My younger cousin is graduating from college. Penn State University Class of 2020 School of Engineering. I’m so proud of this dude I could explode.

He and I had one of those really deep talks that you walk away from knowing that it really mattered. Knowing that it was an important conversation.

“Everything is going to be different in August”, he told me referring to the fact that he’d be back home and not up at school–working at an engineering firm and not worrying about physics exams.

Right before he went away to college, I gave him a piece of advice that we both said in unison when I asked if he remembered it; “Do dumb shit. Just not too much dumb shit.”

We laughed together and then I told him that I had a new piece of advice for the oncoming change. I told him simply, “keep developing.”

But it was what he said to me that has left me kind of speechless.

“When you came back from California, that was good, we needed you.”

It’s important to know your worth, because it truly is endless. But sometimes we need a gentle reminder of the high regard we hold in people’s lives.

They need that too. So, don’t forget to tell someone that you really love just exactly how much you love them.

That’s what Aaron did for me and my heart needed it. I didn’t even realize that my heart needed it. But it did.

My three younger cousins have always made me feel like I was some kind of hero. From Avi being so little that I’d fly her over my head while she yelled “Airplane!”  to them all being at my band’s farewell show with signs waving wildly in the air while they screamed for us.

Aaron, you’re walking into something new and unknown. But you have the best heart and it’s guiding you every day. I know you will know always what to do. 

Autumn, my future doctor, you touch every heart that you come near.

Avi, graduating high school and going directly to Penn State, your intellect has stunned me since you were a little girl. And also a big CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! for graduating! I know this isn’t the high school graduation you had in mind and I hope you can find some comfort in knowing how many people really do love and care so much for you. Here’s to you my 2020 graduate, I love you.

All three of you have taught me and shown me that there’s nothing more important than family.

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