Claire and her class are reading Hamlet in their AP Lit class. Her teacher wrote all of the parents a letter asking us to write letters to our children with advice we would like to give them as they get ready to leave high school behind and head off to wherever life takes them…as Hamlet’s father did when he told him “Neither a borrower or a lender be.”
I thrive on these kinds of assignments. I love them. I adore them. Here was my advice to Claire.
To my sweet, baby girl,
This year. This last year of you at home is bittersweet for me, and I think you as well. I think we’re both trying hard to hold onto the sweet and forget the bitter. I spent too much time focusing on the bittersweetness of Zach’s senior year, and Lucas’s senior year was just filled with sadness. I don’t either of those emotions to be the focal point with you. I am thankful for those two years and the emotions they brought because your brothers, and the experience of those two years, were a huge gift when they left for school. Your brothers taught me that I’m not losing anything because you are leaving our house and growing up. They showed me, instead, to see what I’m gaining. I’m gaining three self-confident young adults who may leave the nest, but always know where home is. So with you, I get another gift. I get to focus on the sweetness of you and the excitement of your awaiting adventure.
With all of that, my first piece of advice to you as you prepare to spread your wings and SOAR is to…
Hold onto the sweet. Focus on it. Live it. Love it. The sweet parts of life get you through the bitter. There will be bitter parts of life. There always are. Bitterness inevitable. And scary. And heartbreaking. But the sweet…well, that’s optimism epitomized.
I wrote another letter for you, long ago. You asked me write a paragraph for an AP psych project describing your personality. In that letter, I said you were Determined Sunshine. And you are. You are determined to succeed, achieve and fly with the best of the best. You set the bar high for yourself, and I couldn’t be more proud of you as you get ready to leave our nest.
And this brings me to my second piece of advice…
Your determination to succeed can also be your downfall. Make sure to temper it with fun, love and laughter. Do the work, make the grades, but make sure your sunshine always lights your face from within. Don’t let the determination to succeed control your path. Let your sunshine lead you to a path where your heart and your head are one. You are determined sunshine. Remember that. Always.
So my darling, baby girl…let’s keep focusing on the sweet as you prepare for the next chapter. It’s the best way to live life.