Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Letter to My Sisters on Their Graduation Day

Dear Sisters Singer and Swimmer on Your Graduation Day,

Today, you graduate high school.

Something many have done before you, and many will do after, though that doesn't make it any less exciting. 
Or scary.

This is the ending of the only life you've ever known - a life filled with parents helping to make sure you get fed, get to school on time, and have money to pay for the things you need; and the beginning of a life you're about to start - a life where you are in control of every little detail of your daily existence from the food you put in your mouth to the people you choose to keep company with.

I can't even believe we're here - watching you walk in cap and gowns.
(One because it feels like just yesterday you were in diapers, and two because it is a painful reminder of exactly how many years ago I was sitting in the same graduation get-up saying goodbye to high school.)
I remember when you were babies.
I would hold you both, and pretend you were my little babies.
I especially loved once you were toddlers and I could convince you to call me Mommy every once in a while, sufficiently freaking out people in public who saw three-year-olds calling a nine-year-old "Mommy".

But I wasn't your Mother,
I was your sister and I took great pride in that role.
I have loved helping you get ready for dances, dates and big events.
Listening to you talk about boys,
and vent about the kind of fights every teenage girl gets in with their friends.
It has been a joy watching you grow up.

{At Sisters Singer and Swimmer's 8th Grade Graduation}

I remember spending hours wondering what you'd both be like when you grew up.
What would you look like?
What kinds of interests would you have?
What would you end up making your careers out of?

Well you're both more beautiful than I ever could have imagined,
and your interests couldn't be different from one another (but for a shared love for Disney, that is).
But you've both completely found your passions.
And that?
Is something to be grateful for - some people are triple your age and still don't know what they love.

I'm so proud of you both, you've turned into such wonderful young women with a future full of so many options.

I have loved watching you sing, act, and improv your ass off on the stage the past four years.
Yes, I bitched and bitched when the shows would sell out and I'd be left sitting on a folding chair, and I gave your team crap for not not being more prepared.
But that has not once hindered the amount of joy I felt in my heart watching you in the spot you feel most comfortable: the stage.

You are so determined it's crazy.
I feel like you could become the President of The United States if you really wanted to,
because when you put your mind to something, you never give up.
I love how you thrive on being part of a team, part of a group.
It's sweet and something that some people suck at - you are truly a team player at heart.
I cannot believe my sister is an athlete.
So unlike me, and so freakin' cool.
I know you will acheive eveything and anything you decide to go for in college,
I just can't wait to see what that will be.

I guess with my six year lead in life, I should have some kind of advice for you?

Don't worry if you don't feel like a grown up yet.
I still don't.
Sure, I pay some bills, and oh yeah - I got married, but I'm still waiting for the day when I all of the sudden feel like like I should really be trusted to run my own life.
You'll get there (hell, maybe before I do), and when you do, I want to be watching.

Stay inspired.
Never stop doing what you love.
And if what you love now becomes what you used to love, find something new to inspire you.
Never stop singing, doodling, or finding creativity in the monotony that can be adult life.

Never lose touch with your high school friends.
Hold on to them like they are a piece of you, because you know what?  They are.
And I promise, promise you, there will be times when the only thing you have in common with them is your shared history.
But that is enough.
Because the people who saw you through high school, who allowed you to grow up without letting you grow apart, are the people you want surrounding you.

Love your family.
If you don't already know it, there will come a day that you realize how insanely lucky you are to have a family that's not absent, insane, or (at least not completely) dysfunctional.
Things are not always perfect, but you have a family that loves you and supports you in whatever you choose to do - which not everyone does.

Truly try not to care what other people think.
If your goal is to please everyone, you will never ever succeed.
Focus on yourself, and making you happy - that will be most important to the people who really matter to you anyway.

Love with your whole entire heart.
Love someone so much it hurts.
Be prepared for heartache, but don't let it deter you from the feeling of being on clouds when you love someone like you should.
Don't get bitter - just get better.

Listen to people when they are mad at you, they tell you your flaws.
You can let it destroy you, or you can let it rebuild you.
Choose the latter.

It's never too late to start over.
A friendship, a relationship, a career, college.
If you want something, go for it - even if it means going back and repaving the road you already built for yourself.

Above all else,
know that I will always be there for you.
It doesn't matter where you go,
what you do,
who you marry,
what you believe in,
I will always be here,
with my arms open wide,
ready to hold you like I did when you were babies.

Love Your Big Sister,


Blue Dog Belle said...

Awww... this is so sweet. Congratulations girls and good luck with whatever you do next!!

Annabelle said...

This one of the most heartfelt graduation posts that I have ever read! Your sisters are so lucky to have a great sister like you! Best of luck to all of you~!

bailey j said...

all very wise words. a lovely letter. i hope they print and save this and carry it with them. the advice will all come into play and probably quicker than they anticipate. congrats to your sisters!

Ashley V. said...

This is the sweetest thing ever! My little cousins are so grown up and I can't believe it. I remember when they were that little. Tell them congrats for me :)

Robbie K said...

I cannot begin to tell you how much I love this. Such great advice to your little sister and ya'll are so beautiful!! I especially love the advice about hanging on to high school friends b/c nearly 25 years later they are the ones who have continued to get me thru so many of life's challenges.

Shell said...

What a beautiful letter!

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