My 18-year-old niece was nine when she drew this for me. What amazes me is that she coloured the flower stems to show that they were immersed in water. The child artist is now an adult and will soon graduate from high school. She is on the threshold of a big future. C is beautiful, funny, and intelligent. I remember how scared I was when I was at C's stage of life. Leaving home and moving to the city to attend university was nerve-racking. I had never lived in a town or city, never shared a room, never ridden a city bus, never had to be completely financially responsible for myself, never had to do my own laundry (mom had control-issues when it came to laundry). I felt like a goldfish in the vast Pacific ocean: lost and overwhelmed. I learned how to share a dorm-room, how to manage my money, how to ride a city bus, and how not to do my own laundry (being frugal I washed all the colours together). I made life-long friends, learned a lot and graduated. Then I moved to Toronto and was once again terrified. I had three jobs in order to pay my rent, pay my modest student loan, and buy meager groceries. Somehow I got through it, established more life-long friendships, and learned a lot along the way, including how to do my laundry properly (wash whites and colours separately). Since then I've married, moved to the other side of the world and back, graduated a few more times, and established a career. I faced each large transition with a healthy dose of fear and learned to make fear my friend. During one transition I read Susan Jeffers' Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway three times in a row. I've made LOTS of mistakes on this journey and I'll make plenty more.
C, I'm thinking of you as you embark on your post-secondary future. You don't have to figure it all out before you begin and you don't have to be perfect. It's OK to begin on one path and then change course. It's as important to learn how to fail as it is to learn how to succeed: you'll encounter both in your life. Whatever you decide to do, I wish for you the best and hope that you realize your full potential. Your family loves you and will stand behind you. C, you have one skill that I didn't have when I left home: you know how to do laundry. Bonus!