Dear Daughter, My Wish for You as You Leave for College

Dear Jaiden,

As you leave home to start college, I feel desperate to give you nuggets of wisdom that will sustain you while you spread your wings and fly off on your own path. There are moments in my life when I’m confident I have taught you critical life skills. You proved that when you were eight years old and used what I taught you to stop a child molester who had been molesting his students for seven years. Then there are times I wonder if I have taught you enough or done enough to prepare you for life.

When I’m striving to do more, be more, or know more, I remind myself that if I never do another single thing in my lifetime, I can hold my head high and know I’ve done my part for you and humanity. I can literally say I have saved lives. I want you to know this is true for you too. You are enough. You have done enough already in this world, if you never accomplished another thing, you are still everything. We will never know how many kids you saved but we know you did. I want you to feel this deep in your bones.

My wish for you is that you leave all your insecurities behind, just leave them at home, I promise to keep them for you in a sacred place. I hope that when the world is mean and you feel like you have been punched in the gut, the fighter in you will show your strength and come out swinging. I hope that you will see yourself as a beautiful butterfly unlike any other. Your wings are spectacularly colored by the experiences of your past that prove how strong and courageous you really are. I want you to know that even in times when your caterpillar’s voice speaks to you harshly reminding you of your past, your metamorphosis to a butterfly is complete. Take a personal inventory of the facts that are your truth and tell that caterpillar to move his fuzzy ass along.

I wish I could do a brain dump and give you all my life’s experience and wisdom to absorb to keep you safe from harm and from making mistakes. But that wouldn’t be fair to you. You are your own person with every right to make your own mistakes. Mistakes are a gift of wisdom that only comes from personal experience. Don’t take too long to love and value yourself like I did, that is just wasted time.

I could say that I expect great things of you as you go out into the world. Instead, I want you to know how proud of you I already am. I am inspired by you every day. You have already done great things. You love with your whole heart. You are kind to others. You are giving. You are brave. You challenge yourself. You question the status quo. You seek equality and justice for all beings. You use your voice to stand up for others. You are enough. You have done enough. Enjoy this exciting time of self-discovery. Be selfish and self-caring. Put your needs first. Do what makes you happy even if it means disappointing others.

I hope that you will use the same tenacity you use to fight for others to fight for yourself. Love yourself, respect yourself, honor your greatness and listen to the butterfly voice that says I am a woman phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, that’s me.

Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.

I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size

But when I start to tell them,

They think I’m telling lies.

I say,

It’s in the reach of my arm,

The span of my hips,

The stride of my step,

The curl of my lips.

I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.

 

I walk into a room

Just as cool as you please,

And to a man,

The fellows stand or

Fall down on their knees.

Then they swarm around me,

A hive of honey bees.

I say,

It’s the fire in my eyes,

And the flash of my teeth,

The swing in my waist,

And the joy in my feet.

I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.

 

Men themselves have wondered

What they see in me.

They try so much

But they can’t touch

My inner mystery.

When I try to show them,

They say they still can’t see.

I say,

It’s in the arch of my back,

The sun of my smile,

The ride of my breasts,

The grace of my style.

I’m a woman

Phenomenally,

Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.

 

Now you understand

Just why my head’s not bowed.

I don’t shout or jump about

Or have to talk real loud.

When you see me passing,

It ought to make you proud.

I say,

It’s in the click of my heels,

The bend of my hair,

The palm of my hand,

The need for my care.

‘Cause I’m a woman,

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.