As You Leave for College, Did I Remember to Tell You This?

Did I remember to tell you…

It’s easy to get impatient when tea is steeping, but you’ll be glad you waited the full four minutes.

Never skimp on moisturizer, laundry detergent, or shoes.

There’s a difference between bad people and people who make bad decisions. Treat them accordingly.

As my daughter is about to leave home, did I remember to tell her everything? (Twenty20 @marianna.ok)

Eighteen years seemed like such a long time

Forgive me if you’ve heard all of this before. But, you see, our time is growing short, and I’m afraid of what I’ve forgotten to tell you. Eighteen years seemed like a luxuriously long—and, sometimes, endless—stretch of time when you were a toddler, and then not a toddler. Now, we’re nearing the days when you’ll pack your bags and take the next steps into adulthood. At first, you’ll come back regularly, and then less so. There’s so much I’m afraid I haven’t said.

Did I show you how to get a grease stain out of your favorite shirt?

I’m certain that I’ve never taught you to darn a hole in your socks or clothes. Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned that “darn” means something other than a substitute for “damn.”

I can’t recall if I ever taught you how to choose a ripe melon or use a meat thermometer. I’ve never been able to master hard-boiled eggs, so you’re going to have to figure that one out on your own. Truth be told, there’s still so much I haven’t figured out. But I think you know that by now.

Did I ever tell you how grateful I am for you?

Do you remember that time when I was still weak from my sixth round of chemo, and I really didn’t want to go for my seventh? I was trying not to let you see me cry. Then, you stood in the middle of the kitchen and, like a sideline cheerleader, started chanting, “Let’s go, Mom! Give me a C! Give me an H! Give me an E! . . .” until I laughed so hard that I forgot how afraid and tired and in pain I was. You were 10. I never told you I’m still grateful for that moment.

I know I said otherwise, but now that you’re an adult, I’ll let you in on something: Flossing is overrated. And so is kale.

It’s okay to drive slower than everyone else but move to the right lane when doing so. And don’t get agitated that they seem to be going faster than you are. You’re going to get to the same place on your own schedule.

Keep moving your body. It has to last you a lifetime. But, when you’re tired, it’s important to rest.

I don’t think I ever told you about the first person who broke my heart, or how I thought I’d never get over it. Or that the betrayal was at the hands of my best friend and not my boyfriend.

It won’t feel like it, but you can get through the most unimaginable and excruciating experiences. You are stronger than you realize. And you are loved beyond measure.

Don’t drink caffeine after 1 p.m., even if you think it’s fine. You’ll regret it when you’re staring at the clock at 2 a.m.

Don’t live your life for anyone else. And ignore advice that doesn’t work for you—even if it’s mine.

I love you, but did I tell you that I like you too

I know I’ve told you countless times how much I love you. But did you know that I really like you, too? You’re funny and smart. You care about the important things. If I wasn’t your mother, I would choose you as my friend.

Did I tell you about flossing? Oh, good.

Sometimes, when I think about you leaving, I feel like the sadness is going to swallow me.

Sometimes, when I think about you leaving, I’m so excited about your new beginnings—and mine—that the possibilities make me dizzy.

Sometimes, when I think about you leaving, I exhale. Your father and I did our job. You’re ready.

Did I tell you that you’re ready? You’re going to doubt it at times, but you are. You are more than ready, whether I told you or not.

I love you.

You’re ready. Go and find the life that’s waiting for you.

Gwen Moran is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in/on Fast Company, Fortune, Woman’s Day, Family Circle, and many others. She lives and works at the Jersey shore. Follow her on Twitter.

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