As parents, we’re often so concerned with teaching you to look both ways before crossing the street, and not to touch hot pans or outlets or feral cats or eat gum from under the table, that we fail to teach you other things you should know. Things that, while not as threatening, are still vitally important to your well-being. I suppose I just assume you automatically know these things, but judging by your reactions to them, you could use a bit of parental guidance. So here are a few lessons I seem to have accidentally overlooked:
1. Naps are not the enemy.
You are not supposed to fight nap time. In fact, you’re supposed to embrace it. Naps are good. They’re awesome. And when someone suggests that you snuggle into your comfy, cozy bed in the middle of the day — and then encourages you to sleep for as long as you can — for the love of all that is holy, DO IT. You’ve struck gold, friends. I can tell you’re unaware of this, since you stubbornly resist nap time as though you’re going to miss Christmas while you’re sleeping. Maybe once you realize that long, guilt-free daily naps are a luxury and not a crisis, you’ll respond to the phrase “Let’s take a nap!” with something other than a meltdown of my-dog-just-died proportions.
2. Grooming = good.
More often than not, you put up a mighty resistance when I clip your nails or trim your hair or try to coax you into a nice bubbly bath. I’d have a quieter time giving a home perm to a howler monkey. Kids, these things are called manicures and pedicures and haircuts and grown-ups pay people to do them. You, on the other hand, have your very own stylist on call 24/7 — for free — who automatically tends to your needs when your nails get long or your bangs get scraggly. So sit back, relax, and enjoy it like you’re paying to get it done. Only enjoy it more, because you aren’t.
3. Your clothes are miraculously fresh.
In your world, laundry is a magical thing: You toss your dirty undies in the hamper (or more accurately, wherever the hell they happen to land), and like some sort of fresh-smelling miracle, they end up clean and in your drawer again. You soil your clothing, it reappears in a wearable state. Presto. Please, I’m begging you: Know how utterly amazing such an in-home laundry service would be for those of us who spend depressing chunks of our lives sorting, washing, folding, and putting away.
As if that weren’t enough, you also have a wardrobe stylist at your disposal. You don’t know how much life is simplified when someone lays out a coordinated, weather-appropriate outfit for you every day, and all you have to do is put it on. You don’t have to lift a finger to look your best, and that’s something to appreciate — not complain about. And on that note…
4. You have a personal chef.
Let that sink in. You never stare blankly into the fridge racking your brain for something quick to thaw or endlessly browse Pinterest hoping for inspiration. You don’t have to budget, or maneuver a cart through a “blue light special,” or plan a menu that everyone will eat. Your only job is to sit down at the table when you’re called, and — voilà! — there’s a (mostly) delicious and (reasonably) nutritious meal waiting for you. Not only do I provide your sustenance, I also blow on it until I’m lightheaded, sacrificing the temperature of my own meal while I make sure yours is cool enough to eat. Surely you can see the value in that. Think of it next time you’re picking out “the yucky pieces” and complaining that you wanted cereal.
5. Transportation is a no-brainer.
When’s the last time you wrangled your way through rush-hour traffic, irritation deepening with every red light, calculating shorter routes and hoping you make it to your destination on time? Or searched desperately for a parking space? Oh that’s right…never. Because you don’t have to drive. Instead, you can chill in the back seat with your headphones or your tablet or your book. Or take a nap. Or gaze out the window, deep in thought. You couldn’t care less about the guy who just cut us off or the jerk blocking the drop-off lane — your chauffeur is there to handle that mess, right? And when you arrive safely at the birthday party or soccer practice or Billy’s house or wherever you’re going, you don’t even have to tip. And you know that when the event is over, your ride home will be waiting without you even scheduling it. Why? Because you’re lucky. That’s why. At this point in your life, you never have to drive anybody anywhere (except for crazy).
I’m writing you this letter in the hopes that you’ll realize you’re supposed to appreciate these things. Kids, you’re being handed amenities left and right that most people would give a few teeth for. All you’re lacking is someone to stand around and feed you grapes — oh wait, no, you’re not because I do that too (and cut them up first so you won’t choke). At your disposal, you’ve got a laundry service, a maid, a driver, a chef, a nurse, a therapist, a stylist, and someone who encourages you to nap.
Don’t wait until you’re all grown up and deprived of these things. Appreciate them now, while you still can…for those of us who didn’t.