Hi there,

It's me! You know, your older sibling who just can't seem to wrap her head around the thought of you finishing high school.

I am in utter disbelief. Just two years ago, I was in your shoes -- an 18-year old, ready to take life's next giant leap. Now it's you who's preparing the post-secondary plans.

Whereas I decided to stay close and cozy to home, you've decided to move a couple of states away. Arizona State University will be honored to have you as an art student. Part of me wishes you were a freshman in high school again, so you wouldn't have to leave so soon. But the other part of me desires that you get as much out of college as you possibly can. I know that this is an exciting time for you, and the thrill of adulthood is right around the corner.

You've been insanely supportive of me over the past couple of years, and now it's time that I return the favor. Nothing will make me more happy than to see you flourish in college. I can't wait to hop on a plane and visit you at ASU. I'm relieved that I know your roommate already, because I know that she'll be good to you and hopefully alleviate any pangs of homesickness you may experience.

And thank you.

Thank you for being my best friend and thank you for the glorious years growing up. I couldn't have been what I am without help from a younger sibling, and you were the perfect person for that position. You won't be around near as much as I'd like, as you'll be off following your true passion.

I know that this isn't a permanent goodbye, however I can't help but think that talking to you face-to-face won't be in my control anymore. And that slumps my shoulders. Even sparse visits can be heavy on a heart. But I almost can't wait for you to go so I can hear all about Arizona's happenings.

By the time you will have read this, you'll have already been a graduate by a day or two. You were the last of our parents' four children to walk across the stage and receive what's rightfully yours, and you'll be the last Croucher for at least 16 years (when our nephew graduates) to grace Mitchell High School with your presence.

The bottom line is that I love you dearly and hope that graduation season is currently lively and exciting, all the while becoming a fond memory for you.

I know you'll read this, maybe cringe once or two at the cheesiness, but hey, you only graduate from high school once. You better not be a stranger. Don't forget about home! For now though, enjoy this life-changing event.

To my always-little-sister Emily and the class of 2016 in its entirety, congratulations.