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Aug 17

To Jessica – on leaving for college

There are so many things I hope I taught you over the years. So many lessons I meant to make sure you learned. I wonder, looking back, if I did enough. Did I tell you everything I meant to?

In the end, I don’t want to make you a list of helpful advice. You don’t need it. You never did. From the very beginning, you’ve had a unique ability to advocate for yourself, to stand up for what you need, and to do it in a way that makes it clear that you will get what you need. I’m flashing back to tiny Jessie who screamed herself to sleep every night, the baby who decided she was done nursing at eleven months. The girl who was going to go to GSA, who was going to get the Nelson Fellowship, and captain of mock trial. You’ve always known what you needed, and you’ve never stepped back from throwing yourself completely into achieving the goal. What you’ve always needed was what you already have – the ability to think clearly, to step back and give yourself grace, and then to pull it together and get it done.

But what I want you to know – always and without question, is that I simply adore you. I respect you more than anyone else, and am in awe of your kindness, your empathy, your dedication, your humor. There isn’t anything that could ever change how much your dad and I love you. We want you to live your life, to be bold and brave, and make the choices that work best for you. You know what you want, and you know how to achieve it. Even when it seems cloudy and uncertain – know that if you step back, take a breath and give it a minute (or longer), you’ll figure it out.

I want you to try new things, to make bold choices, and to push out of your comfort zone. But know what makes you happy, know what you need, and make sure that you get that. I know that you’ll take care of everyone around you, but remember to take a little time to take care of yourself. Remember that ice cream and naps fixes headaches, a good book should never be more than an arm’s reach away, and that we always, always want you to call us. Remember that life is short, take a minute to put it into perspective and know that you don’t have to make it any harder on yourself than necessary.

I am going to miss you terribly, but I also am so incredibly happy to see you out in the world. Watching you experience the world has always been one of my favorite things. From watching you try solid foods, to going down the big waterslide, taking the commuter rail for the first time, or applying to colleges – I’ve loved every single second of being your mother, and expect to enjoy this next stage just as much.

The only thing that’s bigger than how much I’ll miss you is how much I love you, and how incredibly proud I am of you.

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