Sunday, May 20, 2012

By the time you're old enough to read this, I'm sure you'll ignore what I have to say

Sweet Caroline,

Just finished another wonderful Sunday with you. I struggle to get through the work week, only seeing you for a precious couple hours a day. Were it not for the fact that it would turn you into an unmanageable terror, I would let you stay up even later than your ungodly late bedtime of 9pm. Let people raise their eyebrows all they want, but we've got you on a sweet schedule of sleeping 9pm-9am and I would rather have more time with you at night and SLEEP IN than see your shining smile at 7 in the morning.

There are a few pieces of advice I'd like to give you, though I know you'll probably ignore them. As my daughter, it's your job to roll your eyes at whatever I try to tell you, only to realize years down the road that it would've saved you a lot of heartache to listen to your momma the first time around. There's nothing I can say or do to stop you from learning most of your lessons the hard way, but I'll try anyway.

1. Don't ever let your sense of self worth be totally wrapped up in one person's opinion of you. That person, in all likelihood, is a jerk to have made you feel that dependent on them in the first place.
This especially applies to the people you date (this will only happen over Daddy's dead body, of course). The sad, hard truth is that the bulk of your relationships will fail, and often not peacefully. Resist the urge to blindly believe what movies and TV shows will try to tell you. The odds are highly stacked against you that you will marry your high school sweetheart, so don't bet the farm on one person.
Still, love fully whomever you are with. Just don't lose sight of the fact that you were your own confident, beautiful, worthwhile person before you were with them, and you will always be that person, with or without them.
If you ever feel yourself thinking in the terms of "He's my whole world", "I'm nothing without him", etc... please... RUN AWAY WITH QUICKNESS. Nobody on this earth is that important that they can define who you are and how you feel about yourself. Run, and tell your father so he can kill them and hide the body.

2. On that same line, don't throw yourself fully into a relationship with the blind hope that you can change yourself or them to make things work. People pretty much are who they are, and outside of small quirks aren't likely to be able to achieve a massive personality overhaul. For example, I've had to learn (and still fail) to not let my shoes/socks live wherever they may fall when I take them off coming through the door, because it drives your father nuts. That's a small thing that I can work on. I could not, however, make myself not be the overly anxious, worry prone person I've always been. If a person can not only accept you, but adore you how you are, they are not the person for you.
Your dad and I know we'll be together forever if nothing else than the fact that we know there's no one else around who would ever be willing to put up with our silliness. I still laugh (sometimes) at his obnoxious gas. He still smiles when I jump on him and expect to be carried around like a koala. That's real love, dear.

3. The money you make, the job you have, the degree you hold do not define who you are. If you are confident and happy with yourself, then that can carry you through whatever you do 8+ hours a day to make ends meet.

4. Things like pretty but impractical shoes and handbags in every color are therapeutic. Indulge in them whenever you can... and bring me shopping with you.

5. It is rude to discuss religion, money, and politics in mixed company. Watch your words because you don't know who you could be offending.

6. Remember that not everyone has to share your beliefs. At the end of the day, being a good person is more important than being liberal/conservative, gay/straight, whatever.

7. Don't forget to laugh, especially at yourself. You have the most amazing laugh, and I don't ever want to see you lose it.

8. Not everyone will like you, and that's okay. Not everyone needs to be your friend. You do, however, need to be nice.

9. Run away from any man with a pet snake. Snakes are agents of the devil, which means that man is in cahoots with Satan. If you spend the night with this snake man, his snake will eat you.

More to follow later, kiddo.


(PS I'm very, very serious about the snake business. Ugh.)