“If I knew then what I know now…” As a little girl I heard my mom utter this phrase on more than one occasion. Her words always seemed to trail off, leaving me to wonder what she meant. With each passing year, and the evolution of my own wisdom, my mother’s words become clearer.
Because now, I have you. When I think about you navigating the rocky pathways of life, my feelings are an equal mix of fear and excitement. I have no doubt you will grow to be an amazing woman, but I know your journey will not be without peril. You’ll face challenges that seem insurmountable, and be forced to learn some things the hard way, because you are strong-willed and independent by nature. You will make good choices, and probably a few bad ones, too.
It’s important that you forge your own path in life, but from your mama–a girl who knows now–take this advice with you.
1. Spend the money on the dress you love.
2. Never miss an opportunity to tell someone how you feel. If you love someone, tell them.
3. Your words carry tremendous weight, choose them wisely.
4. Live alone at least once.
5. It’s never too late to do the right thing.
6. It’s OK to make mistakes; it’s not OK to make excuses.
7. If you know the answer, raise your hand.
8. Never settle for less than you deserve.
9. Karma is real. Don’t be a mean girl.
10. Always stand up to injustice.
11. Never apologize for who you are. You are perfect.
12. Root for the underdog.
13. Never go to the grocery store on an empty stomach.
14. Use sunscreen.
15. Listen to your gut, even when it disagrees with your head and your heart.
16. Know the difference between a disagreement and an argument.
17. Eat the cake.
18. Always carry an extra hair-tie.
19. Don’t take crap from anyone. We teach people how we want to be treated by accepting their behavior.
20. Be fierce, but stay humble.
21. Every journey begins with a single step. Be courageous enough to take the first step.
22. Nothing is more limiting than a closed mind.
23. Don’t underestimate yourself, your capabilities are endless.
24. Friday nights are for takeout. Sometimes Tuesdays are, too.
25. Ask for help when you need it. You’re an independent woman, not a superhero.
26. Love yourself.
I watch you change everyday. You are growing to be exactly who you are supposed to be. You’ve already learned a few tough lessons, and it was hard to watch you struggle, but I let you, because I love you. Struggle is an important part of growth, and you are handling it with all the grace I knew you would. Please never lose sight of who you are. Each morning when you wake up, know you are loved beyond measure, and there is nothing you could ever do to change that. Wherever life takes you, always remember how proud I am to be your mama.
Now, go get ‘em.