Friday Letter to My Kids – May 2018.
Dear J, J, L and L,
Surprise! I don’t have an actual bucket list.
Hopes and dreams, definitely. Mostly the sort left unspoken. Something about saying a wish out loud takes away its power, I suppose. Call me superstitious, or weird.
There has been this one very strong desire. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been much I personally could do to make that happen. That’s an ongoing theme in my life. But in this case the wish, the dream, the desire, was truly out of my control. All I could do was watch, for the most part.
Of Seeds and Seedlings
I planted a few seeds here and there and waited to see what would happen. I did what was in my power to help those seeds grow, watering, weeding, a bit of fertilizer.
From when you were little, I let you know that I thought going to college and getting a degree was really, really, really important. As you got older, and as life unfolded the raggedy, unpredictable way life does, the importance of a college education became even clearer and stronger in my mind. Without nagging, I hope, I reminded you from time to time how critical that was.
Implicit in that was that you’d get decent grades in high school and graduate. I celebrated those high school graduations with pride and tears.
Just a A Few Years Later… In the Eternal Scheme of Things
And now, nineteen years after the first of you graduated from high school, all four of you have Bachelor’s Degrees.
That one sentence doesn’t say enough. It makes it sound magical and simple, which I know it wasn’t. Those degrees you’ve earned have arrived after tears, and heartache, sweat, late nights, all-nighters, dozens of different occupations, roommates, spouses, children, worry, debt, stops, starts, u-turns, illnesses, battles, winding roads, weddings, a divorce, unexpected detours, and plenty of life’s storms. Each one of you pushed through whatever obstacles came your way and you kept trying, kept working, kept keeping on.
I’ll bet you never knew you were making one of my dreams come true.
The degree isn’t simply for me to brag about, or for you to have some piece of paper to hang on the wall. The college degree has always been about the doors it can open for you, the opportunities it can make available and the freedom it can potentially provide. It can save you from a lifetime of back-breaking physical work. It can give you peace of mind and a fallback position. That’s what I really wanted for you. Now that you have those degrees, your own dreams are more within reach.
This is the Part Where Words Fall Short
I’m so happy for each of you, and so incredibly proud of you.
Now my only dream for you is that you find happiness and joy in whatever lies ahead. I’m pretty sure you’ll do just fine.
All my love,
“Life is a one time offer, use it well.”