June, ah June. The month of Pride, weddings, and High School graduations.  I, like many of you, have a child graduating from High School this month, and with her permission, I’ve decided to share my letter for her as she graduates.  Maybe it will inspire you to write your own…

My Dear, Precious Child,

God, where do I even start? Since the moment that I found out I was pregnant with you, I knew you were destined for greatness. As I felt you move within me, I felt you growing stronger- and my prayer from that time on has been for you to only continue growing in strength, and I’ve delighted in seeing you do just that, from birth until this day.

Now that you’re completing a big chapter in your life, I want you to know a few things. You may think some of what I’m going to say is a little cheesy- but hey – I’m your mother, and it’s my job to tell you all of the cheesy, make-your-roll-your-eyes stuff!

You are stronger than you think

I touched on your strength in the opening, but let me tell you something:  You are a force to be reckoned with!  You have an inner strength that I’ve always been in awe of- seriously.  From the day you turned around and walked into pre-school without looking back, to the times you came and stayed with me when I was going through chemo, you amazed and continue to amaze me.  Sometimes you underestimate how much inner strength you have, but from now on, you’ll have to tap into it- on the regular- to get through each day, be it in college, or in any part of your life.  Think of that strength as a little fire burning deep inside of you.  Just when you think you can’t see it will be the time to dig deep and blow that f*#^ker up!  NEVER let that fire go out.

You are filled with Kindness and Compassion

But the world is NOT!  Don’t let that stop you from spreading your kindness like wildfire, though.  And DO NOT ever let anyone confuse your kindness with weakness.  Too often, people will try to take advantage of someone because of their kindness and generosity- always be mindful of that. Because those will be some of the times when you’ll need to blow that little flame of strength up, in order to move forward and out of those types of situations. But always remember to move forward in grace- never in anger. Kindness and compassion will ALWAYS trump anger and manipulation-ALWAYS.

You are Beautiful and Intelligent

Yeah, sure, every parent says that their kid is beautiful and smart…but you-YOU-are so awesome- and I’m not just saying that because I’m your mother. Beauty and intelligence mean much more than being pretty and getting good grades.  Of course, you have outer beauty, hey- you look like me, lol- but what truly makes you beautiful is your inner spirit.  It makes me so damn proud to see the young adult you’re becoming, and to see that inner beauty just flow from your being (insert eye roll).  That beauty is only amplified by your intelligence- and again- you have the grades- but you also have the gifts of right judgment, perseverance, fortitude, and the ability to look at what you want and to go after it.  Those are such gifts- hold on to them, because you’ll always use them.

You are Talented

Our hope as parents is for our children to grow and become BETTER than we are.  If our children stayed at the same level, then what would we prove? How would the world move forward?  Well, sigh, I think we did a good job with you, because not only are you my greatest creation, as I always tell you, but you have already surpassed my secret dreams of you becoming a musician- and a better one than I was at your age.  You have been told since day one that you can be anything you want, no matter what that is, and right away your musical talent came through.  As a small child, you had NO fear when it came to performing, and as you grew you became a little more timid, but the talent still grew- and that’s what matters, my love.  You- the queen of audition anxiety- auditioned for college, and KILLED IT!  You were accepted to the music school at your college, and it was because of your hard work and talent.  Now is the time for you to blossom, and let that talent loose on the world!  But let me warn you- a life in the Arts is a tough road to travel- so you’ll need to find the special balance of strength, kindness, intelligence and talent to succeed. See how everything works together for your highest good???

You are going places, my dear…great places.  But first, let’s get you off to college!  I love you, I am so proud of you, and I know that you are going to thrive in college.  I will cry when we drop you off (insert second eye roll)- but it will be tears of joy and pride- because you are an incredible young woman, and nothing makes me happier than to see my child reach this point in her life, where now, YOU take the reins and make your life the best life you can have.  We’ll be with you all the way, for your whole life- but only to look on in pride, and help out when you need it. We’re not worried- and neither should you be.  You go- and write the next chapters confidently!

Jennifer Angarano Ricci is a wife, mother & creative soul-searcher.  She is a musician, artist, and baker, and runs her home business Baked By Jen, in addition to running her local community theater group.  She loves to sing, create and help others and tries to connect all three passions whenever possible.

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