My Words of Wisdom as Klari Graduates from College (Hook ‘Em)

Well, baby, here we are. College graduation. I’m sure it comes as no big surprise that I’ve got a few things to say. And because you know how I’m wired on the inside, you also know i’m a bundle of emotions, so bear with me.

Now I know you’re happiest when you’re not the focus of, well, anything. I totally understand why you feel that way. You and I are different. While I am totally fine with showcasing my craziness, you are not.. I get it, I really do. And that’s why I’ve always tried to respect your request to stay under the radar. Until today. Today a momma’s gotta do what a momma’s gotta do. I have very few occasions left to share all this unused wisdom rolling around in my head so I have to take them when they come…

Now there are dozens of things I could talk about here and it’s been a challenge to think of just the right way to explain what I’m feeling as a mom, watching you teeter between the start of your true adult life but still being my baby- because, like it or not- you always will be.

I could talk about all the pride I feel about everything you’ve accomplished academically you’re entire life. Like registering yourself for college courses every summer since the 8th grade. (Who does that?) But I won’t. That would be too predictable and a little too braggy and you’d kill me in my sleep if I did that publicly. 🤪 (like how I did that)

I could share how beautiful it’s been to watch you strike out on your semi-own and live and thrive and manage your time and money and your life and relationships with ease.. But I’m not.

I could tell you how proud I am of all the ways you’ve inspired me with your no nonsense attitude and the crazy amount of self discipline you have, But I’m not gonna go there either.

There’ll be no long, drawn-out soliloquy about how I just don’t know where all the time has gone. Or how it seems like just yesterday you took your first steps or how I cried and you didn’t when I dropped you off at every first day of school until you could drive yourself.. then I just cried at home. ..Nope! I’m not going anywhere near any of that.

And I’m also not interested in talking about the grades on your transcript or your plans after this because that’s your story to tell.

What I’m most focused on at this very moment is who you’ve become since you started this journey, what you’re walking away with on the inside. That’s what’s filling up my heart today and what I really really want you to know. It’s what’s giving me the greatest sense of pride.

To me, it’s all about your willing and ableness to discover your best self. How you’ve learned how to engage with all the people around you and still find your own unique place in this crazy world. It’s about the leaps of faith and risks you took by experimenting with things like majors and friendships and politics and social justice; and the pivots you made when you knew a direction didn’t feel right. It’s how you found that great big voice I knew was in there, how you learned to speak up for injustice and political awareness; even though our views weren’t always the same. Those are the big takeaways as far as I’m concerned and the reasons why I know you’re ready for what comes next. The journey you have been on these past 18 years hasn’t always been easy. On the contrary, it’s been stranger than any of us could have ever even imagined. You started it right before a hurricane was to make landfall and ended it in the middle of a pandemic. To call you, all of you,resilient would be an understatement of gigantic proportions. And yet somehow, in a world that often overwhelmed even the strongest of people, you dug down deep and found a fortitude that kept you moving forward.

So, as you get ready to walk the walk all I really want to do here is say thank you. Just thank you. Thanks for taking all these chances on yourself and believing that the sky is definitely the limit. Thank you for being willing to fall and fail and screw it all up before you got it right. Thank you for doing exactly what any parent hopes their kid does with this experience and letting me watch, even if it was from a distance. Now go do all the same stuff for the rest of your life.I love you to the 🌙moon 🌙 and 🌎back🌎.

Mom

Words of Wisdom as Klari begins her 3rd Yr as a Longhorn!

My klari left to begin her junior year in college the other day. As you can see by my “other day” comment she left with no fanfare, no major production, no one even shed a tear – not even me. She just packed up her car and left while I was at work with a promise to call when she got there. Reality is that she’s got this.. If anyone should be giving/getting advice here it’s her to me but my opportunity to share my famous (only to me) Words of Wisdom are just too important (again, only to me) to pass up so I will not let that happen… no way, not on my watch.

Therefore, in my usual fashion, here are my (not so famous but I mean every word of it) Words of Wisdom for the Klare Bear as she embarks upon her 3rd year as a Longhorn, living in Austin (near 6th street) while she’s only months away from turning 21.😬❤️❤️

So here goes:

1. It’s the beginning of the end.

I don’t mean to place pressure, but it is, sort of, the beginning of the end so you kinda sorta have to figure out what you want to do with your life. And when I say “kinda sorta”– I mean it. You don’t have to know EXACTLY what you want to do FOREVER but it’s time to start having some serious conversations about it. And while you know I am always here to talk I also know how “judgey” you accuse me of being, so I get it if you choose someone else to talk to. As long as you are talking it out, I don’t care with who. I mean, the fact that I spent 16 hours in labor giving you life isn’t that big of a deal and I will only cry for a little while…

If you do choose to talk to someone who isn’t me but instead with someone who seems to have it all together and has every day planned out from here to eternity; I totally get it. But keep one thing in mind; that doesn’t have to be you. (Actually, I hope it isn’t.) There are very few people that actually know EXACLTY what they want to do with the REST OF THEIR LIVES – and I mean VERY FEW – so don’t panic. You still have time. And trust me when I tell you that you are not alone in this. LOTS of people in your situation are right there with you so don’t be scared or even disappointed but instead try something just a little bit crazy, something out of the box. Remember what I tell you; finding out what you don’t want is never a waste of time as it only brings you one step closer to figuring out what you DO want.

2. Sh$t’s about to get REAL.

Your courses are only going to get harder but also, a lot more interesting….but harder. So start that work earlier, stay ahead of the game and you will be so much better off and a lot less stressed. This is the year that you will probably start seeing a lot more writing and research of concepts, which means there is probably no wrong answer. BUT, this type of work will require you to actually dig deep into, not your brain, but your soul. And you, my baby, have one of the purest souls I know. Use it. Write about your visions and your interpretations. This is UT for goodness sake; use some of that weird stuff they so openly embrace and pour everything you have into it. I assure you; you will not go wrong with this approach. And if you do, you call your mama and I will go talk to that professor and show him how wrong he/she is! Unless he’s the hot one in which case, just nod and agree.. By this point, your professors have one job, aside from teaching the topic, of course, but mainly it’s to weed out the ones who can’t hang. And while I think you can totally hang, I suggest staying on top of things as much as you can.. I mean, why take chances? Unless of course, matty is on campus in which case you drop everything and run to find him. I really do not need to elaborate any further on this one.

3. The whole world does not rest on your shoulders.

There will be days it feels like it does but trust me when I tell you it does not. You are responsible for being your best you, that’s it. Study, try and learn something cool, and have fun. Everything will eventually fall into place, It always does… and that plastic surgeon route is ALWAYS an option (zero pressure on my end – though I did give you life and sacrificed A LOT of purses to make sure you had the latest and greatest laptop and everything else you needed.. just sayin’).

4. Don’t forget that your life isn’t confined to school.

Use this year to discover what you love. Not just academically or professionally but personally too… In a few months you will be turning 21 and a whole other world is going to open up (did someone say Vegas?). So if hanging out in your apt in sweatpants is more enjoyable than actually GOING OUT then you keep hanging in them.. But do, at least TRY to go outside of your comfort zone a few times this year and find out what it really is that you find joy in doing.. you never know, it might be something you never even saw coming.

Bottom line; you have already completed TWO WHOLE YEARS! And while this one might be a little different, it’s also going to be one of the greatest! Make the most of it. Learn from the mistakes, recalibrate when necessary, and move on. One foot in front of the other.. just like I taught you.

You’re going to get through it and, no matter what you do, it’s actually really hard to screw up your life COMPLETELY. I do believe I am living proof of this.

At the end of the day, mom and dad could not be more proud of you. You keep doing you… in whatever makes you happy – even ugly sweatpants.

Love you to the moon and back, my love! And Hook em’!

👨‍🎓Words of Wisdom as Dylan becomes a College Graduate

While it would probably be enough to just say “good luck” and “We love you,’ that’s not all there is to say- Not by a long shot- so before you cross that tassel over to the other side here goes:

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First, Congratulations!

Ignore my (moms) crying and the zillion pictures I’ll be making you take. In fact, forget everyone and everything and make this moment about nothing other than you. Accept every hug and kiss from the grandmas. Take your victory lap. Jump in that river. This is one of those “big moments” we told you about. Soak in every second of it.

Keep moving.

Take your moment then move on. Now is the first time, but certainly not the last one, that you’ll learn that life just keeps moving. Hold your head up high, keep looking straight ahead, then take that next step. The truth is that we all worry about what’s supposed to come next. Everyday heroes put one foot in front of the other and just do it. You can too.

Take care of yourself.

Take care of yourself, your stuff, and especially, those you love. A good life is yours for the taking; just remember everything and everyone will need a little of your attention every now and then. Don’t ever get so busy making a living that you forget to have a life.

Hold your fire.

People, things, and even circumstances may be fully deserving of the full power of your fire. Hold it when you can. Count to ten, go for a drive, take a walk…Do whatever you have to do to find a peaceful but workable solution. The world needs more lovers, not fighters.

We’ve ALWAYS got your back.

You are never alone in this world. You’re lucky to have a safety net knit tightly of good friends and family who are all ready to be there when you need them. Let that love carry you in weak moments. And when you get a chance, do the same for someone else.

Dream big.

And I mean really, really big, but also live every day with a spirit of wonder and brave resolve too. A lot of adulthood is not so much an exciting new road but a familiar, well-worn path. Marvel at the simple joys and brace yourself for the sad, scary things that can, and will, pop up along the way. Have faith in yourself and in God and, I promise, everything will fall into place. Eventually.

Be there.

Celebrate others successes and ease the burden of their failures. Make them laugh and sit with them when they are sad. Go to boring parties, lame weddings, and uncomfortable dinner parties because someone asked you to be there for them. You’ll be amazed at the joy you’ll find from doing the thing you really didn’t want to do.

Love is all you need.

You will have a lot of choices to make the next few days, months, and years. It can all seem a little overwhelming. Let The Beatles provide a little clarity in the chaos: “all you need is love”. If you have it, give it. Plain and simple. Then you won’t just have a blessed life, you will be a blessing to others as well.

You look so handsome.

Seriously. Yes, I know I’m biased but I’m your mother and I’m allowed to be.

You have no idea what it’s like to watch someone grow up before your eyes but I hope you get that privilege.

We are so unbelievably proud of the young man you have become inside and out. And you look great in that cap and gown too. Like for real: you are rocking it.

We love you.
Truly, honestly, deeply. This day. Every day. Forever. Take that knowledge with you into a brave new world.

The best is yet to come, my baby. Keep shooting for those stars.

Love, Mom and Dad

P.S.  I finally get to scratch off #6 from my To Do List! YAY ME!

Words of Wisdom for my RETURNING College Freshman

These two crazies are headed back to school for their second semester away… I wish you loads of fun, amazing success, and leave you both with an abundance of love… and, of course, my Words of Wisdom (the ones you all thought I was done with). 😊🤷🏼‍♀️
So here goes… IMG_0031

Be open to new people.

I can hardly count how many incredible people I met throughout my first year away (like your dad/uncle and others who are to remain nameless) But I never would have met them if I thought the same way I did when I first got there. I wasn’t very keen on talking to people I didn’t really know or who liked different things than I did, who had different plans on the weekends, or who majored in subjects I didn’t understand. Whatever you do, DON’T BE THIS WAY. You’ll miss out on some pretty outstanding individuals. And our lives would have been ENTIRELY different if I had.

Don’t try to be someone you’re not.

This is something we’ve all heard before, but I can’t stress it enough. Figure out who YOU are first, and then be THAT. Introduce yourself as much as possible. It may feel awkward and you may scare them off, but who knows! You could introduce yourself to your new best friend or someone taking the same terrible astronomy class as you.

Don’t feel pressured.

Now I know I say to try new things, but feeling pressured to do something you’re completely uncomfortable with is a whole different ball game. If you don’t want to drink at a party, don’t drink. Carry around a Solo cup full of orange juice. If you want to study or go to sleep instead of staying up to watch 8 episodes of Catfish, go study. You can always do what you want, and anybody that has a problem with that can shove it.

Include people.

Nobody wants to be that person left out of weekend plans or a Starbucks run, so send out invites like UPS sends packages to our door. Knock on doors, talk to people in the bathroom, check your common room – the more the merrier! You’ll meet more people this way and you might just make someone’s day.
 

Do as much as possible.

Before you know it (and trust me on this one) you’ll be a senior applying to jobs, and you’ll realize you never got to try that one cool taco place or that you never checked out that history museum 5 blocks away, literally, or you never went to that bar that had Trivia Tuesdays. Do it now, experience it, and invite your friends. The last thing you want to say after you graduate is, “I never got to try that cool taco place.”
 

Sit and take it in.

This one might sound weird, but the moments I cherish most from freshman year are the ones that I stopped, looked around, and remembered to appreciate every element. Like one night, when your dad/uncle Donny and Donald “fun, lots of fun” and my roommate all took off to the valley at the last minute and had a great night out (ok, scratch that- that was very unsafe and a bad idea)- but you get the idea. That one moment will always stay with me. Be sure to take in the ones that will stay with you.
 
And most importantly, Stop being embarrassed when your family calls or comes over. We just love you a lot – show us some love back. I promise, It won’t hurt. And when you’re all grown up and visiting your own children – you’ll understand how we feel.