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 on my baby girls 21st Birthday!

TWENTY ONE YEARS OLD! How did that even happen? WHEN did it happen? Seems like just yesterday we were celebrating your high school graduation and I was coming to terms with the fact that you were LEAVING. Now THIS! If it wasn’t for the fact that you were so responsible and mature, I don’t think my heart could handle it. Lucky for me, you are. 

I clearly remember sitting at my desk writing my words for your brothers when they turned 21. Of course, it was all about laying low on the drinking (last week’s headaches proved they didn’t listen), cautioning them on the dangers of strip clubs (gross), telling them to trust their gut and run when things seemed “shady”, and reminding them that the great freedom they had just stumbled upon came with enormous amounts of responsibility (not sure any of that sank in). None of that seems appropriate for you, though. On the contrary, my words for you are the complete opposite. 

For you, I have the following: 

• Let loose every now and then. It is not only acceptable, but encouraged, to have a RESPONSIBLE night out on the town. In this day and age there are no excuses for drinking and driving. CALL AN UBER. I will even pay for it. But promise me you will have a night filled with “vodka and regret” sometime soon. (And take pics, post on snapchat, and facetime me throughout the night as often as you can. I can even join you if you want, just sayin’). 
*And for those of you shocked that I am encouraging my daughter to have a night out, mind your business! You clearly do not know me or my kid.*

• Make time for Family – Stay connected to your brothers as much as possible. Yes, they’re annoying but they will become less so as the years go on. Promise.

• Don’t let one person become who you live for- if you do, make sure that one person is YOU. Learn to love yourself as unconditionally as you will love the children you will one day have. There is no feeling quite like it. This I can assure you of. 

• Don’t over analyze your thoughts or anyone else’s. No one’s opinion of you matters that much, not even mine. Trust your gut as often as possible but feel free to ignore it every now and then, too. There is no ONE decision that will ruin your life forever. I am living proof of this.

• Find your passion and stick to it. Doesn’t matter what it is. If you love it, it’s ALWAYS the right thing to do. Having lots of money may make paying the bills a lot easier to do but it won’t help getting out of bed each and every day any better. Do what you love, everything else will work itself out.

• You are not defined by your job title, relationship status, or bank account. You are your experiences.

• Gain those experiences by Travel. Go to as many magical places as you can but learn to appreciate coming home just as much.

• Write your feelings down. Any time I feel overwhelmed or confused, I write. Somehow it all makes sense on paper. (A little surpise on this topic is on its way to you now.)

• Be grateful for at least one thing every morning- you’ll be surprised how much this can set you up to have a beautiful day. And then write about that, too.. (see how this is all tying together..)

• Never assume, always ask questions- even the ones that make you feel uncomfortable; those are the ones that will teach you the most.

• Hold on to people that bring you love & joy, and once these people no longer do, know that it’s okay to let them go.

• Never be afraid to come to me with any of your problems and I promise to always listen and never judge- all I ask is that you do the same for others, me included.

• Listen to your mother. I speak from experience. Not because I have followed all of the advice I have given but because I WISH I had. 

• And most importantly, even when you can’t understand how or why, believe me when I tell you that life will always go on… and I will always be right there if you need me. 

Oh, my love, you have reached those wonderfully selfish years; the ones filled with so much adventure and curiosity. Embrace each and every moment of it. Even the ones that turn out to be mistakes of colossal proportions. I promise you, with every fiber of my being, that I will ALWAYS be right there beside you; cheering you on, picking you up, and reminding you how truly loved you are. 

Have an AMAZING day, my baby! Mommy loves you to the moon and back. Always have. Always will.

Words of Wisdom for my (then) 16 Year Old Daughter

Where did the years go? It seems like just yesterday your dad and I were waiting to meet you; Anxious to know what you looked like, whose eyes you would have… We had so many questions.

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Now here we are,  you’re 16!… In two short years you’ll be packing your bags for college, work, or wherever God has you going next. You’ll be voting and driving. Thinking about adult topics like careers and marriage.

But before that happens, I’d like to pass …on a few thoughts:

1. Don’t Neglect Your Most Important Relationship

I’m not talking about your relationship with me, or your relationship with your dad. Not even the relationship you’ll have with your future husband. I’m talking about your relationship with God. Always make time for Him.
Life won’t be perfect, but with HIM you will have all the wisdom, assurance, and comfort you need.

2. Try Your Best and Don’t Worry About the Rest.

You do not have to be perfect. None of us are perfect. You just continue putting out the effort and Trust God for the results.

3. Education Doesn’t End at 18 {or 22}

I know this isn’t what you want to hear, but learning is a lifelong process. I’m WAY older than you and I still learn something new every day. Whatever you do, don’t ever stop learning.. about the little things and about yourself.

4. Risky Business is OK {Within Reason}

Risks. I know you hate them. I don’t think it’s so much the risk that is scary but the fear of failure. Most people are wrong about failure, though. Failure is not bad. It is merely a chance to learn from our mistakes (see point #3).

5. You  Are a “Masterpiece”.

I love that word. You are God’s masterpiece…a beautiful work of art. Treasured by me and by your dad and everyone who knows and loves you.
I know you have exciting times ahead! Life is never boring when you live it with your whole heart….
Love you to the moon and back!