Dear Nick

Nick, my spectacular little brother,

Today you are about to begin the next big chapter of your life. A few months ago, you graduated from high school. After a nice long, hot girl summer (just kidding), you are moving into your college dorm. Being the youngest of three siblings, you are the last to leave the nest. It is time to say goodbye to the life you have always known.

It is time to say goodbye to the house you have watched go through several additions and projects, the basement you have played and mastered countless video games in, and the bedroom you have slept in for the last 18 years. It is time to say goodbye to the smell of mom’s homemade banana nut bread baking in the oven as well as the walls that have been nicked, damaged and painted over countless times as a result of our air-soft wars and wrestling matches gone wrong. Not to mention our furry golden who knows you as his very best friend. Believe me, he is just as sad to see you go as mom and dad are.

It feels like just yesterday we were staying up until three in the morning playing zombies and finishing off whole Taco Bell party packs together, trying not to make too much noise that would wake up our parents sleeping on the floor just above us. Do not be mistaken, they heard every last cuss word that came out of our mouths.

College is the one place you can truly venture out and explore anything you want…take full advantage of this. Try new foods, join weird clubs and talk to as many new people as possible. Walk into each new experience with a smile and leave with a memory you’ll never forget.

That being said, take as many pictures, videos and snapchats as possible. This may be more of a girl thing, but I promise you will only regret the ones you didn’t take, and the memories you didn’t save. Know you are saving them for yourself of course, because Lord knows if I find them they’re blackmail.

Take note of the things that you love and truly make you happy like Mountain Dew, microwave popcorn and funny vine/youtube videos. At college out of state and hours away from home, I’m sure you’ll get a little homesick or feel lonely at some point; we all do. And that’s completely okay. You will be surprised at just how much all of those little things, like a glass of lemonade, can bring you comfort when professors are assholes with assignments, you’re weeks behind on laundry and cannot seem to find anything because your room (and life) seems to be a complete cluster fuck. We’ve all been there.

In addition to finding happiness in small things when you feel down or a little lonely, remember to call home. As much as you can. You don’t need a reason to call either. Trust me, mom and dad are not going to know what to do with the silence, and are waiting anxiously for you to fill them in on your life and daily activities. It might sound strange, but keep in mind they were by your side every day for 18 years helping you with homework, organizing your schedule, and cheering you on at every football, baseball, basketball and bowling match. Believe me, they wish they could be there to help you succeed in whatever it is that you venture into at school, but know it is time for you to flourish in these things on your own. Nevertheless, we are all dying to know how you are doing and would love to hear from you.

Also, remember that you can call me. At any time, for any reason, or none at all. Calling your older sister may not sound like the coolest thing in the world, but trust me, I will be dying to know how you are doing too, and that you are having the time of your life with your new friends and teammates. There is absolutely nothing I would not do for you. I will be just a text or a call away if you need to vent, cry, want girl advice or need a partner to stay up late with and play Xbox with, and I’d be ecstatic to do so.

Speaking of girls, if there is one that you like, don’t hesitate in striking up a conversation. You are such a bright, strong, smart and kind young man…the kindest I have ever met in my entire life. All biases aside and as a girl who has had more than her fair share of heartbreak, any girl would be insanely lucky to have such a wonderful person like you come into their life and make them happy. Turn into a player though and I’ll have to drive down and kick your ass…just saying.

Set your dreams, aspirations and goals high. Set them so high that people would laugh at them if they heard them, and then don’t stop pushing yourself until you get there. You will be surprised at just how capable you are with the many talents God has blessed you with, and I can’t wait to see how you learn to use them as you grow.

I’m sure, as you are the last sibling to leave, you have noticed over the years how college has changed your older brother and I, and know in your heart that college will change you as well. Do not be afraid or let this intimidate you, for you are on your way to becoming the person you are meant to be. God has a wonderful plan for you and it is important that you keep that in your mind at all times because that will help you tremendously even in the most stressful of times. I know it does for me.

It is my greatest hope that you know just how much you are loved by your parents, your brother and myself. We have all had the amazing experience of watching you grow up into the incredible young man you are today, and know without a doubt that your future is bright, and the sky truly is the limit on the things you can accomplish. You have an incredible amount of strength, your kindness is overwhelming and you are way smarter than you think you are. Your energy lights up every room you walk into, and never let anyone or anything keep you from being your smiling, hilarious, goofy ass self. I could not be more proud of the person you are and I am extremely blessed to be able to call such a beautiful soul like yourself my little brother.

I hope you have the most wonderful move in and transition to college, and remember I will be anxiously waiting for your first call.

All my love, your older sister,