Days 5&6: A Letter from a College Freshman to his Family

past present

As a writer, you hope to inspire others through words. As a mother you hope to inspire your kids to be better people. This one time, I managed to do both.
My son wrote this to us before he left after reading my letter to siblings last week. He was hoping it would be shared because he thinks most kids feel this way but don’t convey it.
He is helping me out as I am not ready to put move-in day into words yet. So this will stand in its stead:


The words “John MacKinley Stiles” echoed throughout the spacious church as I maneuvered up the main aisle to get my diploma. I remember grasping it in my hand and thinking this is the happiest I have ever been in my life. As soon as I reached my seat, there was a change. All other sounds in the Church muted as a switch flipped in my head.

There was only one thing I could think about; moving to college and more importantly—freedom. My mind immediately switched gears from high school to college. The excitement was overwhelming with college occupying my thoughts day and night as the August 14th move in day moved closer and closer.

There I was two nights before move in day relaxing in bed and about to fall asleep when the soft and fuzzy feeling previously associated with leaving suddenly disappeared. My mind flooded with all the change I was about to encounter and people that would be left behind. No one warned me about this strong and overpowering sensation. It hit me like a tidal wave, drowning me in thoughts and memories, I found it easiest to grasp and process them by putting them into words.

Mom and Dad
Today must be one of the hardest days of your lives. I promise you everything will be ok. You’ve spent 17 years, 10 months and 29 days instilling values in me that I will never forget. The time you spent repeating yourself over and over had paid off. I am taking your lessons with me to college to mold myself into a better person; the person you raised me to be.

But it’s time to let go.

You have to trust that I can hold my own. It’s no different that learning to walk or ride a bike. You held my hand and showed me the way. The first couple of times, I may have come back bruised and bloodied with tears streaming down my cheeks, but I learned. And today is no different. You’re sending me off knowing that I’ll hit some bumps in the road and face obstacles that seem impossible to overcome. I will still need you to show me the way every once in a while, even if it’s through phone call or text I value your input. Eventually, just like walking or biking, I will learn and find my way myself.

I love you both more than words can describe and will be forever indebted to you for what you have given me physically, mentally and emotionally. All of my achievements root back to the two of you and even if I might not show it at the time, I’m extremely grateful. I may be moving out from under your roof at home, but I will always be under the roof of your heart.

Drew and Reed
Boys, I will miss you both more than I can convey. You are my two best friends in the world and I’ll never forget the memories we’ve made growing up with each other. It’s never a dull moment when the three of us are together and I cherish that. Whether it’s walking Murphy at night, blaring music all over the neighborhood as we drive or just playing PS3 and laughing, I always have a blast. Take your school work seriously but allow time for fun in high school too. Both of you are incredibly gifted and you’ll soon learn what those gifts are and be able to truly embrace them. Try not to worry too much either. Worrying is a waste of time. If it already happened, you can’t change it. Just forget about it and use your mistakes to grow and learn. You know my favorite saying, “Let the past drive the present.”

Look out and care for one another. It’s important for both of you to know that I am so incredibly proud to call you my brothers and I wouldn’t trade you for anything in the world. Sometimes we bicker and fight, but we’re always able to laugh it off right away and get back to normal. You both are exceeding expectation left and right and nothing makes me happier. I love you both immensely and can’t wait to hear about your adventures while I’m gone.

I think you’re going to take this the hardest. It’s easy for the rest of us to understand what’s going on because we communicate with each other. However, you will just see us pack up the car with a lot of my stuff, then have everyone else come home but me. I don’t know what I’m going to do without you running in and jumping on my bed to lay with me. I always felt that you understood me and we were pretty similar even though you’re a dog and I’m human. Orhan Pamuk once said, “Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen.” I find that pretty accurate. I’m always listening buddy. I’ll be back soon and I can’t wait to see you in my bed, tail wagging a hundred miles per hour, exactly how I left you.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Donna Butler
    Sep 13, 2016 @ 16:15:21

    Our daughter is a senior in HS. I want to enjoy and inhale this time, but I am already an emotional mess and grieving for what I know is coming. Do you have any articles that I could read, or any wise words for me?

    Thank you,
    Donna Butler


    • magnificenceinthemundane
      Sep 13, 2016 @ 16:27:01

      Hi there! First off, thank you for reading! I really think that Grown and Flown has more articles on their website and Facebook page than anyone else. And most of them are actually helpful. My only advice would be make sure you don’t look so far ahead that you miss the present. I want to everything, volunteered as much as I could and really got more involved senior year than any other. Pulling away would seem more logical, but it helped me to throw myself in with abandon. Also, talk, talk and talk some more. The more you talk about topics–large and small– the more comfortable you will be sending her out into the world. You know where her head is and that is important. I cried at the stupid stuff but not at graduation. I felt like we had made this journey together and was thrilled that we had the time together and the memories of senior year. I know girls are different and can be more difficult than boys at this age, but open communication will make both of you feel better. Good luck!


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Magnificence in the Mundane

Finding humor in kids and chaos is the best place for your personal blog or business site.

Magnificence in the Mundane

Finding humor in kids and chaos is the best place for your personal blog or business site.

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