A Letter To My Family As I Leave For College

A Letter To My Family As I Leave For College

I love you all so much and I'm going to miss you guys!
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Dear Family,

Last week I left for college and I know everyone is emotional and exhausted. I promise I'll be fine. Thank you for all that you've done for me over the past 17 years of my life. I know that in 17 years we've all fought a lot, cried a lot, and definitely laughed more than anything else. It has been absolute insanity the past few months. Preparing to send me to college (a year earlier than we all expected) has not been easy. I cringe each time I ride by a Walmart because of all the times I have been pulled in against my will while college shopping. But, by the time you read this it will all be over and I will be sitting comfortably in my dorm at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. So, thank you for making me go to Walmart for what seemed like every single day.

Mom, stop crying. It's really not that serious. I'm only two hours and 13 minutes away if I need you (four hours any other time). You're still my bestie and my Homie G. I'm only a phone call away or a FaceTime since you just figured that out. I know that I've been giving you a hard time and you think that I won't miss you, but the truth is I'm not even gone and I already miss all of you. I love you momma, T.G.F.E.

Dad, your boo is finally growing up. You need to stop crying too. You're welcome to come hangout at the G anytime you want to. I'll be here for awhile. Thank you (and Robbie) for all that you've done. It's going to be weird not waking up to waffles with you guys on Saturday mornings. Hopefully the cafeteria waffles will be as good as the ones we make. I love you daddy.

Pops and Grams, I did it! I'm finally here and you're not on a cruise with my college fund! I think I win! I am going to miss you guys so much. Grams, Thursdays will not be the same without our lunch/coffee dates. Maybe you can convince mom to go to Dunkin with you at least once a month, or we can just Skype on Thursdays and drink coffee together. And Poppa, this old "dirl" is finally growing up. I can't imagine what it's going to be like to want a "proper hug" and know that it's four hours away. I guess it'll make it more worth it when I get them on breaks. Oh, and don't worry I will do everything I can to come back for the Chocolate Festival. I love you guys. More. L.U.T.M.


Granna and Granddaddy, I'm finally out of here! Thank you for all that you've done for me over the years. Especially dealing with my craziness. We all know that I am the grandchild that's "not right". Make sure you keep in touch with daddy so you'll know when he is coming to see me...send blue grits and vegetable soup. I love you guys!


To my aunts- Aunt Debbie, Aunt Kim, and Aunt Wendy (aka Twan). You guys are some of the coolest people I know. I feel like aunts are the side moms that we get to pick. You all have always been there for me and helped me through some of my hardest times. Aunt Debbie, I will miss our lunch and dinner dates at Annabelle's and we will definitely have to catch up on them when I come back. Aunt Kim, I'll miss being your most annoying and favorite niece ever (you are possibly the most fun person to annoy and I'll have to make up for it when I get back). Twan, I'll miss hanging out with you and always venting to you. You can definitely expect long phone calls while I'm in college because I'll need someone to release the crazy to. I love you all so much.

To my Cousins: Courtney, Jordyn, Alaiyah, and Zach. My little peoples who give the best hugs. Courtney/Courtmiceter, you have always been a big sister to me and I love you so much. You better take care of my babies while I'm gone. Jordyn, my baby girl. You are so special to me and I am going to miss you so so so much. Take care of your mommy for me. Alaiyah, my mini-me. Keep those eyes rolling and stay sweet. I'm so love being able to see what I put our family through when I was little because you are exactly like me when I was your age. And Zach, keep being tough and annoy the crap out of mommy by saying "Go Steelers!" I love you little man. I love each of you and you all better come see me.

All of you have had my back and done everything you possibly could to help me reach the goals I have set for myself. I know that I am going to miss each and everyone of you so very much. You guys mean the world to me and I can't wait to start this new journey knowing I have the best family ever. So, thank you guys for all you have done and will continue to do. I love you all.

Love,

Cas

Cover Image Credit: Wordpress

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To The Parent Who Chose Addiction

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

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When I was younger I resented you, I hated every ounce of you, and I used to question why God would give me a parent like you. Not now. Now I see the beauty and the blessings behind having an addict for a parent. If you're reading this, it isn't meant to hurt you, but rather to thank you.

Thank you for choosing your addiction over me.

Throughout my life, you have always chosen the addiction over my programs, my swim meets or even a simple movie night. You joke about it now or act as if I never questioned if you would wake up the next morning from your pill and alcohol-induced sleep, but I thank you for this. I thank you because I gained a relationship with God. The amount of time I spent praying for you strengthened our relationship in ways I could never explain.

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Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

The amount of hurt and disappointment our family has gone through has brought us closer together. I have a relationship with Nanny and Pop that would never be as strong as it is today if you had been in the picture from day one. That in itself is a blessing.

Thank you for showing me how to love.

From your absence, I have learned how to love unconditionally. I want you to know that even though you weren't here, I love you most of all. No matter the amount of heartbreak, tears, and pain I've felt, you will always be my greatest love.

Thank you for making me strong.

Thank you for leaving and for showing me how to be independent. From you, I have learned that I do not need anyone else to prove to me that I am worthy of being loved. From you, I have learned that life is always hard, but you shouldn't give into the things that make you feel good for a short while, but should search for the real happiness in life.

Most of all, thank you for showing me how to turn my hurt into motivation.

I have learned that the cycle of addiction is not something that will continue into my life. You have hurt me more than anyone, but through that hurt, I have pushed myself to become the best version of myself.

Thank you for choosing the addiction over me because you've made me stronger, wiser, and loving than I ever could've been before.

Cover Image Credit: http://crashingintolove.tumblr.com/post/62246881826/pieffysessanta-tumblr-com

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Sports And Religion

Why are so many athletes religious?

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I recently just made it on to the USC Track and Field team, and it is easily the biggest accomplishment I have ever made in my entire life. I worked so hard to physically and mentally prepare to try out for the team, let alone actually make it. I thank God for allowing me to have the chance to be a part of this team, as well as giving me that physical and mental strength required to do so, and I express this whenever someone congratulates me for making the team or even asks if I made it or not. However, I noticed that when I did this, some of the responses were a bit dismissive when I brought religion into the picture. When I said I thank God for it, I would be met with responses like "Yea well even aside from God..." or another response that drew the conversation away from my faith, away from the concept of a god.

In fact, I've noticed that many athletes are religious in some form-- more so collectively than other student bodies aside from religious groups themselves. I thought about why this may be, aside from the obvious answer such as growing up religious at home, because that does not answer the question; many people grew up in a religious household and are not religious themselves. So, I began to think personally. Why do I thank God for my athletic performance? There's a certain level of uncertainty within every sport. All athletes train their hardest to minimize this level of uncertainty, in order to maximize their chances of success. However, you can only train so hard. To me, no matter how hard you train, there's always some type of level of uncertainty to every level of performance: the chances of you getting injured, the chances of you winning your game or race, the chances of the opponent's performance, etc. This is where I think God intervenes, and perhaps other athletes would agree. There have been countless times where I ran well and had absolutely no idea how I did it. Yes, I worked hard to improve my times, but when you are in the moment of a race, or a game, that fades into the background, especially when everyone else has been working just as hard. It's just you, your race (or game), and God. That's it.

I could have not made the team. As a walk-on, there is more pressure for you to perform since the coaches did not seek you out; you sought them out. You are proving your abilities. Thus, I was nervous about my chances of actually making the team, especially considering the fact that the USC track team is arguably the best collegiate track team in the United States. I performed well during my try out and finished all the workouts, however I wasn't as fast as the other girls. In addition, I was 3 minutes late to my last day of tryouts and got chewed out by the coach for it. I was convinced that I blew my chances. And yet, somehow, I made it. I worked so hard for it, yes, but I thank God for keeping my body healthy so I could train to the best of my ability. I thank Him for allowing the coaches to have the time to try me out. I thank Him for allowing them to see my potential. I thank Him for giving me the best high school track coach possible who prepared me mentally and physically, as well as supported me throughout all the highs and all the lows. I thank Him for giving me this chance to continue my track career at the most prestigious collegiate team. My gratitude for all this, is simply infinite.

There is good reason why many athletes are religious; being an athlete requires you to be more than yourself. It requires you to dig deeper, into places that you didn't even think were possible, and really aren't without the belief of a higher power. The belief in a higher power, in whatever form or name that takes, means the belief in infinite possibility. And for an athlete to have that, means nothing can stop them from chasing their dreams.

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