Dear Daughter: A Love Letter to my Girl

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Dear Daughter,

It’s been less than a week since I left you at USC and it’s all still so surreal to me.

30 years after grandma left me at USC I was now doing the same with you. I had prepared for that moment for as long as I can remember and yet unloading your boxes and moving them into your dorm room still felt at times like an out of body experience. I went through a roller coaster of emotions in the day and a half I spent helping you get acclimated to your new home away from home. It brought back so many memories for me. Back when I arrived at USC I was nervous and shy. Not you! You were so comfortable and confident that I couldn’t help but feel relieved. Whatever anxiety we may have felt when we left that morning appeared to dissipate the minute you stepped on campus. You were right where you belonged and I could feel it every bit as much as I’m sure you did. Seeing how quickly you connected to your roommate made me smile inside. My USC roomie Nancy, as you know, became and remains my best friend. I couldn’t wait to call her on my way home to Arizona to tell her how I think you found your Nancy! We giggled remembering those early days and how having each other made the adjustment so much easier. I’m so happy you have someone you enjoy to share this experience with.

photo 2-5The morning before I left campus, seeing you in the black robe for the new student procession and convocation brought-on a constant flow of tears. USC didn’t have such a ceremony when I was there so this was a new experience for me too. When the USC President talked about the caliber of the new students in front of him, I cried. You were one of them and hearing him thank YOU for choosing USC and officially welcoming YOU to the Trojan family cemented your place in a tradition that has been such a point of pride in our family. You are officially a third generation Trojan now and you earned your place there with the hard work and dedication you have put toward your studies, your community and your character through the years. These next four years you will be challenged intellectually beyond anything you’ve ever experienced and you’ll be exposed to some of the best minds in the world. Embrace every second of it. As the USC President said so perfectly during the convocation, “The choices you make today will shape who you are tomorrow.” I cried again at that moment almost as much as I cried when I said good-bye to you just a short time later. I cried because as much as I know your dad was with us that day beaming from heaven, he wasn’t there to physically share it with us and for that I will always cry. He wanted nothing more than for you to carry on the Trojan family legacy and while I know he would have supported you no matter where you ended up – this is a dream come true. I did cry after I left you. But rest assured, they were tears of joy. Pure joy. You were content, excited and in your comfort zone. Nothing makes me happier. This is your time to shine and these next four years – you will shine brighter than any of us has ever seen. You are already amazing going into USC. I get chills just thinking about the even more remarkable person you will be when you come out.

Fight on, baby girl! I am so very proud of you.



  • Traci 5 years ago

    Thank you for sharing these beautiful words about your daughter and your mom. The love you share is awe inspiring. God Bless you all!

    • Catherine Anaya 5 years ago

      Thank you Traci, I appreciate you taking the time to read and for your kind words :)

  • Teresa Castro 5 years ago

    Very beautiful letter to your daughter, I feel so happy and proud for you my friend. You’re an amazing mom and you had the best role model, your mom. Congratulations!

    • Catherine Anaya 5 years ago

      Aww, thank you Teresa! I’m so proud. A mama’s work is never done, as you know, but I take comfort knowing I prepared her for this next journey and she’s ready for the adventure 😉 xo

  • Rachael Taylor 5 years ago

    Very beautiful. Yes her Dad is with you all watching from above. Along with generations of other families who have dropped off their USC college students. You have raised a beautiful young smart talented lady who will go far. Be proud. Xoxo we love you all. Thank you for sharing your family with everyone.

    • Catherine Anaya 5 years ago

      Thank you, Rachel. She’s so happy that it’s hard for me to be sad. I miss her face but take comfort in the fact that she has prepared for this for years and she will soar with her angel guiding her every step of the way :) Thank you for sharing in my family adventures 😉 xo

  • Mary 5 years ago

    Great job, Catherine !

    • Catherine Anaya 5 years ago

      Thank you, Mary! Thank you for reading!! xo

  • Christine 5 years ago

    Beautifully written. It’s a pleasure to follow your blog, Catherine!

    • Catherine Anaya 5 years ago

      Thank you, Christine! It is from the heart and means the world to me that you would take the time to follow :) xo

  • Angie Hernandez 5 years ago

    Beautiful! You done good mama!!!

    • Catherine Anaya 5 years ago

      Thank you so much, Angie :)

  • Martha "Mom" Basco 5 years ago

    Wow! I have a huge lump in my throat!
    Since last October, I have seen you demonstrate such valor in the face of more challenges than one person should ever face at once. And you have met, and toppled, each one with the strength and determination of an army.
    Through it all, Doug, Briana, Christian, and Dave’s spirit, have been the wind beneath your wings, and the reason you soar high and succeed in all of your endeavors.
    It has been my honor to witness your successes, personally and professionally for decades. But, watching you go through the preparation of Bri attending USC is now my #1.
    We now share a very special rite of passage that fills our hearts with pride for our daughter, but gives us pride in ourselves too, affirming that we did one thing sooo right.
    Thank you for insisting that I come to AZ with you. It fills my heart with joy to see your happiness every time she calls, and hear your excitement as you two discuss her events of the day, throughout the day.
    All of this reaffirms your reason for retiring, as does watching you take Christian to the batting cages, and doing homework with him every day.
    For reasons you know, I had my reservations about you bringing me to AZ, but I am so happy you did. I know that Bri will thrive in L.A., and you will do great in AZ. And if your worlds are fine, so will mine be! Thank you both for that! Love you all. ♡♡♡♡
    Fight on, Bri! Fight on, Cath! And fight on, Martha!

    • Catherine Anaya 5 years ago

      Thank you, Mommy! Just got tears reading this because for the week you were here you did get a front row seat to this new life of mine. It’s not perfect, but it’s perfectly mine and every day my decision to be present for them is reaffirmed. The small victories are huge victories. This is the most challenging but most important thing I will ever do. Thank you for the love and support. Miss you – and your cooking 😀 xo

  • Lou Ann Latter 5 years ago

    I’ve loved following you on your blog, Cathy….sooo special to feel a part of your taking Briana to college, your day school clothes shopping with Christian….just like it was for me shopping with Dave, his dad. I have so many fond memories of time spent together in the past and am so proud of Dave and your beautiful, smart Briana and Christian.

    • Catherine Anaya 5 years ago

      Thank you, LouAnn – so happy you are following the blog and can follow along in their journeys. Dave is so proud right now, I just know it. They are thriving because he is the wind beneath their wings and they will continue to soar because of it. xoxo

    • Lou Ann Latter 5 years ago

      How special Martha will be joining you in Arizona…sounds perfect for all of youl Hope all works out! Martha has always been such a special person to me and I’m sure this move will make her very happy! Love to all of you! lou ann

      • Catherine Anaya 5 years ago

        It was a nice little escape for her LouAnn and nice for me to have a sounding board for all the emotions with Briana gone. She’s back home now but I will send her your love :) xo

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