For 18 years they have been my go-tos, my number ones, and my guiders; however, I now have to say goodbye to the greatest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Through thick and thin, they have been by my side, whether they wanted to be or not. I have been so blessed to receive not only parents but a mom and dad. Although these may seem the same, I have learned through the years that they aren't. Parents quite simply only just give birth to you, they do the easier of the job (not implying child birth is easy or anything). But your mom and dad raise you -- they care for you, love for you, and teach you. Simply stated, they never ever give up on you. They put their own life on hold for more than 18 years to raise you to be the best person you can be. A thousand "thank you"s would never be enough to say how lucky I am for my parents.

College is a completely new experience. A new time and era for everyone. One of the many stepping stones that comes after childhood. So whether you claim to be ready or not, you're on your own. Some may jump for joy while others cry and pity themselves, but it's here before you know it and quite honestly, you don't have much of a choice but to put on your big girl panties and jump into a whole new world. For the first time in many of our lives, we will experience freedom and responsibility to our greatest extent. You, for the first time in your life, are completely responsible for yourself. But honestly you have two people to thank for this accomplishment. No one can raise themselves, even if they credit themselves.

A lot of people tell me as I get ready to embark on college that I am going to miss my parents more than I know now and that I am going to be so grateful for them once I leave home. The funny part is I already feel that. In my last week at home, I took everything in. All the simple things I take for granted suddenly became quite clear. I know how much I am going to miss my parents. I know it quite well actually. They are easily my two older best friends and to say I am going to miss them is an understatement. They are the realist people I've ever met before. And as for being grateful, I, again, can never thank my parents enough for loving me so completely for 18 long/short years. Being grateful doesn't even begin to show how thankful I am for my parents.

To my mom: although it sometimes seemed like the years slowly dragged on, waiting to get to high school, waiting to get a car, waiting for college, this last year went by too fast. About halfway through my senior year, I realized that this was my last year as life as I know it. That this was the last time that I would be in eight classes a day (hopefully), be living fully at home, and be a child so to speak. So although I don't always say it, you are my everything. Literally my everything. My best friend and my number one person ever. The person I don't mind calling at all hours of the day to ask the weirdest questions because I know that you will tell me the truth, even when I don't want to hear it. No matter how many fights we have and no matter how many times you annoy me to all ends, I know that you're doing it out of love. That your constant advice is only for the good and even though I don't say it, I actually like it. So please promise me you'll always let me ride in the basket at supermarkets and laugh at people when they judge us for it.

To my daddy: no matter how old I get, you'll always be my daddy, not dad. Since the first days I could remember, people have told me how much I am like you. Not only did I look like you, but that we were just like two peas in a pod. But just recently did I realize what a compliment that actually was. You're not only my role model in everything I do in life, but my hero. It takes a special person to make such an impact on every person's life they encounter, but when I look at the way people look at you, I know that you're that special. It is easy to have people to celebrate with, but you have people that are there for the ups and downs and all the in-betweens. I can only strive to be the kind of person that you are one day.

Although tears may fall and hugs may be needed, I hope that you come to see the daughter that you have raised. And that I am in fact ready for college. But I owe it to y'all. I owe everything to y'all actually. Without both of y'all, I don't know what kind of person I would have been, and I am so grateful that I never have to know what it is like to live in that world. This is not the end, this is just the end of the beginning. I love y'all to the moon and back, and I will forever be your little girl.