Look at you both, one about to graduate from college and the other getting ready to study abroad for a year. You must be so proud of what you have accomplished thus far and pleased to see where your hard work has taken you. It hasn’t always been easy but you have persevered thanks to your evolving maturity and strong values.
There is nothing more rewarding as a parent, than to watch your children thrive and become caring and happy adults. This is what your father and I have always wanted for you and will continue to want in the years to come.
You have heard the same messages from both of us from a very young age. Scatter kindness. Be compassionate. Empathize. Help those in need. As annoying as those messages may seem, as you continue to grow, I can only hope that they become second nature.
My message to you as you embrace the next stage of your young life, is to strive to become the best version of yourself that you can possibly be. You may reach your career goals and feel you are succeeding but as your mother I can tell you with certainty, that true success is measured by your integrity and kindness towards others. Nothing else comes even close.
Go out there, always remembering what is most important. Treat others with respect, put yourself in others’ shoes, imagine what someone may be going through, give them the benefit of the doubt and think with your heart, always. Success and happiness will follow when you truly love yourself and can share that love with those around you.
Be open-minded. Embrace the differences in others. Be flexible and willing to try new things even if it means stepping out of your comfort zone. Absorb the experiences fully because they all count in ultimately making you the person you will become.
Be proud of your heritage and your culture. Don’t be afraid to share all parts of yourself to others. Never feel shame for what you are or where you come from, instead, be the good example of your race and ethnicity to combat the unfair judgements and misunderstandings others have formed. You have watched me embrace the pride in my culture and raise my head up high when discriminated against. You are half Puerto Rican, it is a part of you, carry that part of you proudly through out your life.
Life is not fair. Bad things will happen. Things will not go as planned and life will be cruel at times. You will hurt and feel undeserving of such struggles and wonder how you will survive them. I can’t protect you from the obstacles you will face and may not be able to make them go away, but I will always be there to listen and most importantly, to model and illustrate the coping mechanisms I have learned throughout my life when dealing with adversity.
You have both observed me struggle with my health issues and have seen how I have been able to move forward, in spite of them. You have watched me refuse to be a victim of my circumstances and steer you away from blaming others for your pain.
Your father has been the example of what having integrity looks like. An honest, compassionate man who has sacrificed his needs for all of us. Always willing to give of himself to make us happy all while demonstrating and balancing his extraordinary work ethic. A man who never tires of doing for others in the community and who has made a significant impact on others’ lives.
My beautiful children, I carry you both in my heart, always. I wish you only the best as you face, head on, your new experiences. I hope that there is always room in your hearts for your father and I and for the beliefs we have instilled in you.
No one else in this world loves you more.