To My Family 14 Hours Away, Distance Has Nothing On Us

To My Family 14 Hours Away, Distance Has Nothing On Us

Suddenly, FaceTime has become my best friend.


Moving to Rhode Island from Charleston, South Carolina was an adjustment, to say the least. In the weeks leading up to the big move, relatives and friends were asking me if I had enough warm clothes and enough of my belongings to last until the end of the school year. I was, after all, moving 14 hours away from home, so if I forgot something, it wasn't exactly a short ride to go back and get it. It was odd realizing that for the first time in my life I would be living under a different roof than my family members.

When I first got here, I wasn't able to FaceTime due to how hectic the first few days of school were. Between getting to know my professors, trying to figure out all the various online portals, and rereading syllabus after syllabus, I was a bit overwhelmed. It was a lot.

I finally got the opportunity to talk to my family after a few long days. I missed them and just the sound of their voice made me feel like I was back with them. I wasn't homesick, but I wasn't exactly fully comfortable here in Rhode Island yet either. Everything was so new, and they were really the only things that were familiar so far. I loved the newness of it all, but I was stuck in this weird headspace where I wanted to be with my family but I didn't want to leave school.

There I was, talking to my family for the first time since they'd dropped me off. They were all sitting in their homes, hours away from me in my dorm room. We FaceTimed almost every day that first week. Somehow, as this routine continued, they started to feel closer to me and less far away. Physically, multiple states separated me from my parents and little brother. But mentally, I felt closer to them somehow. It was strange. As weeks progressed, our FaceTiming became less frequent, but I found that when we did talk, it was for an hour or two, catching each other up on what we'd missed.

My brother is starting for my old high school football team. My mom started two new jobs. My dad drove to Michigan for my cousin's wedding. It is crazy. They're all there, living their life, and here I am, living mine. We are all still connected, even though I am so far from home.

FaceTime has become a two-to-three times a week thing. I get the scores of the local football game from my parents and videos of my little brother on the field. He sends me Snapchats every morning at 6:30 when he starts his day. My mom texts me funny things that happen to her and pictures of my dogs. My dad sends me selfies. Seeing their names on my phone is great, especially because I know that without them, I wouldn't be at a school like this. My family made me independent. They pushed me to go to the school of my dreams, even if it isn't close to them geographically.

I love it here. I have made more genuine friends than I thought possible. I have gotten involved with unique organizations that I am so passionate about. I have explored this state with new people and gone adventuring with my roommate. I am happy. And I get to have my family with me, every step of the way, even if they do live 14 hours away.

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The Thank You My Dad Deserves

While our moms are always the heroes, our dads deserve some credit, too.

Dear Dad,

You’ve gone a really long time without being thanked. I'm not talking about thanks for things like opening the Gatorade bottle I couldn't or checking my tires when my car’s maintenance light is flashing, but rather the thanks I owe you for shaping me into the person I am today.

Thank you for teaching me what I deserve and for not letting me settle for anything less.

While the whole world was telling me I wasn’t good enough, you were there to tell me I was. Whether this was with boys, a friend, or anything else, you always built my confidence to a place I couldn’t build it to on my own. You showed me what my great qualities were and helped me feel unique. But most of all, you never let me settle for anything less than what I deserved, even when I wanted to. Without you, I wouldn’t be nearly as ambitious, outgoing or strong.

Thank you for giving me someone to make proud.

It’s hard to work hard when it’s just for myself, but so easy when it’s for you. All through school, nothing made me happier than getting a good grade back because I knew I got to come home and tell you. With everything I do, you give me a purpose.

SEE ALSO: 20 Things You Say When Calling Your Dad On The Phone

Thank you for showing me what selflessness looks like.

You are the prime example of what putting your family first looks like. If me wanting something means that you can’t get what you want, you’ll always sacrifice. From wearing the same t-shirts you’ve had since I was in elementary school so I could buy the new clothes I wanted, to not going out with your friends so you could come to my shows, you never made a decision without your family at the forefront of your mind. If there is one quality you have that I look up to you for the most, it’s your ability to completely put your needs aside and focus entirely on the wants of others.

Thank you for being the voice in the back of my head that shows me wrong from right.

Even though many of your dad-isms like “always wear a seatbelt” easily get old, whenever I’m in a situation and can’t decide if what I’m doing is right or wrong, I always can hear you in the back of my head pointing me in the right direction. While I may not boost your ego often enough by telling you you’re always right, you are.

Thank you for being real with me when nobody else will.

Being your child hasn’t always been full of happiness and encouragement, but that’s what makes you such an integral part of my life. Rather than sugarcoating things and always telling me I was the perfect child, you called me out when I was wrong. But what separates you from other dads is that instead of just knocking me down, you helped me improve. You helped me figure out my faults and stood by me every step of the way as I worked to fix them.

Most of all, thank you for showing me what a great man looks like.

I know that marriage may seem very far down the road, but I just want you to know that whoever the guy I marry is, I know he’ll be right because I have an amazing guy to compare him to. I know you’re not perfect (nobody is), but you’ve raised me in a such a way that I couldn’t imagine my kids being raised any differently. Finding a guy with your heart, drive, and generosity will be tough, but I know it will be worth it.

Dad, you’re more than just my parent, but my best friend. You’re there for me like nobody else is and I couldn’t imagine being where I am now without you.

Love you forever,

Your little girl

Cover Image Credit: Caity Callan

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