Twenty-two years ago I woke up for the first time a mother. I blinked and you’ve grown up. Today you are an amazing young woman. I am pleased, honored, and tickled pink to be a part of your life.
The world is definitely a better place because you are here, even though you’re far from perfect. (Actually I am EXTREMELY grateful for your imperfection, as it makes it easier for me since I am too.)
I love you being here. Knowing you exist. Watching you find your way, claiming your life as your own. I totally don’t understand what you do nor why you are passionate about what you do. That doesn’t matter. You being passionate about what you do and loving it is good enough for me. I’m rootin’ for you.
While I wish you smooth sailing in life, the reality is that’s not reality. You’ll hit torrential storms. They’re the nature of the beast we call Life. My wish is you weather each storm, coming out the other end wiser and stronger for having survived (even if a bit battered).
Take pride in who you are. In your accomplishments. They’re yours and well-earned. You used the time you were given to think, explore, and pursue your interests and passions wisely. (All while being accompanied by a whole bunch of clapping and cheering.)
As I first wished you on your 12th birthday (and many times since), “May your life be filled with cups of joy and only teaspoons of sorrow.” Happy 22nd year of life my darling child.
PS: For 22 years now I’ve mothered you. Some I got right. Some wrong. Overall, I’d say Right won out over the wrong. Here’s a baker’s dozen gleaned from the “Right” column. (Not in any particular order.)
1. Boundaries. Set them and keep them. Both for yourself and your children.
2. Chores, the actions necessary to keep a household going. Children are members of the household. They can contribute, and should. If they balk tell them to “Do it anyway.”
3. Love unconditionally. This should probably be first, last, and EVERYWHERE in-between.
4. Accept your imperfections, and theirs.
5. Apologize when warranted. Know that if you offer a sincere apology, you will be forgiven (though it may be hard for you to forgive yourself).
6. Remember you’re the Boss. Children need parenting. (When they become adults, you can reevaluate your relationship.)
7. Create Memories (a.k.a. Magic Moments). They add texture, beauty, and wonder to your life.
8. Simple is Good. We’ve come to equate complicated with intelligence, complex with value, and long-winded with importance. Dispel that notion.
9. Children don’t have to do it all nor have it all. Pick and choose.
10. It’s okay to cry. Crying doesn’t solve any problems; however, it is an emotional and cathartic release of tension, stress, and pressure.
11. High expectations. When you encourage children to aim for the stars, they’ll likely wind up a lot higher than the clouds.
12. Rituals and religion cause you to pause and reflect. There’s comfort in the continuity of weekly, monthly, and annual celebrations.
13. Sometimes there’s nothing to say. When the best you can do is “be” with your child, then “be” with your child.
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