Wednesday, April 4, 2012

15 Lessons and 71 Things

Yet another post I started a few weeks back and never finished.....but it's finished now

Originally dated March 7, 2012, finished April 4, 2012


Just so you know, I love you more than anything in the whole wide world
I miss you terribly today...

This morning at breakfast, which for your was a peanut butter sandwich and blub blubs (goldfish crackers), I couldn't help but think one day, you will not be at the breakfast table with us......'ll be in your dorm room sleeping through breakfast
....or you'll be in your own apartment having cold pizza for breakfast
....and one day, I hope, you will be sitting at the table with your own kids having breakfast and marvelling at what they've brought to your life

To our lives you've brought hope, love, humility, laughs, dreams, some bouts of sleeplessness, frustration, and fear
But mostly, you've brought unlike any other love I've ever known
Thank you for bringing me that

It makes me wonder if we're doing enough for you - are we giving you, providing you with the foundation you need to peacefully exist in this world?
Or will the times we lost our patience with you, yelled at you or made you sit on the bottom step to re-group and apologize damage whatever hopes we have of you becoming a good person?
Can I undo the times I was so frustrated I walked away leaving in in your room by yourself crying? Will the times I told you "no" overshadow the times I told you yes?

And you're not even 3 yet...I have at least another 15 years to screw you up

But I also have a tremendous amount of love for you, and I have your Dad, and we have faith.....and we have nothing but the best intentions for you and I'm hoping that will be enough to get us through....I'm hoping that will be enough for you

I read two articles the other day which were interesting and daunting all at the same time
One was a list of 15 Things Your Daughter Should Know Before she Turns 18
The other was 71 things your Child Should Know before Starting Kindergarten
By the time I had read both articles, and the comments that went along with them, I could not decide if I should call a Priest, Child Protective Services, my Mum or simply surrender my title of Mother

Usually, I'm pretty good about tempering articles like this....every child is different, people have different sets of core values and beliefs....I try to take these things with a grain of salt and realize that the list are subjective but for some reason, these two articles/lists got to me

I started to question if I was doing the right thing

I started to think your Dad and I weren't paying attention the way we should be and your were going to miss major milestones and get left behind

I questioned my ability to parent...and of course all the things I've done "wrong" the past three years came flooding to the forefront of my brain and I've been obsessing about them for hours

Then I took a deep breath....I re-read this and this and that steadied me a bit.

Then I went back and re-read both articles.....I started with the 71 Things

My initial reaction was Please Help me Jesus!
I only have two years to teach her 71 things
I went through the list again

Eager...yeah, you're good with this one - you attack anything and anyone with so much enthusiasm and gusto that you are endearing and overwhelming all at the same time
Curious....child! You could give Curious George a run for his money
Generally pleasant....your sweet voice, your hugs, your demands for more kisses..yes, you are pleasant
Follows rules....hmmm..file this in the We'll Work On It column
Hopping on one keep falling over, we'll keep practicing
Write letters and your name.....we're not even sure if you are a righty or a lefty so no
But you know your colors....and you know that red means stop, orange (yellow) is slow down and green is go...which in turns lends to your fantastic back seat driving abilities
You throw a ball really well, and catch it just as well...with your face....
Skipping....sadly, you inherited my coordination but don't worry, skipping will come in due time run like the wind but God forbid there be any obstacles in your path (a branch, a twig, a tree root, a pebble) because you are going down if there is
Scissors...Lord help me the day we let you loose with a pair of scissors

Good news is you have The Arts Section, which includes Creative Arts, Music/Movement and Creative Dramatics, down pat

Truthfully, these are all things that come with time...things that will most likely come naturally and instinctively as you get older
Things you will learn as your brain continues to grow and develop
They all make perfect sense...and are all attainable...and, in due time, they will all come

If you get to school and only have 68 out of the 71, I'm pretty sure they will still let you through the door...and I'm pretty sure you will still succeed

Now, as far as the 15 Lessons....this actually popped up in a couple places...and they were by different authors
One was an author for the Chicken Soup for the Souls books
Another was a Mom Blogger and a third one was an open letter a teacher had written to a graduating class

Certainly not an original idea but I liked it

I know I've written a couple similar letters to you already but I felt inspired to add to the list
And these are not necessarily things you need to know by 18 but things I think you'll need to help navigate life....hell, I'm 39 and there are still a few on the list I have not figured out

So here, Lucy, are the things I want you to know

Some are facts
Some are cautionary tales
Some are "Learn from my mistakes" parables
And some are just random tidbits of information that will make great conversation starter at a party

Some things you'll learn in school
Some thing you'll learn from your Dad and I
Some things you will learn from your friends

Whatever it is you learn, hang onto it no matter how mundane it seems at the time for one day, it will come in handy:

  1. If a door is closed, there is a reason; knock before entering - and I'm being literal here...if the door is closed closed, knock. Don't just barge in, that's rude
  2. Know how to balance your bank account and write a check
  3. You should always have your own bank account - with your name on it and your money in it. Not because I want you to someday leave your husband but because it teaches you responsibility and accountability....and frankly, buying something with your own money that you have earned and saved is a truly rewarding feeling and something to be proud of
  4. Know how to write a letter - a heartfelt thank you, a note of sympathy or a celebratory congratulations...and please, send a card on special occasions, not an e-card - go pick out a card and mail it....with a stamp
  5. If you are invited to a wedding, a baptism, a shower or any special celebration, go! If someone took the time to invite you, they want you there; return the respect and go. Even if you have not spoken to them or seen them for weeks, months or years, they thought enough of you to invite you - go! Same goes for wakes and funerals; when someone you know passes, even if you don't know the family, go and pay your respects. If someone you know loses someone in their family or someone close to them, attend the wake or funeral out of respect to your friend, even if you did not know the person who passed...they will appreciate your sentiment
  6. When you meet someone new, look them in the eye, shake their hand firmly and repeat their name while saying, Nice to meet you (and yes, women can and should shake hands firmly, this does not make you a man, it makes you polite)
  7. Mind your manners (I know I've said it before but it is something that bears repeating) Please, Thank You, You're Welcome, Excuse Me.......just be polite
  8. Be Dalton said Be nice....until it's time to stop being nice (that's right, I just gave my daughter a life lesson straight from Road House...)
  9. When someone says something and you didn't quite hear them, don't say Huh? (a terrible habit I have) say I'm sorry, I did not hear you or I'm sorry, could you repeat that
  10. Learn how to swim
  11. Know how to drive a manual and an automatic
  12. Be able to back into a parking space (you laugh but I have no problem admitting I cannot back into a parking space to save my life)
  13. Know how to pump your own gas how to check the the oil level in your car and how to to add windshield wiper fluid and oil to your car
  14. Follow the rules - sure, some rules are made to be broken but not as many as one would think. And if you decide to break a rule (or the law) be prepared to pay the consequences  
  15. Know where your voting station is.....which of course means you should be registered to vote...which by the way is my 18th Birthday Present for you, taking you to register to vote...Happy Birthday, no need to thank me
  16. For the love of God please, please know the difference between The Constitution and the Declaration of Independence
  17. Know where the Police Station, Fire Station and Library are in your town...whatever town you may be living in
  18. Know who your Senators and Representatives, your Governor, your President, Vice President and Speaker of the House are
  19. Know who Ted Williams, Freddy Lynn, Carl Yastrzemski, Jerry Remy, Terry Francona and Jason Varitek are
  20. Your Uncle John once told me to never date a man who drives a van with blacked out windows or a man who knows what a duvet is...I pass that on to you
  21. Smoking is bad for you; yes, Mummy smoked and yes, I loved smoking...but smoking is bad for you. It was hard for me to quit....would have been easier if I had never don't smoke
  22. You will drink before you are 21, which today is the legal drinking think you won't but you will ... I think you won't but I know you will....all I ask is that no matter what age you are, never ever ever get behind the wheel of a car after you have been drinking - and never get in a car with someone who has been drinking behind the wheel of a car. If you need a ride, call us - we may not be happy you were drinking (yes, we'll probably ground you in some way shape or form) but we will not be angry at you for waking us up at 1am to come pick you up...same stands for your friends, they can call us as well
  23. And while we're on the topic, yes, I tried marijuana...and it did nothing for me. I'm pretty sure I inhaled but it just did nothing for me. Grand total, I probably smoked it maybe 6 times and frankly, it never did anything or me. And no, I never tried anything stronger.....I was too afraid...the after school specials and Public Service Announcements I saw as a kid scared the shit out of me. Plus, I saw first hand the damage drugs did while I was in college and then my early 20s
  24. Clean up after yourself
  25. Multitasking is overrated; finish one task before moving on to another...your brain will thank me for it
  26. Know how to use a fire extinguisher
  27. Know how to change a tire (no, I don't)
  28. And if you never learn how to change a tire, date/marry a man who knows how to
  29. And if that does not work, sign up for AAA
  30. Whites should be washed with whites and whites only, colored clothes with colored clothes. And if it says hand wash or delicate cycle or do not put in dryer, there is a reason, follow the directions
  31. Wool was not meant for the dryer
  32. If its says dry clean only, then take it to the dry cleaners
  33. Keep your passport and your driver's license up to date
  34. Know that whatever you say, whatever you write, once it passes your lips or from your hand to paper, you can never take it back
  35. Never ever ever ever ever ever EVER take a picture or let your picture be taken of you in the not take pictures like this for your significant other/ not take pictures of yourself like this and send them to someone.....and if someone tells you its for the sake of art, stop and think about your parents, would we think its art? I'm trying to protect you here....listen to your mother
  36. While we're at it, try to avoid having your picture taken of you drinking/drunk/smoking/doing something I know this may sound like I am crushing your college memories before they even happen but trust m,e on this don't need pictures for the memories....And yes, pictures of this (not nudes) of me like this exist and no, I am not proud of them nor of the way I look....and no, you cannot see them
  37. Look, I had a blast in college and in my 20s....and I want you to have a blast, I just want you to be safe and smart while you are doing so
  38. Learns how to cook and bake (I'll teach you)
  39. Know that no question is a stupid question - ask away, just be careful who you ask
  40. Know that no matter what you do or say, no matter what we do or say, our love for you is unconditional. So even though I yelled at you last night for spitting at me (add that to this list, no spitting, it's rude) and even though we won't get you a dog, we love you more than you know
  41. Try not to lose your sense of times, this will be hard but trust me, even in a crises situation, if you can manage to bring some levity and laughter to it, you'll be just fine
  42. Share...not just your toys or the swing but also your thoughts and feelings. Share your hope, your dreams and your needs. If you have extra food, a smile, a laugh, a hug, share. If you have an idea, a joke, a solution....share.... Share with your Mum and Dad, your cousins, your Aunts and Uncles, your Grandparents, your friends...share with anyone you think needs it.
  43. Be patient with yourself and others
  44. Trust God and be grateful to God for what He has given us, for what He will give us and for chocolate...thank God for chocolate
  45. Be honest
  46. Make mistakes....and then learn from them and don't make the same mistake again. And when you do make mistakes, don't beat yourself up about it and don't be afraid to tell us about it - that's what we're here for
  47. Give lots of hugs and kisses and cuddles
  48. Live within your budget - have what you need and want what you need
  49. Forgive...this is hard Boo.....but you will be a better person, your life will be richer if you forgive. But I'm not going to lie, its hard to forget and sometimes, you should not forget - but you should always forgive
  50. If one day you come home a Democrat, or bring a Democrat home, if you convert to a different religion or bring someone from another religion home, if you come home with someone someone who is the same sex as you, with someone who is a different race than you, if you join a cult (try not to though) if you bring home a Yankees fan or a Lakers fan,or a NASCAR fan,  my love for you will still be unconditional....but Lucy, you come home a Yankees fan and all bets are off (this will be repeated through out your life)
Lucy, life is the biggest classroom you will ever have the privilege of being in; Take advantage of it
  • Open your mind
  • Explore
  • Experiment (not with drugs I'm thinking more with baking soda and vinegar or peanut butter and pickle sandwiches)
  • Meet new people
  • Change
  • Treasure the people already in your life, learn more about them
  • Read books
  • Go to Church
  • Paint, color, and draw
  • Visit new places
  • Go to museums and art galleries...even if you know nothing about art or science or natural history,'re bound to find something that interests you
  • If you find yourself driving through a town you've never been in, stop and have lunch at the local never know who you meet or what you'll learn
Above all Lucy,
Never forgot where you came from, who you came from and our love for you

So, for now, go be (almost) 3 - have fun, laugh, cry, dance, throw temper tantrums, snuggle with your Mum and Dad, hug your friends, sing out loud and eat your vegetables...just please don't spit

I love you more than I did yesterday but not as much as I will tomorrow

Maria the Mum

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.