Friday, June 27, 2014

An Open Letter To My Graduating Senior

Dear Punkin,

The day that you were born, the Yankees won the World Series, wildfires ravaged California, but I slept. I played the just gave birth card and took advantage of the hospital staff so I could rest. Little did I know that those would be the last three hours of decent sleep I'd get for the next eighteen years.

After waking up and coming off the look what my body can do high, I watched you nurse just inches from my heart. I sighed and kissed your head, filled with love for someone I barely knew. And that's when it happened.

I was struck with the clearest, sanest thought I've ever had--an epiphany of sorts: Whose great idea was it to give me a baby?? I thought God can see everything. Surely he didn't miss that cactus that died of dehydration on my kitchen table?

Luckily, I love a good challenge, so even when you were a month old and I found you blue and struggling to breathe in your crib, I didn't wait for the paramedics. Your father called them while I pounded on your back, tried to give you Baby Heimlich, and even put my fingers down your throat to pull out whatever was choking you. I kept thinking, Oh hell no. I am not going to fail at having kids only one month in. This is not happening. Not on my watch. 

As soon as the EMT's came in, you let out the loudest, smelliest burp ever, then laughed and began breathing normally again. Unfortunately, I was standing right in front of your mouth when it happened. But after they revived me, I knew you were an overachiever. #proudmama

Good times. And they just keep coming. So now, as you are hitting a new milestone and are about to jump into adulthood, many speeches and letters like this one are being written and recited. All full of advice about what you now need to know and the lessons you have to learn.

I can't do that. That doesn't work for me because everything you need to know--the building blocks upon which all other lessons are learned--I taught you and reinforced every day that we have lived under the same roof.

So consider this a reminder:

1. You Matter

Although I cradled you when you came into this world, the trip here was all you. I pray that someone will be there to hold your hand when you leave, but again, that journey is yours, as is all the stuff in between. The only thing that matters every second of every day is your happiness. If you make that your priority, then you will have all you need. I'd say that your first step toward happiness was choosing me as your mother, and in that case, we both won. Good start.

2. Family

Friends may come and go, but you are stuck with us forever. Your siblings know your good, your bad, and how much it will take to keep them quiet about it. As your mom, I am the best friend you will ever have, because no matter how much you may hate or disagree with some of my rules, you can always trust that I make and enforce them with only what's best for you in mind.

3. Trust and Love Yourself

And we're back to you.You know what you want, you are smart enough to get what you want, so never doubt yourself because you're worth it. Your confidence has carried you this far, and I'm impressed. I trust you completely--except when you say I look old...but nobody's perfect.

That's it. That's all you need. Everything else fills itself in when you make those three ideas the base for which you live.

I love you, I am proud of you, and I see great things for you. If you ever lose your way, I am here. I may not be the best map reader on road trips, but for you, I will do everything in my power to get you back on track--especially one that will never involve putting me in a home.

Love you Forever and Always,

CF Winn is the award-winning author of The COFFEE BREAK SERIES, a quirky group of short stories meant to be read while on break or in the waiting room of the doctor’s office. Her first novella, SUKI, has been grabbing hearts and hugging souls all over the United States. 

You can now order SUKI in paperback at  or at BOOK REVUE, one of the nation’s largest independent bookstores, by email at Learn more about SUKI at BOOK REVUE. 

CF Winn is the founder of Winning! Publications, a firm specializing in editing and promotion services for authors. Her latest project is the just released Trailer Trash, With a Girl’s Name, a hilarious and heartwarming story of a boy saddled with a girl’s name and forced into a nomadic existence. Order it now: 


MaryMargaret Tucker said...

One of the most difficult thing in life from my perspective is boiling something so complicated, like daily life, and lifetimes, into a few truly enduring pieces of advice. You have done so beautifully, Chris! So congratulations to both of you, for having and trusting and believing in each other. You are both so truly blessed. Congratulations on this huge milestone, Ali! I know there will be many more so just keep doing what you are doing because it is working and confidence truly becomes you. Much love to you both...

CF Winn said...

Thank you! We are lucky girls!