The school year starts Monday and it’s monumental for the Guzzio kids. First year of high school, middle school and youngest about to wrap up elementary school. I have vowed not to say the typical back to school parent comments: “Where does the time go?”, “They were just babies”, “How on earth do I have a child in high school?”
Truth be told, I am more emotional about Robbie starting high school than any other milestone. But not based on the before mentioned sentiments. Sure I loved when he was a baby, but it’s more that I am so proud of who he is and want to embrace the now. Today.
All summer I thought of this. You are just ready. Even if heading into this new chapter means it ends that much quicker, it is exciting for all us. My hope is I am here to help you to continue to work hard, set goals to meet them and make good choices.
So here are things I want you to know as you begin this journey:
1. There is no one path. Listen for the pieces of life that excite you, that make you feel full and engaged and go towards them.
2. Play. Join. Volunteer. Work. Help others. Try something new.
3. Talk to me. Talk to Dad. Talk to the amazing adults in your life — you have been blessed with plenty. The combination of us have heard it, seen it, done it all. We can handle it. You are not alone.
4. Stay organized. Stay neat. Honor the details. This will serve you always.
5. Kind before cool. Think about how you talk to and about others. Think about what you say and how you say it. Be good to people.
8. Be proud of yourself, your peers, your school. Try out, participate, play. Compete, sweat, learn to win and lose. But just play the game, not for a scholarship or the big leagues, but because you love it and you love how it makes you feel and grow and learn about yourself and about life.
9. Be a serious student. You were given a creative, strong and curious mind. Challenge it. Ask questions. Think critically. Do not take for granted your abilities. Love to learn and carry that always.
10. Build relationships in abundance — with your classmates, with older and younger students, teachers and coaches — because we learn the most from each other.
11. Be that friend.
12. Be safe. Wear your seatbelt. No speeding! Don’t drive distracted. Sober drive, sober ride. Please, please, please stay the hell away from pills, powder, and needles. And shots of things and chugging things and competitions about who drinks the most of things. Call me. Call me. Call me.
13. Wait for sex. Please. You come from people that make babies early and often. And someday, if you find yourself in love and unable to wait another minute — know consent means two people verbally, deliberately, clearly saying the word “Yes.” Not sure? Wait! Body sharing is not casual business. But if you must, wear a condom. Every damn time, wear a condom. Babies & STIs — they’re the real deal. The realest.
14. Save those dollars. That’s college knocking. All hands on deck.
15. Be funny and playful and ridiculous. Stay up late and sleep in, laugh until it hurts and don’t take yourself too seriously. Let the child in you live always.
16. Take risks and mess up. Preferably in a typical, correctable, healthy, learn-from-your-mistakes kind of way. But still, be vulnerable and brave enough to always reach and grow and stumble beyond what you thought was possible.
You’ve grown taller than me. You’ve even grown away from me — pushing back, questioning — becoming an individual with thoughts, beliefs, ideas and experiences separate from the whole. All of this, as hard as it can be to face, is the point of raising children — to grow you up, out, and away. So we start the great journey of high school August 28, the final frontier between childhood and your future.
Some of this is for Charlie too, starting the 6th grade. My middle child in middle school. Luckily, he and all of us have learned from Robbie forging the path but Chuckles has his own compass for self-direction.
And the last one, the girl, the crazy little lady who couldn’t wait to start school and follow in the footsteps of her big brothers.
You Belong with Me, today and every day. Our special drives alone for the next two years listening to Taylor Swift are going to be epic.
I know the time will pass quickly and they will be off living their own lives, but for now I will enjoy each day with morning talks while making zillions of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, watching football and coaching field hockey games, hearing about academic success and what interest them and saying good night. Some days that might include an extra big hug.