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Archive for August, 2015

Dear Alex,

2015080495174831 (1)As I spent the day washing and preparing all of your new sheets and other things for your dorm room I could not stop thinking of how familiar this all felt. I gently folded every towel & washcloth, comforter & mattress cover, sheet & pillowcase, while my heart clenched tightly as I thought of you in your dorm making your bed and finding the perfect spot to store the towels. When I packed them all carefully back in the large box I thought of the last time I washed and dried and folded and carefully stored your things… in preparation for your arrival into our world a little more than 18 ½ years ago… that’s when the tears really began to fall.

Al&Me (15)I remember it like it was yesterday! We were so excited to meet you. From the ultrasound, we already knew we were having a girl, so we were already calling you by name. I liked to say that we picked out your name from the Bible, the great city, Alexandria and the Jordan River. Your dad loved to tease me that your middle name was after his favorite basketball player, Michael Jordan (that’s really what he always told everyone, but I know the truth).

AlBaby (4)

Anyway… a couple of months before you arrived I had your room all set up. Your crib and changing table were ready along with other things. I bought special baby detergent to lovingly wash all of your baby clothes and washcloths and hooded towels and soft little blankets. Then they were folded and put away or hung up in the closet. Of course I arranged, then rearranged to try to make things ordered the best way possible. You were our first-born and we wanted everything perfect! I read lots of books on what to expect and tried to soak it all in and learn as much as I could (of course that all went out the window the moment you were placed in my arms, the “manuals” didn’t help with a real, live child).

SCAN0096

Now, here I am again, with an 18 year-old getting ready for college in what seems like a blink of an eye. Looking at your dorm stuff, my mind takes me back to your nursery. I imagine you studying in your room at night & I flash back to the days we read books to you by your bed before goodnight hugs & kisses. I picture you alone, walking the campus & meeting new people & I remember how shy you were, always hiding behind me when someone said hi to you. I think of you on the school soccer field & I remember when I took you to your first practices up the street, while waiting at the picnic tables with your brother & sister (your brother would hit the bushes with a stick for 1 ½ hours while your sister would hold my hands, learning how to walk around the pavilion with her wobbly baby steps).

DSC_0856With all of this nostalgia out of my system, I want you to know that I am very proud of the young woman you have become. You have always been such an amazing gift from God to me, I appreciate you so much… everything you do and the person you are. You always help out around the house and care so much about all of us in the family. Your tender heart and concern for your loved ones is so special. It is what draws people to you. You are intelligent, kind, hard working, and truly beautiful.

There are things I want to tell you, advice I wish people had told me when I was a teen or before I went to college. You are old enough and smart enough to handle it, so here it goes:

  • Don’t get discouraged when you feel like life is unfair and people have things handed to them that you struggle so hard for. Of course, LIFE IS UNFAIR, get used to it! There will always be those people that SEEM to coast by with ease and get everything handed to them on a silver platter, but don’t focus on this because it doesn’t really matter overall. You don’t know what is going on behind their smiling faces anyway. You work hard for everything you have and that’s OK!!! You will appreciate it more and it will teach you the right work ethic to survive in this world.

 

  • Helping others become their best self really helps you become your best self. Whether it’s a roommate or a campus acquaintance or a teammate or a friend, push that other person to greatness! I know this is in direct contradiction to our self-obsessed society, but it is more important than you think. Your legacy starts now! Consistently building people up makes you a better person. Don’t let anyone speak ill of or tear others down around you either, you can always turn it around into something positive! Be that one that always finds something amazing to point out about someone else and make a difference in a life.

 

  • Continue to work hard, your strengths will only get stronger and your weaknesses will improve. Don’t be afraid to ask for help (or prayer, or to call home hehe).

 

  • Learn from others mistakes as well as your own. You don’t want to lose something you can’t get back or live with a regret that you can never change. Use wisdom and caution and think things through. “Adult” mistakes hold a lot more consequences (and sometimes danger) than childish mistakes. Yikes! Remember that!

 

  • Don’t be too hard on yourself. I know you can be a perfectionist sometimes. Everything is not going to be perfect. Sometimes you will make mistakes. Sometimes you will need to ask for help. (See #’s 3 & 4 J) Please don’t be afraid to talk to a close friend or to your parents, who love you more than anyone on this planet. We will always be here for you NO MATTER WHAT!

 

  • Enjoy these last few carefree years with your family and friends before you start a family of your own. Spend time with us too!

 

  • Last but not least, and probably most important, always make time for God. Consult Him with your decision-making. Even if you are extremely tired or super busy, fit talking to Him and reading His words into your schedule. He loves you and knows you like no one else.

DSC_0475SCAN0100Me and Alex

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