The world looms large and scary, ready to trip up new adults at every turn. Below is my advice for a graduate written in letter form to my eldest niece, Number One.
Dear Number One,
As you head out into the great beyond, the urge to shelter you overwhelms me. However, the world does not work that way. No matter the rigors of life, we each have to explore on our own. I can only be a listener, a counselor, and an encourager.
Not everyone will have your good heart, your brilliant mind, or your kind soul. People exist who will lie, cheat, or hurt you. While you must guard against people with poor intentions, don’t let them win as the majority of humankind is not this way. Most harbor decent intentions and noble hearts. You only have to watch out for the few bad apples whenever they cross your path.
Frequently, humanity feels self-conscious. We hold doubts and vulnerabilities which we seek to hide from those around us. We present the proper façade, which isn’t really necessary but sometimes makes us feel safe.
Remember, you will never need a front with your family. We stand in your corner, on the ropes cheering, as you venture out into the world. Nothing you can do will make us love you any less. We would all wade into traffic if it would protect you.
During your first Christmas, we watched everything you did with baited breath, whether you played with blocks or ate potato chips. Your every activity enthralled us. You grew into an inquisitive toddler, a cautious child, and an introspective adult. We watched you be the first from the children to experience life.
As your cheerleaders, we will be there for you no matter what. We brim with pride whether or not you pass physics, whether that relationship works out, if you get a job or not, or even if you get arrested (just kidding, but seriously). No matter where you live, what you do, or who you’re with, you will always be our kid. And that is enough.
So, as you embark on a new chapter at college, my advice for a graduate is as follows: know that we’re here applauding your every move and wishing you the best life possible with hearts that love you to the moon and back. We couldn’t be prouder.