A Letter to My Daughter—A Class of 2020 Graduate

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To my high school graduate,

Here we are, nearing the end of your senior year. 

This is not how I imagined this year for you. It’s not even close to what I’d hoped it would be. I know you have watched class after class of seniors celebrate, make memories and launch into adulthood together. You waited for your turn to do the same. You looked forward to so muchyour senior trip, your final sport season, your last high school band concert, your last musical, your last competition. You had planned for The Long Good-Bye of your senior year. You had prepared yourself for that difficult yet exciting season. 

Instead, you got the contents of your locked, bagged and labeled, left for you between the doors of the school. That was Your Abrupt Good-Bye. No one had prepared you for that.

When you started kindergarten, we carefully chose your backpack, labeled your indoor shoes and lunch kit and laid out your outfit for the First Day of School picture. When I tucked you in that night before the big day, I felt all the feels. I was so proud of you; you grew and learned so much already in your short five years of life. I was excited for you and scared for me. How was I going to fill those hours while you were away?  I was so sad that my baby was a school kid already. But I was also ready to see you own this adventure. I felt all of those things and so much more.

Each year as you grew, I marveled at how you approached challenges and how you were so brave, even when things were so hard. I was so proud of your success and with you in the heartbreaks of growing and trying and trying again. I tried my best to walk alongside you, without overshadowing you or standing in your way. More than anything, I wanted you to see how strong, capable, and magnificent you were. 

As I look at this heap of disappointment and uncertainty that is your senior year, I want you to know how strong, capable and magnificent you are. Even in the disappointment. Even in the uncertainty. Even in the sadness. Even in your grief. You, my dear one, are still so stunning.

I know it’s hard to see a way past all that was supposed to be. I know you are struggling to find the words to express the grief that weighs on you every single day. I can see you find moments of joy and hope. But I also see the deep sadness that has settled in your chest. I feel it in the deep sighs you exhale, unintentionally, throughout the day.

And, baby, it’s okay.

It’s okay to grieve and to feel let down. It’s okay to rage and cry and sigh. It’s okay if you’re unable to decide what you’re going to have for breakfast, let alone what your major will be in college next year. It’s okay. Give yourself time to breathe. To sigh. To feel.

You don’t need to have a five-year plan, just now. A five-minute plan is okay. Or no plan at all is good, too. Eventually, the future will make way for itself. It always does. Eventually, you will find your way. You always do. I believe in you. I believe in all of the possibilities within you. I believe in your magnificent soul and your ability to find your way back to yourself, to your dreams and to your hope.

No matter how long it takes you, or where it takes you, I am right here with you. I will be here loving you, believing in you, cheering you on every step of the way. I will walk right beside you. For as long as you need me.

I believe in you, you magnificent, brilliant, courageous soul.

I believe in you.

 

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