As You Leave Home, I’m Gifting You This Empty Box

I am gifting you this empty box. Well, it’s not exactly empty. There is something in it. One word. Bear with me as I explain….I’ve been trying to come up with a meaningful gift for your graduation that will serve you on your new adventures in college.

Barring the beautiful monogrammed money clips, watches, cuff links (not sure you even know what they are), new computer (you’ll end up getting one anyway for school) I fell short of ideas. Nothing was getting my point across. Nothing felt meaningful. The ideas I kept coming up with were all “things” and eventually things lose their value. I’m pretty certain that with your fortitude, you will always never be lacking for material “things.”

So, I lie awake at night thinking about you leaving for college. Did I teach you all the proper skills, social graces? Do you have the confidence? Did I speak to you openly enough about falling in and out of love. How it might hurt, how it can be beautiful and confusing all at the same time. Work ethic?  Finances? Your character and how not to compromise it? I lie in bed awake….just thinking.

That’s when it hit me…what I wanted to give you. And I’m not sure I provided enough of this for you in your 18 years at home.

Here’s my gift….FREEDOM.

I am giving my son the gift of freedom. (Twenty20 @ninaidea)

I have one wish for you for the next four years. At first it might sound silly to your 18 year-old ears, but as  you begin to experience life on your own, it will start to seem less silly and more important. One word, my baby. One word.


The Freedom I Want for My Son as He Leaves Home

But, not the kind of freedom you might be thinking about, not freedom from rules and family and adult responsibilities. I can’t give you freedom from those. You’ll need to find the right balance of those types of obligations.

The freedom I’m talking about is an inside job.

Freedom from worry, from judgements. Freedom from fear. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from expectations. Freedom from your inner voice that nags at you. Freedom from negative thoughts which will lead to the kind of freedom we all strive for. Freedom to be exactly who YOU want to be.

Freedom to breathe your own air without weight attached to it. Freedom to figure out who you really are. Freedom to experience life colored in the exact colors you want to use. Freedom to roam. Freedom to feel. To love. To hurt. To heal. To grow. To have fun. To laugh as loud as you want or cry as hard as you want or dance as crazy as want. Just pure inner Freedom.

It’s not as easy as it sounds. Trust your mama. I’m still working  on my own personal freedom. That’s why I want you to start now. Start your freedom journey so in the end, you land exactly where YOU want to be. Freedom to trust your inner voice. Freedom to ask for help when you need it. Freedom to stay at home when you need a little quiet time. Freedom. My child. That’s all I want for you.

When I look at you now I already see your bravery, calm, strength and humility. Now start flying towards that freedom road. I told you…I’ll always be waiting exactly where and when you need me. Always. No judgements. My sweet and kind son with a soul that has no boundaries. Choose your friends wisely. Be good to yourself first and foremost. If you put your needs first you will have the space and strength to give away some of your goodness.

This empty box…I want you to fill it with your version of freedom.

No gift I could buy you in a store can quite add up to the value of what I wish for you. The life you want is out there for you to create. Take your time. Make mistakes. Mistakes are awesome lessons. They will help you grow and create true character. Don’t’ let missteps get you down. Sit in the mistakes for a bit. Then…find the inner freedom to fix whatever needs fixing.

Perfection is boring. Actually, it doesn’t exist. Write your own story. Maybe one day you’ll let me read some of the unscripted pages.

Until then…fly freely.

I love you.

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Dana Schneider is a mom of 3, with her first leaving for college recently. She is flooded with emotions and always writing and thinking. She loves to write. She loves to share her thoughts and to speak truths. She is a decorator and CBD entrepreneur. You can follow her on Instagram @danaschneiderdecor.

About Dana Schneider

Deanna Schroder is a veteran Human Resources professional with over 25 years’ of experience with helping people clarify their issues and discover their own solutions. Her positivity and sense of humor keeps her sane while supporting a wide range of employees and raising her beautiful 19-year-old daughter on her own.

Read more posts by Dana

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