Friday, June 14, 2013

Letters to a graduate

Woo hoo, it's Friday!! It's also FINALLY beautiful out after a week of rain.

Today I'm linking up for Feeling Good Friday with Beth and Amy

Today's post will be a little deeper than usual.

Dear Danielle,

I dont even know where to begin. It's been 5 days since you graduated and I'm still in shock. I'm getting ahead of myself though. Lets go back.

Here you are as a tiny bundle of joy not long after you were born. For 5 whole years I was the baby in the family. Melissa (the girl on the left) was the one that I could look up to being that she was only a year and a half older. She was my role model and the one who I connected the most with. I thought to myself that it would be great to have someone who looked up to me, relied on me to teach them things and knew I would be there for them. Not having brothers or sisters, I figured having a younger cousin would be good enough. Then you came along and I was thrilled. I can picture the day you were born. Holding you on the couch is something I will never forget. it was a "wow" moment. Here's a little girl. A girl who I get to grow up with and see all her experiences and what she becomes. Life went on. We became close. You were a trouble maker. You loved being the center of attention, stealing all my stuff and you always tried to do exactly what I was doing. And when you couldnt, well, the world ended. We faught. Alot. Probably not the best role model but hey we were kids. We had some fun times too. I can think of countless memories that I wouldnt of wanted to share with anyone but you. We went to the lake, we played on your trampoline, in your pool and spent endless hours rolling down the big hill in your backyard. We got sung to sleep by Memere and Pepere (grandparents). We played dress up and house. We'd have sleepovers. Oh the memories. It seemed like we were always together. You started to grow up. I can remember going to your kindergarten class and having cookies and getting to meet all your friends. Then you went into elementary school. Oh boy. Your personality showed. Big time! You started to become someone. You were bossy, demanded when you wanted something, wouldnt quit when you set your mind to something. Despite that and the fact that I kind of disliked you (lol) for awhile, you also had good qualities. Those I cant begin to list because there are just too many things. I loved the fact that so many activities you did, I did when I was that age. It was nice to go to your dance recitals and get to see you experience what I had not long before. Then you went to junior high. this is where you shined. We became friends. I'll never forget how you would call me almost every day after school. Honestly my favorite part of the day. It was even nicer not knowing when you'd call. I enjoyed sharing how our days were, what went wrong, what we hoped to do that weekend and just anything we could think of. It was like having a sister. We became even closer in 2009. Finally it was the year you were going into high school. I couldnt believe it. I sat you down that summer and told you many things. Things that would be great and things that you probably wouldn't enjoy. I shared stories of my high schools years too. I also said one important thing. Probably the most important. Enjoy it. Take in every single minute and every single experience. Have fun. Make so many friends. Take risks. These next 4 years will go by so so fast. Freshman year started. Not too bad, right? Sophomore year came. You probably thought to yourself "what was she thinking?" and "this is going by way too slow". You strived. You studied til your eyes fell asleep on the paper. Your homework wasnt finished until it was perfect. You dedicated every ounce of yourself to school. I was proud. I was happy when you called for help with math. I was happy when you got an A on a hard test. I was proud when you participated in some after school thing. I loved getting to relive high school through your eyes and mind. You made alot of good friends. While I love this, I'll admit, I missed you. Granted I could see you whenever since we are family, I felt left behind sometimes. You know what? Thats ok. Why you ask? Because it meant you were finding yourself. You were finding your click of friends and what your personality would be like. Junior year came. this was probably my favorite year. Brian and I started coming over every Friday night and we'd take you and D.J. to dinner. Chili's to be exact. We'd laugh, complain about a waiter, talk about everything that  had been going on and just have time. Time to relax and spend special moments together. We looked forward to Friday's for a long time. Best part of our week. You started looking at colleges and doing everything to get ready for senior year. I cringed. It was really happening. September came. finally, senior year. You worked even harder to the point you barely got sleep most nights. You broke a couple times. But you were ok. You worked through it with a little help. I stood there while you clicked "submit" for an application. I celebrated when you got accepted to your college of choice. It was a whole different experience. A fun one. 

The day finally came. I've been excited for months.

You stood by my side 5 years ago as I celebrated my graduation and the new road ahead of me and on this day I got to do the same for you. I didn't cry. Yay me! As I sat there listening to your principle talk about you all, I couldn't help but picture the last 18 years. Everything you have accomplished, everything you have failed, everything you have learned. The list is never ending. You've shown how strong you are, you've shown your weaknesses, you've pushed your own limits, and you've embarced the things that have come easy. You're going off to college now. This time its differently a whole new world. A world that can go anywhere and can show you who you are. A world that will shine millions of opportunities for you and a world that will help determine your future. 

Over the past 18 years we've been not only cousins but the best of friends. We've laughed, we've cried, we've been silly, we've shared some serious times, we've faught and we've experienced so many little moments together. You're my cousin, a friend and a godsister and I couldn't feel more thankful for that. I'm so proud of the person you are and the person you will become!


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