“Letters from Mom”

Mom wrote me hundreds of letters and would often send me greeting cards with snipped comics or articles from newspapers or magazines she thought I'd enjoy.

Somewhere towards the middle of my first semester of college I got really distraught because I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life or what the point of it all was. Fairly typical freshman stuff, I would think. Mom wrote me this letter of encouragement (?) just after Thanksgiving.

Good Morning, David!

Ok – well, you may not be reading this in the a.m., but that’s when I’m writing it. God, it’s great to have you home on weekends. Just, next time you come, could you promise to make some special time for Jenny? You both need it, and it’s too easy to let things slip by.

***** seems nice, but I already told you that. I like her proposal to you for a bet. I’m “pretty sure” you could win. She must be, too. Only thing is, it would be nice if you chose to do it just because you wanted to and not because I and your teachers and friends keep telling you that you can.

Maybe there’s a tiny spark of fear there that says, “I’m a phony. Maybe I can’t.” One thing my parents never truly instilled in me was the desire to focus on something and work hard to attain it. Oh, I’ve always worked pretty hard. But, “You can do anything; you’re so smart!” is a pretty heavy burden. I remember panicking, and I sense a little of that in you. (I think I’ve gone beyond grades here – but you understand.)

So what if you can’t? So what if you just try and the world finds out you’re not a genius? If that’s all you think is special about you, you’re missing the mark. That’s the least important thing about you, something didn’t choose and which, ultimately, has usually been a heavy burden for you. Suppose, instead, that people find out that you gave it a good shot, that your heart is the best thing about you, that your love is your gift? So what if you become a shoe salesman? In the end, none of that really matters — not what you are or how much money you have or whether or not you’re “important.” The only thing that matters, and I don’t quite understand why, is love, given and received.

So, back to grades. If you love my son David, you’ll decide what grades are best for him. And what courses. And what friends. And what lifestyle. (I’m talking “good” here, not just “fun.”)

I figure you’re headed in the right direction – you’re just going nuts on side trips. Just, please, don’t sacrifice too much to the god rebel. And don’t be afraid. And don’t be afraid.

You don’t have to be cool to be cool. Remember Fonzie?

Now I’m getting really deep! I’d better go. I love you sooooo much, David.