Long time, no see, am I right?! In the midst of final exams, the college transfer process, and preparations for Miss Wisconsin in less than one month, my free time has been nearly nonexistent. However, I always preach that it’s crucial to find time for yourself, which is why I’m taking a few moments to do what I enjoy…relaxing, reflecting, and writing! During these busy times and transition periods, I often lose sight of the road that got me here…or the people who drove me, for that matter.
As I enter my twenties, I am now (legally) an adult, even if I don’t want to accept that sometimes. I can’t go back in time to a point of no responsibilities and I can’t jump forward to the day when I finally have my life together, but I am thankful for the guidance I continue to receive to make this journey through young adulthood manageable.
To my parents, it’s so cliché to say “I don’t know what I’d do without you,” but in complete honesty, I would not be here today without the both of you (seriously, science doesn’t work that way). It would take me up until the end of my days to thank you for every little thing you’ve done for me over the past 20 years, so I’m attempting to compile as much as possible in this letter to you.
Mom, thank you for guiding me through the rough middle school years as I discovered what kind of woman I wished to become.
Dad, thank you for instilling in me at a young age that my education is one of the only things that nobody can ever take away from me.
Mom, thank you for answering my late-night phone calls during my freshman year of college when I felt anxious, overwhelmed, or lost. Hearing your voice is all I needed.
Dad, thank you for being a shining example of what it means to have a servant’s heart. Your duties as an educator, father, brother, son, coach, and mentor taught me that selflessness is a virtuous quality to possess.
Mom, thank you for chaperoning field trips, making endless bologna and cheese sack lunches, taking me to gymnastics and cheerleading practices, and driving hours to pageants. Your unconditional support of everything I do means the world.
Dad, thank you for teaching me how to be an adult when my first W-2 form came in the mail. I’m nowhere near financial independence, but I’m a few steps closer thanks to my knowledge of a check register and overdraft charges…
Mom, thank you for getting to know all of my friends and making sure I’m choosing them wisely. You’ve taught me to surround myself with responsible, respectable people who lift me up as much as you do.
Dad, thank you for accepting each of my boyfriends throughout the years, even though I’m sure you didn’t really like all of them. Thank you for proving that chivalry is not dead and that a lady should always be respected. Because of you, I know that I should never settle for anything less than what I am worth.
Mom, thank you for being a warrior. With five children, you’ve never given up on any of us and you’ve proven that motherhood is one of the toughest, but most rewarding gifts you can ever give to a child. I look forward to the day when I can give the same to my own kids.
Dad, thank you for exposing your relationship with Christ; for believing that a little faith and humility can carry you through anything.
Mom, thank you for being strict with my curfew, because I’m sure it saved me from traveling down the wrong path in high school. On the flip side, thank you for loosening the leash sometimes so I could see firsthand why I should’ve been home at eleven…
Dad, thank you for teaching me to fight for what I believe in. In a world of many injustices, you’ve taught me that it’s okay to stray from the pack in order to stand up for what is right. You exemplify what makes a great leader: hard work, compassion, and determination.
Mom, thank you for sharing your warm heart with the world; for teaching me to accept every human for who they are and that generosity and kindness speak louder than words.
To the both of you, thank you for never handing me anything. Thank you for teaching me the value of a dollar and that I need to work for everything I want in life.
Thank you both for encouraging me to set high goals and providing me with a supportive environment to achieve them. As I enter adulthood and begin to make decisions that will impact my future, I know that I will always have both of you right behind me. I understand that I must learn from experience and fail a few times, but the lessons you’ve taught me from the very beginning have allowed me to grow into the woman I am today, the woman I am still becoming.
Some day, I’ll be lucky to be half the people you are. I owe you one.