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10 Things I Want to Say to My Son Before He Graduates

06/04/2015 07:04 pm ET | Updated Jun 04, 2016
Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

When the milestones come, sometimes we moms get a little choked up. And by a little, we mean we are swallowing big ugly cries every time someone cues up a photo montage. While it would probably be enough to just say "good luck" and "I love you," that's not all there is to say. Not by a long shot.

Here are 10 things I want/wish/really, really, really hope make it out of my mouth before we cross that tassel over to the other side.

1. Congratulations! Ignore my sniveling and carrying on. In fact, forget everyone and make this about you for a moment. Accept every slap on the back and lean into all those sloppy kisses. Take your victory lap. This is one of the big moments. Drink it all in.

2. Put one foot in front of the other. Take your minute, then move on. Now is the first time, but certainly not the last one, that you'll learn that life just keeps rolling on. Hold your head up, put your eyes forward, then take the next step. The truth is that everybody worries about what's around the corner. Does it help to know that you're not special in this way? Everyday heroes put one foot in front of the other and just do it. You can too.

3. Pick up your _________________. Clothes, room, car, self, people. Take care of yourself, your stuff and those you love. A good life is yours for the taking if you can fill in that blank for yourself a little every day.

4. Hold your fire. People, things and even circumstances may be fully deserving of the full power of your ire. Hold your fire. Count to 10, whistle a happy tune, find your happy place. Do whatever you have to do to find a peaceful, but workable solution. The world needs more lovers, not fighters.

5. We've got your back. You are never alone in this world. There's a safety net knit tightly of good friends and family who are all ready to reach out when you need that helping hand. Let their great love embolden you in weak moments. And when you get a chance, do the same for someone else. There is almost nothing in the world that will cure what ails you like doing something nice for someone else.

6. Dare mightily. Dream really, really big, but also live every day with a spirit of wonder and brave resolve too. A lot of adulthood is not so much an exciting new road, but a familiar, well-worn path. Venture to marvel at the simple joys and brace for the sad, scary things that can pop up along the way. Dare to imagine a better you every day.

7. Show up. We never wanted you to just be a guy. We were always hoping you would be a certain type of guy. So show up for people. Celebrate their successes and ease the burden of their failures. Make them laugh and sit with them when they are sad. Go to boring parties, lame weddings, and uncomfortable dinner parties because someone asked you to be there for them. Just show up. You'll be amazed at the joy you'll find from doing the thing you really didn't want to do.

8. Love is all you need. You will have a lot of choices to make the next few days, months and years. It can all seem a little overwhelming. Let The Beatles provide a little clarity in the chaos: All you need is love. If you have it, give it. Plain and simple. Spread love around like you are lousy with it. Then you won't just have a blessed life, you will be a blessing to others as well.

9. You look so handsome. Seriously. This one sticks in my throat every time. That picture of you in the paper with all the other graduating seniors? Almost did me in.

You have no idea what it's like to watch someone grow up before your eyes yet, but I hope you get that privilege. You were a beautiful, perfect boy the minute I met you and your bright, golden light has never dimmed. We are so unspeakably proud of the young man you have become inside and out. And you look great in that cap and gown too. Really, you are rocking it.

10. I love you. Truly, honestly, deeply. This day. Every day. Forever. Take that knowledge with you into beautiful corners and brave new worlds. Let it warm you on cold nights and lead you out of dark places.

The best is yet to come, sweet boy. Knock 'em dead.

Love,

Mom