Taylor Kay Phillips, recent college grad and actress/writer/comedian, pens a note from an oh-so-perfect mom to her off-to-college daughter.
Tomorrow we’ll pack up the car, close the door to your childhood bedroom, and say our final goodbyes at the gates of college. And like all mothers, I have a mind full of questions. Have I done enough? Will she be ready? Did I prepare her adequately for the world of challenges that lies before her? But unlike other mothers – I also have an answer. Yes. Yes to all of them. I mean it. No question about it. You’ll be fine because I freaking CRUSHED raising you.
A lot of the moms send these letters as a way to remind their daughters what they’ve taught them – or include anything they’ve left out – a sort of manual to go back to, just in case you have questions. But you don’t need that – I built you to transcend conventional instruction – you are your own GD manual. And this letter is a reminder of its own irrelevance – the same way people get their names put on their Oscar even though they’re going to have a flipping Oscar in their house and everyone’s already going to know its theirs.
Many mothers are worried about freeing their baby bird from their nest – but you are not my bird – you are my expertly designed F54 BlackHawk with precision steering and altitude capabilities that far surpass those of the next best model.
Many parents also ask, at this stage, “have I done enough” – well I have an itemized list of 2548 items in a 3′ black binder that I’ve titled ‘enough’ and I have done every one of them – so I am not asking that question.
They wonder if their child will be all right doing basic real-world tasks like laundry and cooking. Not me! You’ve been sorting your clothes by color and using my patented arms-first folding technique since you started acquiring fine motor skills at the exactly correct age of 40 months. And you’ve been serving up your famous Chicken Francaise since you were the first in your preschool class to understand sharing. I’m telling you – you’re going to be totally fine in college because I completely nailed my part of the deal.
I’ve given you the discipline that comes with learning an instrument without any of the sheltered awkwardness or pent up resentment. You never quit the violin. You never even asked to quit the violin. I made you think the violin was your idea. You love the violin. You are good at the violin but not so good that you didn’t have a social life or make other kids feel threatened.
Speaking of a social life, don’t worry about making friends. I just know anyone who meets you will see the strong, caring, generous heart that I so perfectly curated within you when I meticulously planned play dates with popular every-toddler Karen Harper and block-chewing weirdo Amy Kiley merely two days apart. You are so inclusive, just like I wrote on my ‘motherhood dream board’. And don’t forget that everyone wants to be a part of something just as much as you do – although they’re all definitely going to have a harder time because there’s no way their mothers absolutely dominated child rearing like I did.
There will be times when you come up against obstacles that seem insurmountable – that very little in your life could have prepared you for – and when you do, I always want you to know that you can call me and tell me how uniquely suited you were to handle them because of the self-sufficiency and confidence that I instilled in you from a young age. Between our bedtime hypothetical drills to sending you to a therapist weekly from the day you started your period – there is nothing I haven’t made sure you can handle. Go mom!
Finally, if you only remember one thing from this letter, I hope it’s this. I am so proud of you and everything I have led you to become. You could never never NEVER disappoint me because I have sacrificed literally everything to render you incapable of doing anything that I would not wholeheartedly approve of. You will always be mommy’s little validation of existence. Never forget that. I know I won’t.
I love you,
Taylor Kay Phillips is a writer, actor, comedian, and tutor living in New York City. She always does what her mother tells her, but usually 5 years too late. Follow her on twitter @taykayphillips or hire her as a tutor/college essay advisor at www.tkprep.com. In 10 years, she hopes to be 33.