Viv turns two next month, and I’m already panicked by the thought that she will not always live under my roof. To help calm my fears, I’ve drafted a letter full of sound parental wisdom that I plan to give my daughter when it’s time for her to leave the nest.
Tomorrow, you’re headed off to college. Your Dad and I are so fucking proud of you. What, you didn’t know mom dropped F-bombs? I’ve been saving them up until you left the house. Your poor Dad is going feel like he’s living with Sam Kinison.
Since your high school years were not nearly as tortured and awkward as your mother’s, perhaps you will not feel the need to go full Girls-Gone-Wild bananas in college like I did, but just in case, here are some helpful guidelines:
Do not drink the punch. It’s flammable and toxic and boys have most definitely peed in there. If you must drink, stick with beer, which will hopefully fill you up before you can poison yourself.
Please don’t do drugs. But if you’re going to try drugs, do like mom always taught you at Whole Foods and buy organic.
When you go out at night, always use the buddy system. (Your buddy is a nice girl from your dorm. Preferably a Mormon.) When that cute lacrosse player wants to show you the roof of his fraternity house, ask yourself, is my buddy here? No? Then go find her and walk home together.
No naked photos. If some boy you like really needs a permanent record of your boobs, suggest that he draw you from life, Titanic style. He supplies the diamond.
Make friends with girls. Guys can also be terrific friends, but until the When Harry Met Sally theory of gender relations is formally disproven, some of those friendships may be lost to unrequited feelings or bad kissing. Girls are for life.
Speaking of permanence, I hear tattoo removal is quite painful.
Don’t automatically skip the opening band. The Beastie Boys once opened for Madonna.
If someone offers you a chance to march on Washington for a cause you believe in, go. This rarely happens after college, and never again does it come with a shiny bus and matching t-shirts.
Courses like philosophy, art history and literature will open your mind, unveil the beauty in the world and make you really good at crossword puzzles. That said, it wouldn’t hurt to take an accounting class.
I know it’s more convenient, but remember that texting will never be as satisfying as an in-person conversation. Would you rather have a pizza described to you, or delivered to your door?
And one more thing I learned in college a few times over: a broken heart feels like the end of the world, but it’s just the beginning – as well as the foundation for all the best songs and poetry.
Viv, I hope you’ll take some of this advice to heart, but whether you do or not, I’ll still be there whenever you need me. Once upon a time I knew a lot about great novelists and boys. I can still talk with some authority about boys. (Or should you fall in love with girls, I’m a quick study.)
I’m so excited for you. As it says in our storybook, I love all that you will be, and everything you are.
Love you madly,