September 23, 2016

A Letter to my Baby Sister in her first Year of College.

sister friends art

Hey Baby Sis!

I don’t care how old you are, you will always be my “baby” sister.

When someone says your name, I picture you wild-eyed and shoeless, picking dandelions and pressing them into my palm, or taking turns drinking from the hose on summer mornings. Even when you get married, even when you have your own babies picking dandelions barefoot in the backyard, even (especially) when you go to college—I’ll see you like this.

I don’t know more than you, other than the things seven extra years on this planet have taught me. But I believe those seven extra years have shown me enough to write this letter before you tip-toe on to college campus for real this time, to live and grow and learn and become.

To my baby sister going to college, here is what I hope you remember:

You are magnificently strong. You can run further than you think, write more eloquently than you ever imagined, stay up later than you ever knew, laugh harder than you ever thought possible.

But it’s perfectly okay to be soft or slow or silent sometimes.

Never underestimate the power of keeping your chin up and your shoulders back and looking someone in the eye. This goes for walking alone, talking to someone new, defending your honor, or admitting a mistake.

Confident people don’t hate. This is true for math, friends, public speaking, tofu, secret-keeping, and religion. If you hate it, try to understand it.

If they don’t accept “no,” as an answer, then they aren’t good friends or good lovers.

Everyone is a little bit lonely. Remember this always, even if that isn’t what their face or their schedule or their social media profile shows.

You never completely figure everything out. You just become more comfortable living in the haphazard. 

Just because they are louder, older, more popular or more persuasive, doesn’t mean they are right or know more than you do.

Not everyone is drinking or going to that party or skipping that class or sneaking in—those who aren’t just may not announce it as loudly.

Being in the wrong place but doing nothing wrong can get you in just as much trouble as doing something wrong—trust me.

It’s easier to make friends by acting interested than by acting interesting (you are, and always will be, impossibly interesting.)

Hearts don’t get broken because you aren’t pretty enough, smart enough, or cool enough; hearts get broken because you were brave enough to love.

If at all possible, make an extra peanut butter and jelly sandwich in the cafeteria at dinnertime and bring it to your room, just in case anyone needs it.

Know that you don’t have to agree with someone in order to respect him or her. And you don’t have to believe in something in order to want to learn more about it.

Some feelings are fleeting. Don’t make permanent decisions with your temporary mindset.

I hope you learn about space. I hope you dance with your wild mane down. I hope you go to class barefoot at least once.

I hope you know that tattoos are permanent but piercings are not.

I hope that you fall in love with people and places and ideas and constellations and I hope that if you ever, ever need me, for the biggest or smallest reason in the whole world, that you call me.

I’ll be there, sister.





Author: Ella Kerr

Image: vegarshansen at Flickr

Editor: Renée Picard



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