Someday years from now, there will be a day where you will think, "Gosh I wish Mom were here to tell me what to do." It's strange to hear, but it's true. I know there are times when I wonder what Grandpa Bob would tell me to do, but then again I wish I could have had that for ages.
So here are some things I really want you to take to heart.
1. I love you. Nothing, no one and no circumstance will ever, EVER make me love you any less. You are my daughter and no matter what I will always love you.
2. I am praying for you. Being 18 years old seems like such an adventure and I remember being so excited to embark on a new life. In truth if I could do it again I might have stayed closer to home and gone to Friends or WSU instead, but I also know I wouldn't trade my time at SNU for anything.
3. When I was 18 years old I didn't think I was worthy. I didn't think I deserved a good man. I made choices I would happily undo if I could, and yet I can't so please be so careful before making a serious life altering choice. Sex, marriage, college, the list could go on and on.
4. Not everyone who says they want what's best for you really means it. There are people who see that you have a kind heart, a forgiving heart and they will do their best to take advantage of that. I don't say this not knowing what I'm talking about, I say this because you have grown to follow me. I too had an extremely forgiving heart and nature and I still even now struggle with who to trust or trusting the wrong person. When those people prove they don't deserve my respect or trust, it is still heartbreaking to me.
5. Make sure you find a young man who truly values you. Any young man worthy of you will open doors for you, always walk on the outside of the sidewalk. He will never use your money, he will insist on taking care of you, not the other way around (even if he doesn't really say it out loud, but his actions do). A man worthy of you will want only what is best for you in EVERY area, spiritually, emotionally and physically. He will put your needs first and never use you or try to manipulate you. How do I know this? Because your dad does all of those things and more. He supports my choices, enforces the rules with me, not against me, Daddy would NEVER dream of letting me pay for dates so we could go out. In fact, when your dad and I were dating he always filled my gas tank before I left Wichita to go back to Oklahoma City, he checked my oil, bought me a working car radio because mine was broken and he ALWAYS handed me $20. When we married, that never stopped. He would come home after working third shift and make sure he took Lizzie downstairs so I could get some sleep, because he wanted to be sure I got plenty of rest. He made sure I had the clothing I needed and he created stability that wasn't there. Your dad was a gentleman who never tried to kiss me until I was ready and he didn't try to french kiss me until I was ready and he knew it. He respected me and never pushed me past my boundaries unless I was ready and he was and still is considerate in other intimate ways... ALWAYS! That's what a good man does for a woman he loves. He never promises to pick her up and take her then not call until after she has texted him a million times and says, "Oops so and so decided to bring someone else." Your dad would have called me and told me instead of allowing me to get dressed up and in warm clothing. Remember the Love Chapter - Love is not self-seeking. . . it always protects. . . and those are just a few small things it says about love. Which brings me to the next number.
6. You are worthy and you are never, ever in the way. This isn't just at our house, it's at Grandma Mary's house too. I know people in your life before you came to live with us made you feel that way, but Sarah we would love nothing more than to have you back home AND I know Grandma is thrilled you are there, she tells me all the time. You are worthy of so much, including love and I mean honest to goodness love.
7. If someone is telling you or encouraging you to make choices that are not what your Dad and I taught you, more than likely it's not correct. Living with anyone is a tough situation. Living with a young man is harder. Sexual tension, expectations, and often what happens is women end up taking on the caretaker role only to realize later it isn't returned. Any young man who values you and any person who values you will want you to make good choices.
Living with a man means many things, including he can leave whenever he wants. Don't misunderstand me, he can still leave if he marries you, but he can't marry another woman, or just walk away without legally going through some hoops in most states. If you want to know what living with someone is like, live in a college dorm, cut some of the drama and voila, you have it.
8. There will always be choices you wish you could have changed. It's a part of being human, we sometimes make bad decisions. The key is realizing after you've asked God's forgiveness that once He forgives you, YOU need to forgive you. Regret can become a cancer that will eat you up. Once it's done, it's done. Why do you think I tried to talk to you about watching what you say and thinking before you speak. It's very important because once you have said the words out loud, you can't take them back. BTW the same goes for writing. Be careful what you write, if you write something you don't want anyone else to see, burn it. OR you can just leave it between you and God and keep some thoughts in your head.
9. You are really known by the company you keep. If you want to have a good outlook on life, hang around people who are positive and uplifting. If you want to miserable all of the time, then hang out with people who are miserable. But remember, usually how others act rubs off on us, the same goes for music, movies and books. If you want to have a good outlook, then reading dark and morbid books or listening to depressing music is not the way to go. It wasn't until after I realized this and began changing what music I listened to and the books that I read as well as my friends that life became a little more sunny. I didn't become Pollyanna overnight, but the changes came gradually.
Last, but absolutely not the least. Dad and I are so proud of you. You could easily have made different choices in life, you could have done many things, but you have worked hard to overcome challenges from your childhood. You are an amazing young woman and we are so thrilled you are enjoying college. I know right now some of it is boring, but hang in there, it gets more challenging.
I love you, Sarah.