We’re all stepping off into a brand new season of life. Leaving two kids behind in the USA isn’t easy, and I understand that. But please know that while you’re busy spending these last few months cramming us full of all the knowledge that we need to know for the rest of our lives… there are things we want you to know too.
1: I’m not leaving forever.
It’s easy to feel like that, with all the talk about colleges and apartments, careers and “emergency numbers”. All the talk about keeping in contact across the ocean and how often we have to visit for paperwork.
But trust me. This country is as much a part of my DNA as my soul. I will come back.
2: I love you more than I have words to say.
… or the courage to say them.
These teen years have been rocky. I know there have been times that all you wanted for Christmas was a time machine, to go back to the days when we were kids. Before the teen drama and the thoughts of saying goodbye. Before the fights and sibling rivalry.
There have been so many times I preferred to stick in my ear buds and ignore the world – including you. There have been so many times I chose to bite my tongue rather than express how much I love you. Why? Maybe because it wasn’t cool. Or maybe because I couldn’t say it without tearing up, and we know how much you hate crying.
3: You’re doing the right thing, letting me go.
I know it hurts. I know that every time you come upon an old family photo or a forgotten box of mementos, you’re going to cry. You’re going to wonder if any of this was worth it.
Mom, Dad, you brought a little baby girl into this world. You helped me walk my first steps and taught me to sound out my first letters. Now it’s time to trust that you did a good job. It’s time to watch your baby girl spread your wings and fly a little bit.
4: I’m going to make mistakes.
Don’t freak out the day our FaceTime starts with “So, something happened…”
On second thought, freak out. You’re my parents, you wouldn’t be you if you didn’t.
There are going to be mistakes. Big ones. Little ones. I’m already freaked out about becoming a failure and having to come back home with my tail between my legs. Please don’t make it worse.
You raised a good kid.
Besides, if I didn’t make mistakes what stories could I tell?
5: Decisions will be made – with or without your approval.
You have probably noticed it over the last few years already. A growing child makes decisions on their own – and these days, it’s not the decision to wear that plaid shirt with the polka-dot skirt.
Now it’s the decision of where I’m going to live.
Where I’ll go to church.
What brand of freaking deodorant I wear.
I know you want to have an input on all of this, but remember. You raised a daughter with a good head on her shoulders. Do you really want me coming to you with every life decision, even after I’m well over thirty?
Let it go, Mom, let it go.
6: I judge people based on what I learned from you.
Remember all those times you told me the qualities of a “good guy”? How you always said any potential boyfriend had to go through you first?
Yeah, still not dating yet, but the rule stands.
Don’t just assume that the moment I am out from under your roof, I will be sleeping around and getting drunk at late-night parties. I said it before, and I’ll say it again. You raised a good kid. Just trust me.
I can tell when a guy’s just trying to get inside my pants.
I can tell when someone’s treating me like less than I deserve.
I can judge other people’s character because I watched you do it. Under your roof, I learned what love really is. I learned what it isn’t.
And I won’t be settling for anything less than the real deal.
7: Thank you.
I didn’t always appreciate you, all these years.
I never had the words to say how much I love you. But because of you, I am the person that I am today. And your work isn’t going to fly out the window the moment I become an auto-sufficient adult.
I love you.
Life is scary – on both sides of this brand new adventure.
But we’re all gonna be okay.
Rebekah DeVall is a missionary kid, blogger and indie author of five short stories and novellas. Generally introverted, she’s drawn to gory books and TV shows that aren’t scared to talk about death – and Marvel, though their deaths are less than permanent these days.