Dear Mom and Dad,
Everyone is congratulating me for graduating high school, but it’s you who should be getting balloons and cards. I wouldn’t have made it to this point without your love, dedication, and occasional screams of frustration. Let’s be honest: I probably wouldn’t even wake up every morning without you yelling at me to get my butt out of bed OR ELSE.
Yep, I better make some major life adjustments before college or I’m screwed.
I know you’ll miss me as much as I’ll miss you. At least your water bill will be much lower without my hour-long showers -- but then again, any money you save on the water bill will just go towards my tuition (feeling the Bern yet?). If I forget to call, I’m sorry. You are the most important people in my life, and I’ll try to remember that when I’m intoxicated with first-semester freedom. If I do really stupid stuff, I’ll make sure it doesn’t show up on Facebook. I’ll probably stress you out at least once or twice over the next four years by switching my major to peace studies or art history, but don’t worry. I’ll switch it back.
We don’t see eye-to-eye on everything (and by “everything” I mean rap music), and no, you still haven’t convinced me that seven agonizing years of orchestra were necessary for the development of a decidedly unmusical person. But you’ve turned out to be right about pretty much everything else ever, so I’ll take your word for it.
I used to get angry at you for not being perfect, but now I know that this is exactly what makes you amazing. If you were incapable of doing wrong, parenting would be easy for you. But you are humans. Like the rest of humanity, you are constantly attacked with fear, doubt, worry, and confusion. And you have been selfless enough to hide that from me. You have put my interests before your own for the last seventeen years and counting.
I hope someday I can raise my own children as bravely and selflessly as you have raised me, but if I fail, at least they will have amazing grandparents to fall back on.
I am especially grateful that you taught me not only to love and honor God from a young age, but also to reasonably support my faith. We all reach a point where we must stop believing things because our parents tell us they are true, and start believing them because we are convinced of them ourselves. You gave me the tools I needed to do that.
I can never repay you for all of this. But you can be proud of who I’ve become. I know what is right and good and true, and I know that it is my duty to fight for those things. Everything you’ve poured into me is the fuel that will allow me to spread light over the darkness of this big, bad world.
Dad, Mom, thank you for everything. Thank you for the worry and schedules and budgeting that went into the opportunities I took for granted. Thank you for sticking to the rules you made even when I pushed back against them. Thank you for the 5-hour Calculus lessons that I didn’t appreciate at the time. Thank you for sheltering me from evil until I was ready to fight it. Thank you for the family writing contests, daily home-cooked meals, weekly hour-long drive to church, and everything else that has made being your daughter a privilege.
Can I make up for seventeen years of not saying “thank you” enough by repeating it over and over again now? Thank you, thank you, thank you!
I love you both so much.