I have the letter my mom wrote to me and left under my pillow that first night in my college dorm room after the family had moved me in, hugged me goodbye and driven away.
I gave it to my daughter the day she moved into her college dorm room….only I handed it to her and told her to read it after I’d left for home. I will give it to my son’s daughters when they’re off on their own; and hopefully my daughter will give it to hers when the time comes. It is the kind of letter that says exactly what every girl needs to read, to know and to feel at this moment in time….and my Mom said it best.
I was off to Western Michigan University to become a teacher in the fall of 1962. Just 18, the oldest child of four including the ‘little kids’ ages 3 and 5; moving two hours away from my Detroit home to live and learn in Kalamazoo was a big deal! Mom depended on me, so letting me go was hard for her. She knew I was excited and we’d had all the talks; but mostly….she understood this was a great leap of faith and growth for me.
Her letter was perfect comfort and confidence in knowing I’d be okay.
(letter continued) for you and D, K and B. Maybe we haven’t always done things wisely, but all that we have done is because of our great love for you kids. Looking back, there were things that would have made your life happier, I’m sure, but you have had a wonderful life as it is. Do you understand what I’m trying to say my darling? I believe with all my heart that you’re going to do wonderful things someday and you will learn best by living the best life that you can.
Joanie, you are going to run into many different kinds of situations and temptations of which you have no knowledge; but we have enough faith and love in you to know that you can and will handle them all to the best of your ability. Remember time and again of why you are and where you are, and what it means to all of us. We will miss you, but if you are happy then we won’t mind so much.
Do what is right for you; weigh your decisions, then be happy with your choice in what ever you do. Pray to God each night Joanie, and give thanks for everything as I pray each night thanking him for giving you to us. We are very proud of you and know you will do everything to make us keep on being so proud. We are always here whenever you need us.
Goodnight my darling, sleep tight and give thanks.
All my love always,
In just two more years my oldest granddaughter will head to college; I’m confident these words….with her name inserted…..will be just as appropriate and meaningful as it was for me fifty years ago.
Read more from Joan Stommen on her blog, Gramcracker Crumbs