An Open Letter To My Nephew

An Open Letter To My Nephew

You have changed me, for the better, and you can do that to the world, too.


As I write this in my college dorm room, you are two years old. In the two years that you have been alive (and also the nine months you were in mommy's belly), I have loved you. You constantly remind me of what being joyful and blessed is about, and teach me things I may not have recognized about myself. I treat you as my own son, and always will, even once I have my own children to care for. I have been there when your mommy was ill when she was pregnant, when you were born, your first holidays, your first of many. I have watched you grow into the cutest, meanest, sweetest, and most outgoing little monster, and would change nothing about you. Your sweet laugh when I do the smallest thing silly, your relaxed face as you snore in my arms, and the scowl in between your eyes when you don't understand something, is what I look forward to every time I am with you.

Now that I am far away from you, I cherish the FaceTime calls where your precious little self is sitting in the carseat while MiMi drives, or when you're running around the house looking for parts of your train set. Just because I am not there with you now, doesn't mean I don't want to be. I know it is confusing not seeing KeKe near as often as you're used to, and the concept of a cell phone is only half way relevant to you, but as long as you run and squeal when I walk through the front door of the house, I know that you remember me. Also, just because I am gone doesn't mean that I never think about you, because, trust me, I do.

I see all of the Facebook posts MiMi posts about you, or what you're doing. I miss you, and I miss being able to experience your growth, but it is all worth it when I am able to spend time with you during breaks. You have changed me, for the better, and I only hope you realize once you're older that you can do that to everyone. You're incredibly smart, Masin, and you can change the world. Your voice will be heard and you will go so far in life, if you just remember what you have done to me, in only a short amount of time. That impact will help you plentiful in life, if you use your full potential in everything you do (which I know you will, because you've been raised to do so).

I just want to reiterate how much I love you, Masin. I want you to grow up and be all that you wish for, and don't let anyone get in the way of it. I hope you never go through troubling times, even though I know it is inevitable. Dream big, and you can conquer anything. Be sweet and kind to all that you meet, and make sure that you are always a gentleman.

You can obviously not read this letter, and I'm not sure if you will be able to get ahold of it once you're old enough, but the words are spoken in multitudes. I tell you these things all the time, but to be able to share your beautiful soul and abilities is something you deserve, even at this small age.

I love you so much buddy,


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To The College Student Who Expects Mommy And Daddy To Fix Everything

There are too many kids these days who don't know how to handle a conflict.

While on my spring break, I went to my 15-year-old sister’s soccer game, which was a bit heated. There was a lot of pushing and shoving coming from both teams, which eventually lead to one girl on the opposing team getting knocked down by a girl on my sister’s team.

Then, a lady who I assume was her mother swiftly stood up and screeched insults about the girl.

My mother and I were taken back by the foul words that the lady was saying about a 15-year-old girl, but we ignored it and kept watching.

Once again, the same girl who was knocked down before got knocked down again. This time, the mother said more than just demoralizing slurs. This time, the lady grabbed her purse and strutted off the belchers screaming about how she was going to make sure the girl who pushed her daughter down never played soccer there again. She then proceeded to yell at the soccer complex owners to get the girl off the field.

I was disgusted and embarrassed for her.

She was a 40-something-year-old woman and was making a scene out of a totally legal soccer match, which brings me to my issue of parents sticking up for their kids too much.

Yes. It is fine, even applauded, to stick up for your child, but there is a fine line between sticking up for them when it is necessary and fighting every single battle for them.

This girl was not getting hurt, just roughed up a bit how one does in a soccer game. Her mother’s show and intervention were not only unnecessary but also inappropriate.

This is not the first time I have witnessed things like this happen, though. I see many parents stick up for their kids way too much, to the point where they can’t fight their own battles because they never learned how.

I know many people in college who were brought up this way. Now that they are away from their parents, the only thing they know to do when conflict arises is to call mommy and daddy.

This is not only harmful to them in college, as they will struggle to learn at such a late age how to handle conflict appropriately without calling their parents to fix things, but it is harmful to them later in life.

What happens when these kids go off into the real world and have jobs? They will not know how to handle conflict, which is almost certain to arise.

I 100 percent do not think that it is wrong for parents to get involved in their children’s conflicts, as it is necessary, sometimes, but my argument here is that children will reach an age where they need to learn how to deal with issues on their own. Guidance from their parents is always acceptable and can always be helpful, but sometimes having their parents do the full nine-yards is just too much.

So, to the kids who already are used to having their battles fought for them, there's no reason to feel less equipped for life because of how you were nurtured, but you can do your best to learn how to deal with conflict yourself and in the best way possible.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels Photos

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To The Friends I Lost Along The Way, Thank You For Helping Me Grow

To my lost friends

As a junior in college, I have lost a lot of friends throughout my time at school.

Mainly because after returning from a year off, the friends that I thought I could depend on assumed that I had not changed or matured since freshman year. They made these assumptions without even hanging out with me and based their thoughts off of social media and gossip. But if there is one thing I have learned after losing these people, is that it was honestly for the best.

They do not know what I went through during my year away from school. The ups, the downs, the tears, the laughter and the things I never thought I would experience. I grew more during this year than anyone believed I did. I barely believed I did, but after a lot of self-reflection, I truly believe I matured, despite what others may think.

They only see the surface of me. What I post on social media, the rumors from other people who do not even know me. And it hurts knowing that they chose to not get to re-know me, but rather chose to accept the rumors and assumptions. They chose to not believe I have moved on as a person.

When you’re alienated by the people you trusted and loved, it hurts a lot. Especially because they never thought to talk things through. It was almost like before I even came back, they made their decision to drop me.

I was told by someone that the way I have handled myself since coming back to GW is “extremely disappointing.” This was a hard thing to hear coming from a former friend because it came from someone who chose not to see me once after I returned. They based what they thought of me of other people who talked about me, but never chose to talk to me themselves.

This same friend told me that they discussed their concerns about me to other people, but it’s funny how they did that without actually seeing me for over 6 months.

Why talk to others about me when you have not even talked to me and still to this day have not? I find it quite cowardly, to be honest, but it is their choice. They claimed that I was no longer the freshman year Ashley that they knew and loved but then proceeded to tell others that I am still too much like that person and had not matured like they had.

I used to want to believe that they are the immature ones because they chose not to have a discussion or give me a chance but it would be wrong for me to think that because in their own way, they are mature for choosing to end a friendship they personally believed was not valuable. While it is not necessarily something I agree with, I respect that they chose to stick to what they believe in.

I think that most difficult thing for me was the fact that all of the friends I lost never really gave me the chance to show them who I was. I have been told I am immature, ingenuine, not kind, irrelevant, have no disregard for others and am blatantly just a bad person. Quite frankly, hearing that people believed I was this person made me start to believe I was. Because why else would they say all of this?

It took a lot for me to be able to move on from being told this is how people portrayed me because it is hard to accept that people who you used to love and trust think so poorly of you. And I wish they knew how much they meant to me and how much I valued their friendship before they made these assumptions.

It is funny because I kept the texts from the person who told me that I have changed for the worse because on days where I feel I am not enough, I read them to solidify in my head that what they say is true because sometimes I believe I deserve to feel bad.

Unfortunately, I cannot change everyone’s opinions, or make anyone believe that I am not who they think I am. I cannot change that I was hurt to the point where I was afraid to leave my room because of fear of judgment. I cannot change that they chose to see me as this monster I know I am not. I cannot change that we never talked. I cannot change that I was away for a year.

Ultimately, I cannot change what happened.

Honestly, I feel like a fool for thinking that I COULD change the minds of those who clearly had them made already. I eventually decided to stop chasing the friendships that they severed long before I even returned. I don’t think losing friends will ever not be easy.

Each time it happens, I feel like a failure. I feel as if I have let not only myself down, but someone else. I blame myself for each loss because to me, I never blame the other person. I feel as though I am not good enough to have friends. I feel as though I am unwanted and unimportant.

But despite all these negative things I feel about myself, the loss of old friends has paved the way for some amazing new friendships that I do not think I would never have had otherwise.

So, to my friends of freshman year, it hurt to lose you, and as much as I want to forget the memories we did create together, I never will. We may not be creating more, but just know that I grew more than you thought I did.

I am not immature. I am not an unkind person. I am not a disappointment. And most importantly, I am not the monster that you believe I am.

Losing people you value is never easy, and it is a huge part of life. I never thought that coming in to college I would deal with as much friend drama as I have but I am stronger now, I have grown, and you may not want to believe this, but I am happy.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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