So, it all starts today.
This week it's back to school. Next week we add dance, choir and choir. And now that you're a Freshman in High school, I'm sure there will be there will be football games, basketball games, school plays, after-school clubs and other events which are social necessities.
I hate to jinx opening day, but I think you're ready. Sure, you are set with new shoes and clothes and office supply doo-dads. And yes, we went to school last week, met most of your teachers, and walked your class schedule (downstairs, upstairs, downstairs, upstairs, downstairs, upstairs, downstairs) twice. But more than that, despite your jump to the "big time" you seem to be on an even keel. Sure, there was some nervousness this morning, but I fully expect by this afternoon that the report will be a nonchalant, "it was fine" which is teenspeak for "it was awesome."
I hope it is. I hope school is wonderful and exciting and full of new friends and great adventures. You had three fabulous years of middle school -- especially this last one -- and I hope that the next four continue the same.
My biggest wish for you is to stay open to possibilities and stay true to yourself. It's so easy to turn yourself inside out worrying about what people will think and say. But for the past fourteen years, your family and friends have given you all the tools you need to be self-confident and responsible. I believe in you and trust you, and if you think carefully and make your decisions based on the person I know you to be, you will be just fine.
But remember, being in high school and being a teenager doesn't mean that you know everything. Hard as it is to believe sometimes, you're not grown up yet. There are still a lot of lessons to learn and life to live and the same family and friends who have watched you grow all these years are still nearby, ready to catch you, point you in the right direction, or just listen when you want to vent. People are the best resources you have, and chances are that we've been there before, and faced the same struggles. Ask us, lean on us, confide in us. It's not a sign of being weak; it's being smart.
And understand, too, that I'm just not ready for you to be grown up yet. So indulge me when I'm excited for you, or ask you one too many times about your day. The time goes by so quickly and I want to hear all your stories and hold onto those memories as long as I can.
Have a wonderful, wonderful year. Be cheerful and polite. Use consonants AND vowels when you write. Be helpful to your friends. Be a little thick-skinned when necessary, but remember that the real you is kind, caring and compassionate. Lastly, keep your eyes, your ears and your heart open. There are saints and angels everywhere, disguised as parents, teachers, family and friends, who are pleased with the person you are, excited for the person you are to become and ready to guide you and cheer you on your way.
Have a great day and a wonderful year.
Go Class of 2012!