College Orientation: A Letter to My Daughter As You Embark on the Next Step of Your Life's Journey by Elisa Schmitz

Teens Motherhood
5 years ago

College Orientation: A Letter to My Daughter As You Embark on the Next Step of Your Life's Journey

Dear Jules,

I just got back from a beautiful 24 hours with you in Milwaukee. Together, we attended your college orientation, and I could not have been more proud of the strong young woman you have become.

I watched you register for classes. I’ll never forget the joy on your face when you chose four studio art courses. You’ve never had the “luxury” of just being able to focus on your art. This semester at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, you will be immersed in that which brings you joy. You will be challenged artistically like never before, but you will express your creativity in various forms of media and explore and develop your process. I am so happy for you.

It hasn’t been a easy journey to get to this place. There have been roads you thought you were taking, from which you ended up retreating. There have been anxious times when we didn’t know the right path, and nothing felt quite right. You have done a lot of soul searching (and world searching) to find the right place for you. I hope and I believe, in my heart, that you have found it.

That’s not to say that everything will come easily for you. You may have occasional doubts and still have your challenges. But I am hopeful that these will be good challenges; the kind that help you grow and evolve. You will learn and adapt and become even more resilient. You will understand how the beauty of what you create also can help you launch a career. You will find like-minded people with whom you can collaborate. I am so excited for you.

In the last 24 hours, we explored your new neighborhood, we ate (too much) sushi, we shopped, stocked, cleaned and organized your apartment, we worked pretty hard and then we relaxed and watched a fun Disney movie, "Coco." Disney has been a big part of our life, and watching Pixar films is probably one of our favorite things to do together. And who knows, maybe one day you’ll be working at Disney animating films! 

In a sea of memorable moments together from this trip, I think my favorite one may have been on the way back from Target. Dark Horse by Katy Perry came on my Pandora station and we cranked it through the car’s speakers. Katy Perry was your first-ever real concert. I took you and your sister, Cassie, to see Katy live when you were only 15. We had such a great time that night. Maybe that’s why in the car on the way back from shopping, we looked at each other and almost simultaneously started head-bobbing in sync. Then, singing. Then, seat-dancing. We were in rare form, Jules. It was a moment of pure magic (“So you wanna play with magic? Boy, you should know what you’re falling for...”).

After working together to organize your place, your new home-away-from-home looks fantastic. It’s a haven for you to focus on school, and your health and happiness. When you invited me to stay over, I felt so special. I can’t remember the last time we had an uninterrupted 24 hours together. I got to see so many sides of you – the fun, the playful, the generous, the intelligent, the creative, the serious, the determined, the shy, the worried, the excited, the hopeful. And so much more. I love the whole you. 

It was among the best times we’ve spent together. I was filled with joy and yet, when I dropped you off for day two of your orientation, after parents were dismissed, I had a lump in my throat and more than a few tears in my eyes. As you got out of the car, I tried to coax a smile by making a bad mom joke (“Play nice with the others!”), which you didn’t find funny. But then as you walked away, I called to you: “I’m glad you’re wearing the elephant bracelets I brought you from Thailand. They’ll bring you good luck!” That’s when you smiled and gave me a thumbs up. Jules, you melted my heart. As I watched you walk into the building, the tears flowed. I am so proud of you.

You’ll always be my baby, but today, you are well on your way to becoming the empowered young woman I see in you (not unlike Katy Perry). Thanks for picking me to be your mom. I am blessed and I am grateful. Now, go show them what you can do. I believe in you, 100 percent. You’ve got this. You really do!

I love you,

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Elisa Schmitz
This was an emotional one to write. But, it just flowed from me. College drop off is so emotional. We want the best for our kids, and for them to be healthy and happy. We have to hope that the lessons and tools we tried to impart have stuck, and our kids will find them as they need them throughout their lives. I know so many of you can relate. Hugs to all of my fellow parents. And to our kids, you really do "got this!!" Donna John Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead Renee Herren Nicole DeAvilla Chef Gigi Gaggero Holly Budde Meredith Schneider Kelli Schulte Sheryl Gould Cheryl Leahy Jan Mostrom Kathy Ast-Kutzbach Stacie Ast-Kutzbach Dieter Schmitz Mindy Hudon, M.S., CCC-SLP Dr. Christina Hibbert Sheri B Doyle Jessica Acree Mike Prochaska Tiffany Zook Dr. Shayna Mancuso Dr. Sarah Allen Margaret Steck Eirene Heidelberger Beth Aldrich, CHC, AADP, CNT Michael Kennedy Heather Frey Rick Peter Joan Plenty Kandice Cole Kaira Rouda Vicki Shanta Retelny, RDN Marge Jesberger
Kandice Cole
Elisa All Schmitz 30Seconds This is beautiful! I cried! My little one is only 2, but I feel like it's going to fast. Bravo to your daughter for following her passion. She is so blessed to have you as her mom!
Elisa Schmitz
Thank you so much, Kandice Cole ! That means the world to me. Hug your toddler tight for me - they grow up way too fast. HUGS!
Michael Kennedy
You knew I would absolutely love this. So, so wonderful. I'm proud of your daughter and I've never even met her. Thank you for sharing.
Elisa Schmitz
I was hoping you would feel this one, Michael Kennedy . I admire your writing so much, and this one, I just felt I had to share with you. Many thanks for your kind words. They really mean so much!
Kathy Ast
This is so sweet and tender - one of my favorite things you’ve ever written. I’m so happy you got to spend that precious time with Jules. All your memories warm my heart. 💜
Elisa Schmitz
Thank you so much, Kathy Ast-Kutzbach . That really means so much to me. Love you!
Ann Marie Patitucci
Oh, Elisa All Schmitz 30Seconds , this brought tears to my eyes. I'm so glad you shared this with us. What a sweet story of your time with Jules. I'm so thrilled that you two were able to experience such a special time together.
Elisa Schmitz
Thank you so much, Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead . I appreciate your kind feedback and support, always! xoxo
This is so sweet
Belinda Lichty Clarke
She is a beautiful, talented firework! And you are a supportive and loving mom. xo
Elisa Schmitz
You are so sweet to say that, Belinda Lichty Clarke ! Thank you so much, my friend! xoxo
Terri Kendrick
This is such a special letter that I am sure your daughter will treasure forever!
Elisa Schmitz
I hope so, Terri Jones . It is so hard at this age, and I just want her to feel unconditionally loved and supported. I so appreciate your kind words! xo
Darrell Hemsley
The art of letting go can be challenging, but what captivated me the most about this article is the pure beauty of you and you daughters relationship. The bond is very strong and not one that everyone has such as myself. You’ve inspired me to strive harder to have a better relationship with my mom. A mother’s love is eternal, relentless, undying and special. Thank you for sharing.
Elisa Schmitz
Thank you for sharing this, Darrell Hemsley ! That means so much to me. The parent-child relationship is often difficult, but I'm just trying to let her (and her siblings) know that they are unconditionally loved and always supported. No matter what. That I believe in them and respect their choices. I hope you and your mom can connect. I know she loves you, and you are right, a mom's love is ALWAYS and FOREVER. I haven't even met you yet but I can tell you are a very special person. Thank you for being here and enriching our community!
Mindy Hudon, M.S., CCC-SLP
Beautiful! I know how hard it is to let them go and grow! You are an amazing mom and role model for your children! Thanks for sharing this beautiful moment!
Margaret Steck
So sweet and special, Elisa All Schmitz 30Seconds! Thanks so much for sharing that tender moment. I've no doubt that if Jules is anything like you, she'll go on to do great things!
Elisa Schmitz
Thank you, Gail Harris , Mindy Hudon, M.S., CCC-SLP and Margaret Steck ! Your kind words mean so much. I appreciate you, my friends! ❤️
Meredith Schneider
Oh my goodness Elisa All Schmitz 30Seconds, this is so beautiful! My glasses fogged up from my tears. As I was reading this I couldn't help think about my 3 daughters. You are an incredible mom. xoxo Love you!
Holly Budde
She’s so lucky to have you. I read this and it brought me to tears. “Be who you needed when you were younger”. You’re amazing Elisa All Schmitz 30Seconds thank you for sharing.
Elisa Schmitz
Thank you, Meredith Schneider and Holly Budde . Your kind words mean so much. I am still feeling emotional from this experience. It really helps to share it here with you, my friends. I so appreciate your support and friendship. And yes, Holly - trying to be who I needed when I was her age. Love you both!
Jessica Acree
This is so lovely! What a special bond you have! I only hope to achieve the same many years from now when my little bird jumps from the nest. <3
Elisa Schmitz
Thank you so much for your kind feedback, Jessica Acree . I have no doubt you will have the strongest of bonds with your daughter. It is the best feeling in the world. Sending hugs to both of you! xoxo
This melted my heart! ❤️

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