safe and colors within the lines. You are the child that will refuse ice cream because you already had a helping earlier in the day. Your self control astounds me. It’s okay to be careful and pay attention, just make sure that you leave room to enjoy each moment for what it is. Live for today and let tomorrow come later.
I want you to have it all.
Love you to the moon and back,