To Maddie- On her College Graduation

Dear Maddie,

I’ve written many, many notes, cards and e-mails to you over the last 22 lightning fast years together but none may be more love filled as this one.

IMG_1106From the day we brought you home that steamy hot day in July, you captured my heart. Today you graduate from college- Where did the time go?  I think of all the places we traveled to. France, Italy, Iceland, Sweden, Brazil, Germany, Austria, Mexico and the Caribbean. You have a love and an understanding of travel and the world that amazes me. When you were in New Zealand I thought every week, “I wonder what she will see this week?”

 “Traveling reminds us who we forgot to be.” —Anonymous, on a bathroom wall in Germany.

It would be easy for me to compile a laundry list of all your achievements through the years.  Of all the things YOU have learned.  Instead here’s the things I have learned about you! Things which have made me most proud.

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First, the type of young woman you’ve matured into… You have always been an amazing friend to those around you, you are kind, compassionate, and committed to not just your future but to the future of your generation. (Yeah- about that, I’m sorry my generation is leaving things so screwed up. I really did the best I could). You are such a TRUE and LOYAL friend. I have watched you bake a cake at a moments notice or put time and energy into a project just to make a friend smile.

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Second, your unconditional love and respect for our family—past, present and I’m sure, future. You have always had a good sense of humor and, for sure, you need it! I’ve enjoyed your practical jokes even when they were “slightly” evil- YOU PUT TOOTH PASTE IN MY OREOS!  YOU REPLACED MY DEODORANT WITH CREAM CHEESE!

Finally, Your constant willingness to positively engage life and like your mom the “whatever it takes” attitude. You were always curious and enthusiastic about exploring the environment around you. You have become so STRONG, physically, emotionally.

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You’ve always known right from wrong guided by hope and your eternally positive drive to find the good in people and in life. It’s a part of you we know you will keep for a lifetime.

Omi- would have been so proud of you! You come from a LONG line of strong women. Mutti, Omi and your mom. 10885409_10152674277203002_3211496653602452907_n

That brings us to today, college graduation. (I can barely type the words without shaking.) Your Mother and I have been blessed to help you grow from a bouncing and always laughing baby into a confident and caring young woman.

Your Grandmother (my mom) was famous for her advice. Her advice at my graduation  meant the most. So it’s with all the love in my heart that I share with you some of the advice she gave me:

• Rule # 1 – Always treat people with respect and be nice to everyone.

• Rule #2 – Always maintain your personal integrity—it defines who you are.

• Rule #3 – As you begin your career, do something you are truly GREAT at.

• Rule #4 – Always do what is right and more than people expect you to do.

• Rule #5 – Maintain BALANCE in your life.

This is an exciting time, with all that is in front of you; endless possibilities, and just as many opportunities, waiting for you to grab hold. It can be scary— uncertainty, confusion, and choruses of, “What do I do now?” will surely ring in your ears from time to time.

Here are my words of wisdom of the things they didn’t teach you in college.

Learn the art of listening.

Nothing worthwhile is easy and nothing easy worthwhile. Only when we get out of our comfort zone do we set ourselves up for greatness. You will not learn by taking the easy way out— of anything.

Be tolerant.

Be kind to yourself and kill the naysayers with kindness.

Never stop learning.

Your words have meaning, choose them wisely.

Unplug, unwind and quiet the chatter.

Think outside of the box. On second thought, don’t put yourself in a box in the first place.

Forgive because you won’t ever forget.

Remember the old folks; respect them, for you too, my princess, will be old one day.

Be compassionate.

No tanning beds.

Ask for help. People will show up, as will the universe. Pretending doesn’t make you smarter.

Don’t accept explanations as whole truths from people just because they have a business card. Question everything and do your own vetting.

Indulge in any idea, peoples, culture, gadget, or philosophy, that even remotely interests you. It will broaden you in ways that you cannot imagine.

Take chances and risks. Have certainty that there will be someone to have your back. Mom and I will always be on call. Don’t let fear paralyze you. Bravery is acting in the face of fear, making friends with it and moving past it.

Share yourself, and your talents, with others. Give back and give often.

It’s okay to change your mind. Walk a road that you hadn’t envisioned, and then, when you are ready, make a sharp left, and take that road.

Keep your heart and mind open. You will find it, although it may not look like what you had pictured in your mind. You may find that there’s more than one it.

Doc Massimo would always tell me Control the controllables. The quicker you can distinguish between what you can control, and what you cannot, the happier and lighter you will feel.

Surround yourself with positive people and let the others gently fall away. Don’t count people out. Sometimes they will surprise you. Gather those around you that will assist you on your path; those that support and encourage need only apply.

Don’t save things for a rainy day, or the perfect time. They don’t exist. Wear the new dress, tell someone that you love them, answer the emails and the texts we send! We love you.

You have to look at yourself in the mirror every day. Be sure that you can smile at the person looking back at you.

People are doing the best that they can (most of them anyway), be patient with those that aren’t as capable as you are.

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And if you still can’t do, I’ve carried these quotes with me for most of my adult life. They’ve always brought me a certain peace. My desire is that they do the same for you.

We must be willing to get rid of the life we planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. —Joseph Campbell

Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get. —Dale Carnegie

I am safe; it’s only change. I cross all bridges with joy and ease. The ‘old’ unfolds into wonderful new experiences. My life gets better all the time. — Louise Hays

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. — Hilary Cooper

Neglect nothing that can make you great. (Eugene Delacroix)

Nobody is going to save you, that’s your job. Save yourself. If you don’t like where you are, get out of there. The object is not for them to like you, the object is for them to listen to you. Nobody knows what you want expect you and nobody will be as sorry as you if you don’t get it. Wanting some other way to live is proof enough of deserving it. Having it is hard work, but not having it is sheer hell. —Lillian Hellman (partial)

A relationship is an expression of the soul’s yearning to unify forces to push us forward in our spiritual understanding and mutual assistance in paying the debts of our tikune. (correction)—Kabbalah

When you travel, you experience, in a very practical way, the act of rebirth. You confront completely new situations, the day passes more slowly, and on most journeys you don’t even understand the language the people speak. So you are like a child just out of the womb. You begin to attach much more importance to the things around you because your survival depends upon them. You begin to be more accessible to others because they may be able to hep you in difficult situations. And you accept any small favor from the gods with great delight, as if it were an episode you would remember for the rest of your life.— The Pilgrimage, Paulo Coehlo

“You needn’t die happy when your time comes, but you must die satisfied, for you have lived your life from the beginning to the end and ka is always served.”
Stephen King, The Dark Tower

The final life lesson I will leave you with is really important: Never let money be the primary motivator for what you decide to do. Success is determined by who you are and how you lead your life. Don’t ever lose your silliness, vulnerability or innocence. They can co-exist happily alongside your strength, resilience and maturity.

Mom and I are so very proud to know that you are truly ready to take on what lies ahead and we have all the confidence and trust in the world you will have a great future. Always know that you will forever be a part of us—on our minds and in our hearts. We love you and thank you for  bringing so much joy into our lives.

All my love on a very special day. You will ALWAYS be my princess.

Dad

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About tretrosi2013

Gymnastics Coach, Gymnastics Educator, Part time stand up comic.
This entry was posted in Advice, Daughter. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to To Maddie- On her College Graduation

  1. Pingback: Pride in USA Gymnastics

  2. Pingback: Looking Back on High School | VACILANDO

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