My lovely Alexa,
This is it. I graduate on Saturday. Four years of stress, laughter, tears, and joy have all led up to this one day. If I told you that I feel prepared, if I told you that it feels real, I'd be lying.
Two years ago you came into my life but it feels like you've always been by my side. You fulfilled my lifetime wish of being an older sister but now I must leave you. And that scares me.
You keep me straight and make me laugh. I've never been more proud of someone in my life. You're strong, independent, and spirited but still I worry about you because life is hard and high school is harder. People are mean and teachers are pushy. Parents don't understand and siblings don't know when to stop. Boys will break your heart and friends will leave you. But you will survive.
In a few months we will go from seeing each other almost every day to seeing each other less than once a month. I won't be here to take you out for coffee or to hug you when you've had a bad day. Things will be immensely different for us but my love will continue, unwavering. When you're feeling lonely or lost, come back to this. This advice, these words, are my gift to you.
Let yourself feel everything fully, even the "bad" emotions.
Feelings of angst, melancholy, and fear are part of the human experience and are meant to be expressed. Never invalidate what you feel. Remember that your emotional and physical well-being come before all else: before grades, before dance, before what others want of you. When life gets heavy you are allowed to set things down. You are allowed to take a step back from everything and to take a deep breath...or many. If you feel like crying, cry. If you feel like sleeping, sleep. If you feel like eating, eat.
Don't believe anyone that tells you high school will comprise the best four years of your life but still live as if that statement were true.
Make as much time for your friends as you can, go on adventures, sneak out of your house just to go stargazing and make late-night Cookout runs...but don't beat yourself up over Friday nights spent at home and weekends in which you do next to nothing. It's totally acceptable to not have plans. Opportunities to have fun do not end when high school does.
Don't you dare take high school too seriously.
Yes, it is important, but it doesn't have to define the rest of your life. You will get bad grades, you will hurt your friends and the plans you've made for your life will sometimes fall through but you are redeemable. It's okay to be upset over the things that go wrong but don't allow them to fester. I promise the bad things that happen in high school will not haunt you for the rest of your life. You will get to where you need to be with the people you need to be with at exactly the time you need to be there no matter what. Breathe and let go.
Be brave enough to walk away from those that bring you down.
Doing so will hurt and will be scary but it is sometimes necessary. You are strong enough. Remember that walking away is not selfish. It does not have to signify the end of your love for someone, rather a changing of that love. Maybe in another place, another time you will be connected again. Stay hopeful but protect your heart.
Above all else, be kind.
You have such a loving heart, don't let the bitterness of others turn it to stone. Stand up for what you know to be right and offer your hand to those in need of a friend. Sometimes words fail. In those instances just be there. Always ask what you can do to help but understand that sometimes there is nothing. Accept that, but try anyway.
Alexa, in this past year especially I have seen you grow amazingly as a woman. Your faith, compassion, and outlook on the world inspire me. You make me want to be a better person. You make me not want to leave. These next three years will be crazy, in good and not so good ways, for you. My hope is that you will allow yourself to dance in the rain, both metaphorically and literally. I will always, always, always be here for you. You can call, text, FaceTime, or visit me whenever you'd like. Don't hesitate to ask me (or others) for help. You are deeply loved by so many people and we will do anything to help you succeed. High school has nothing on you, my bright star.
-All my love, your moon
lead image credit: Lionsgate
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