If I could dedicate my college experience to one person

I’ve always been jealous of movies and books. They get to dedicate a project to someone and have that person be honored for everyone to see.

We should be able to do that with life experiences. I guest the best way to sort of make that happen is to write a blog about it.

I would like to dedicate my college experience to my mom.

She’s the one who pushed me to get here. She did the research to see what grades and achievements I would need to get into the school in the first place.

She made the love of UNC transcend sports for me. She made it a real place where I could learn and grow and she told me stories of how she did the same.

She humbly warned me about making mistakes she had made and her honesty made her wisdom so much more tangible and real.

She made me her writer. Yes, the English genes did get passed down, but she always encouraged me to write and read and to love the language.

She never pushed me to be in any of her classes, but when I was, i can say without bias it was one of the greatest classes I have ever taken. Honors Creative Writing was fun and it was carefree. It taught me so much about how to say what I need to say, helped me rid myself of angst through exercises, and introduced me to the incomparable Roy Peter Clark.

She’s a fantastic writer and a killer editor. She spends her days teaching writing to middle school and high school kids. If you’re out of there, you know how hard that can be with the personalities and the attitudes all over the place. But she works so hard every single day to teach them, to get them to a point where they can thrive as writers

She taught me that sometimes you don’t want to do stuff but you have to do it anyway. She works so, so hard. She’s brilliant but it’s the fact she never quicks hustling that I will never forget.

She taught me about rest. That we can’t work without it. That we shouldn’t work without it because resting is a testament to our trust that God can work out everything in our lives.

She taught me that it’s okay to take three hours at a home goods store to relax and take everything in. There’s no use in rushing through life, and it’s important to stop and smell the roses and look at all the small unicorn jewelry dishes.

She’s careful to make sure I’m going to church and that I’m doing godly things. I sigh and roll my eyes because of course I am, but I know that I haven’t wavered because I want to, above much else, make her proud.

She is the best person in the world to talk on the phone with. She is good in person to talk to in person, but I’m especially excited about the phone thing because I am moving away. She is calming. She tells good stories. She knows when to talk when I am emotional and need to take a deep breath.

She made me slow down and look at New York. I move so fast and I’m always trying to move to the next thing, but she made me appreciate every silly building and every little shop.

Some other things she taught me: How to save money. How to shop. How to write. How to read (before I went to kindergarten!) How to do crafts. How to find crafts to do online. How to host parties. How to write a meaningful Instagram caption. How to clean. How to pack. How to know when you need to leave something. How to know when you need to leave a conversation. How to be in a sorority. How to laugh when you don’t want to. How to mourn. How to guess people’s personalities. How to paint my nails. How to find out what clothes are going to be cool next season. How to diet. How to make food even when you hate cooking. How to raise a family while still working your butt off. How to have a strong relationship with the Lord. How to drink coffee. The importance of taking pictures of everything. How to tell if a photo is blurry (ask someone else). How to hustle. How to stop and look around. The list goes on and on and on.

Sometimes we are like fire and gasoline to each other because we are both very emotional, but I know she’s driven by the desire to teach me and make me tough and the best I can be, and I’m driven by the passion of making her proud of me.

And I’m extremely emotional right now and I have been since yesterday morning when I visited my mom at work for the last time before I move. I have never been emotional about moving before — I wasn’t last summer when I moved to New York, and I always love change and excitement.

When I was saying goodnight to my mom last night and telling her about my symptoms of sadness like it was a physical disease, I realized something — I’m really freakin gonna miss my mom.

I’m gonna miss saying goodnight every night and getting hugs and butting heads and helping out and hearing about her day. I guess there are other ways of doing that, and I’ve been away at college for four years I should be more chill about this, but it feels more permanent.

Mom. Wow. I’m going to miss you more than anything. More than my big room or my childhood bed or the stocked fridge or the weird quirks of my dog. Of course I will miss my brothers and my dad, but there’s something so significant about my mom that can never be replicated or duplicated.

Thank you for the wisdom and the love and the money (gosh!) and the humor and the grace and the patience and everything. Thank you for everything.

I hope I make you proud, mom. I dedicate my college years to you, and heck, the next chapter too. I love you. Call me even when I say I’m busy.

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