Thursday, September 20, 2012

For My Girls (and hello out there!)

Dear Daughters,

Photo by cambiodefractal/flickr
 This has been rolling around in my brain for a few days. I saw a little something a mom wrote to her son and it had gone viral. It was pretty good, I’ll admit. And I thought to myself, well, what would I say to my girls, then?

 So here it is. Some of it might be profound (if I’m lucky) and some of it might just sound odd. Some of it is borne of painful first-hand experience, and some of it is just based on things I’ve seen and people I have known. I’m also quite sure it is incomplete. I’m only 38…there is still a lot I don’t know. I’ll think the same when I am 48 and 108 and every year in between, I’m sure. But so far, this is what I’ve got, and I’m your mother, so you should listen:

 • Learn. School is important and you will learn there, but that isn’t the only place you will learn. Listen to people, watch things, observe as much as you speak. Go to museums, watch documentaries, be up on current events. Read, read, read. You’d be surprised what is fascinating when you expand your horizons.

 • Know that alone and lonely are not the same thing. Love and stay close to your family, make lots of good and fun and interesting friends. These things will keep you from loneliness, even when you are all by yourself.

 • Love your sisters and maintain a good relationship with them. They have the same memories as you, have known you your whole life and love you like crazy. They are the best support system you could ask for.

• Have at least one honorary sister. You need someone to listen when you complain about your blood sisters.

 • Love and stay close to your brother. Sometimes you need a guy hug and he will always be good for that. Plus, it’s always nice to think he could kick someone’s butt for you, even if it’s more likely he’d just spitefully let the air out of their tires.

 • Marry (or commit to, whatever you want) the person you makes your life better just by being in it. Yes, I said person. I don’t care if it’s a man or a woman. Love is gorgeous and you deserve someone who loves you the way you love him/her.

 • Don’t settle. Good enough never is, well, good enough. If you want something, go after it. There is nothing that feels as good as a true sense of accomplishment.

 • Learn how to say “No,” without feeling guilty. You don’t need to do everything everyone asks. But say yes, too, sometimes. Sometimes things you dread become the best things you do.

 • Be careful with your credit, both financially and reputation wise. Honor your agreements and contracts and promises. No one respects a flake and you won’t respect yourself if you aren't as good as your word.

 • Be true. To yourself. To family. To friends. To ideals. To causes. To beliefs. But be willing to see other sides. Life is very gray. Black and white is boring. Gray can be beautiful.

 • Don’t just hear; listen. Not everyone says what they want you to know. Listening will help you realize that. Hearing will not.

 • Call your parents. Because even if you aren't doing what I recommend here, we will still love you. We have from the moment we found out you were on the way, and we always, ALWAYS will.

 • Be happy, but know that living life well isn’t just doing what you want. Life is complicated and messy. Sometimes you have to look for the happy. But it’s there. And when you can’t find it, talk to your family. We’ll help you look.

 • Be who you are. Sometimes that’s the hardest one. Embrace your mind and your body and your soul and your quirks and your strengths and even your weaknesses. You are awesome. Not being perfect or not being the best doesn’t mean you aren’t amazing. You are. Trust me.

 • As amazing as you are, you are not better than anyone else. Eat your humble pie and digest it well.

. • Be good and remember your manners, but don’t be anyone’s doormat.

 • It’s okay to cry. Everyone feels like a good sob occasionally, and sometimes life just stinks. Let it out.

 • Keep going. You can do it, whatever it is.

 • And lastly, not all advice is good, not even mine, but I mean well. It’s like a supply of bandages: you won’t know when you’ll need it, but apply what you do need, and stash the rest for later.

I love you the morest,