Dear Mama and Daddy, From Your Daughter In College

Dear Mama and Daddy, From Your Daughter In College

They have been there for every cut, bruise, sickness, heartbreak, and failure.
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During my time at college I have realized how truly blessed I am to have had such supportive parents with high expectations. My mom and dad (or mama and daddy as I call them) are my biggest fans, and they have been since I was in the womb.

They have been there for every cut, bruise, sickness, heartbreak, and failure. I could not have done the past 19 years of my life without them. I don't say thank you as much as I should or would like to, I think that is something a lot of us can relate to. I decided to write a letter to help supplement for all the thank yous I haven't said;

Dear Mama and Daddy,

I want to thank you for raising me to be the woman that I am today. I couldn't have achieved anything without you in my life. You have always been there for me, you deserve the world, and I wish I could give it to you. Thank you. Thank you for putting antibiotic cream and band-aids on my various scrapes and cuts throughout the years.

Thank you for putting me in karate, and starting my motivation for being an independent and strong-willed person. I was lucky enough to have parents like you that would push past the stereotypes for children and allow me to be different.

Thank you for putting food on the table and making sure I had a roof over my head. I always took this for granted until I grew older and realized that not everyone's parents think they're obligated to do so. Thank you for being involved in my education! I can't express how thankful I am that you were motivating and you encouraged me to strive for success in anything I did.

Now that I'm older, I realize just how many kids out there have parents who couldn't tell you anything about their child's classes, teachers, or grades. Thank you for telling me I can do it, even when I'm sobbing and saying that I can't. "Can't never could" as my Mama would say.

Thank you for making sure I treated others with respect and knew how to be humble. Thank you so much for teaching me how to appreciate what I have. Thank you for being there when that jerk broke my heart and making sure I knew I was valued and would move on eventually. Thank you for making sure I knew I could do great things in life. Thank you for not giving me limits on my abilities.

I also want to thank you for teaching me how to check and change my oil, so that I can show up the guy who assumed I needed help. Thank you for helping me with college applications. Thank you for answering my multiple questions as I panic 2 hours away. Thank you for still making me feel like your little girl even though I'm married now. But most importantly, thank you for always doing the best that you can.

I know I don't say thank you enough, but I want you to know that it runs through my mind when I'm sitting at my desk looking at my high school graduation pictures, when I'm eating your delicious pumpkin rolls, or when I sit in class and hear about other people's experiences with their parents. There are so many other things I could thank you for, but I hope in your heart, you know all of them.

With love,

Holly Star

Cover Image Credit: Peaches & Honey Photography

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An Open Letter To My Unexpected Best Friend

You came out of nowhere and changed my life for the better.
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“It's so amazing when someone comes to your life and you expect nothing out of it, but suddenly, there right in front of you is everything you ever need."

-Unknown

Dear Unexpected Best Friend,

You were the person I never thought I would speak to and now you are my very best friend. You came out of nowhere and changed my life for the better. I can't thank you enough for everything you have done to shape me into the person I am today. You've taught me what it means to be selfless, caring, patient, and, more importantly, adventurous.

You don't realize how much better my life has become and all because you came out of nowhere. I didn't see you coming. I just saw you on occasion, and now I can't see my life without you in it. It's funny how life works itself out like that. Our unexpected friendship filled a hole in my life that I didn't know existed.

I don't even remember what life was like before you came along; it most likely had a lot less laughter and spontaneity than it does today. I can call you about anything and you would drop whatever you're doing to help me in any situation. You know when I need encouragement. You know when I am at my best and when I am at my worst. You always know exactly what to say.

SEE ALSO: 8 Tiny Lies Every Young Woman Has Told Their Best Friend

I couldn't have found a better friend than you if I tried. We balance each other out in the best way possible. You are most definitely the yin to my yang, and I don't care how cliché that sounds. Because of you, I've learned to stop caring what people think and to do my own thing regardless of any backlash I might receive. You are my very favorite part of what makes me who I am to this day.

It's as if I wished up a best friend, and poof — you appeared right in front of me. I am so beyond blessed to have you and I wouldn't trade the world for all our memories. Thanks for coming out of nowhere.

Love you forever and a day.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Medders

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We All Need An 'In Color' Conversation, While We Still Can

The best way to keep memories is to pass them down.

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I love country music, especially a little older country music that tells a true story. One of my favorite songs from any genre is "In Color" by Jamey Johnson. It's one of the most relatable songs for anyone from any background. As you listen to it you feel the descriptions and the emotions Johnson is trying to get across.

Jamey Johnson - In Color YouTube

The song starts out with a grandkid asking about a picture and if it's his granddad. A simple question that can start a vast conversation and pass down memories of old times. This specific picture causes the grandfather to start speaking on the tough times in the 1930s and life on a cotton farm. For me, I can feel the same way that Johnson felt hearing the memories his grandfather passed down to him because my grandfather has told me the same memories about growing up in the south in the 1930s on a large piece of farmland.

The second verse goes into the grandfather showing a picture of him and his tail gunner Johnny McGee. He gives the information that McGee is a teacher from New Orleans and he had his back throughout the war. Though my granddad has never gone into anything that happened overseas in Korea, he will tell you stories for days about Camp Roberts in California. There's even a large picture of Camp Roberts hanging in his house. It's understandable he won't talk about what happened overseas because some Veterans will just tuck it away and it's how they handle it; however, hearing the tales about his basic training, his time on a boat headed overseas, and seeing pictures in his uniform still mean a lot to me.

My favorite story he talks about is how he was used to running the fields on a farm just outside Phenix City and was used to running in the heat, but the guys from up north(especially Chicago and New York) would drop like flies from the dry California heat.

The third and final verse describes a picture from their wedding. According to the granddad, it was a hot June that year before telling how red the rose was and how blue her eyes were. For most anyone, you will hear about your grandparents' wedding day and possibly see some pictures. My granddad to this day still talks about how blonde my grandmother was back then. It just helps bring my emotions more into the song.

The one thing Johnson does say in the song that most people feel when hearing these stories or looking at black and white pictures is "A pictures worth a thousand words, but you can't see what those shades of gray keep covered, you should have seen it in color." There's a lot of stories I've heard from either my parents or grandparents and wished I could have been there.

The music video for the song is so simple as well yet one of the best music videos I have ever seen. It starts in Black and white with Jamey Johnson sitting on a stool playing an acoustic guitar surrounded by hundreds of black and white pictures. It just brings the entire vibe of the song together. After the second chorus, the video starts to change from black and white to colorized and you see the pictures in their true colors.

The first time I had a true "In Color" conversation my step-granddad on my mom's side who was the only granddad I had known for that side of the family was declining in health. I was 9 or 10 and an in-home nurse had been talking to him about all his life experiences and told me to go in and talk to my Paw Paw about them. I learned about his father died when he was 14 by getting kicked by a mule and about his many years of service in the National Guard. At that time I never realized how major that was but as I look back those are the moments I cherish and I will pass down those memories as well as the numerous times he'd run your feet over with his electric scooter.

In eighth grade, I did a project on my dad's father and pulled out a box of old black and white pictures. These pictures ranged from him as a boy, his great grandfather, his first car, him in his service uniform, on up to him in suits on his business trips for the Columbus mills. I was older then and around the time I cherished learning more about his life and wish I knew where that box was just to have a look again.

A couple years ago around my 21st birthday, I had an "In Color" conversation with my mother about my dad looking through pictures while drinking Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill wine. It had almost been two years since my father's death and though I'd had plenty of conversations about his high school days on the football field playing for ol' Dickie Brown to stealing Mr. Gays Batmobile to getting three licks pretty often. I'd even heard these stories from different friends of his from high school and hearing different sides makes you feel more and more like you were there. As we sat there looking at pictures my mom told my wife Sarina who hadn't heard many of the stories and I knew and old stories about her life and my dad's life till 4 in the morning.

In conclusion, pictures can be passed down from generation to generation but unless you go through and talk about them then you won't pass down the story happening in the pictures. It is especially important just to sit down with a grandparent, a parent, an aunt or uncle, or an elder from your church or community to learn wisdom and about their life. I've had times I'll see an older couple or just an elder sitting alone at a restaurant and will pay for their meal(even if you can tell they have the money it's just a respect thing) or just talk to them. It can usually make their day and make them happy to share about their life with you if they don't have anyone else to. So let's keep the memories alive!

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