My dear sweet daughter,
Celebrating your 28th birthday made me reflect and want to share some well-earned wisdoms with you. You know, the kind of stuff I wish someone had told me when I was your age? Yes, I know you didn’t ask, but we both know that has never stopped me before.
First up, turning 28 is NOT approaching mid-life. Your young years are far from over, and, no, you’re not “old”. But you’re right, time does goes by way too quickly. Best to make the most of it each step along the way.
As you grow older, I hope you will live your life with the spunk and audacity you were born with. Those gifts were bestowed upon you by a higher power. Use them every chance you get and never let them stray too far away from you.
Try not to criticize yourself, second guess your feelings, doubt your abilities, or be too hard on yourself when you think you’ve failed. The world does all those things for you and it is your job to stand up to it, not give in to it.
Know that failing is a required curriculum to life. Without it, it is doubtful that you will ever truly succeed. Don’t be afraid of it. You don’t have to like it, you just have to get good at it. Failure is success turned inside out.
Take chances. Be bold. Be silly. It’s okay. Living in the box has never been where the magic happens. Align yourself with the unordinary, the risky, and the spectacular. It’s where you were born to be.
Friends will come and go, but the good ones stick. Value them. And while your husband and family will always come first, never lose sight of those friends that have seen you through some of life’s rough spots. You will need them again, and they, you.
Try hard not to worry so much. It causes wrinkles, stomach aches, paranoia, and the worries seldom materialize. And stay off of WebMD. No good has ever come from general internet diagnosis.
From time to time, you may become self-conscious of your body. Don’t. Your figure will never be finer, your hair will never be fuller, your skin will never be as refined and you will never have as much energy as you do now. Appreciate it.
Life doesn’t end when you become a parent. You know I can’t wait for the little bundle(s) of joy to come into your life, but there is no hurry. I will admit that life as you know it will never be the same. But the secret is, the ties you are afraid of binding you, will in fact set you sailing into a world of wonder and perpetual love. Trust me on this one.
As a wife, you are going to make mistakes. You may at times be judgmental, critical, temperamental, and perhaps a tad dramatic. It’s not just you. It’s how we are hard wired. But know that once spoken, harsh words can never be taken back. I hope you forgive freely, hug strongly, cry often, and let the little things go. They are almost all little things.
There will be times that you find yourself impatient or angry with your mother. It’s more natural than you might imagine. But please understand that she is doing the best she can and she is doing it for all the right reasons….for love of you. At times, I know I can be exasperating. But there will never be anyone that walks this earth that loves you like your mother. Respect it. It will one day be you.
Make time to spend with your family. We would like to think that our family is forever. But it’s not. We grow old, we get sick, and we die. It’s the natural course of things. As your Tia always says, “we are just visitors here”. Make sure that you don’t pass up too many offers to spend time with them, to laugh, joke, eat, drink and make memories. You will treasure those memories, and one day they will be all that is left.
Know that being strong doesn’t always mean not crying. I fear that in my zeal to be strong for you as you were growing up, I didn’t allow you to see the tears, the heartache and the disappointments. Shame on me. They are all a part of life, and you will not be able to avoid them, no matter how hard you try. But never, ever confuse tears with weakness. They will cleanse you of your hurt, and your heart will follow.
Be kind with your thoughts, gentle with your words, generous with your actions, and forgiving with those who love you and fall short from time to time. None of us is perfect and more attention and gratitude should be given for the trying.
Life is hard. Love makes all things bearable. You will endure the hard knocks so much easier with someone who loves you by your side. Return the favor.
Complain less, be grateful more.
When you start your family and think that you have gotten in over your head, when you think you will never be able to be the perfect mom you envision yourself being, stop and breathe. There is no such thing as a perfect mom. You and that wonderful husband of yours will find your way. Lay your fears at the doorstep of your love.
Nothing worth having is easy to get. Everything has a price. Think about what you will have to pay for something before you act. Half the time, the acquisition is worth far less than the price paid.
In the days that you do grow old, I hope you will realize that it is a privilege not offered to everyone. I wouldn’t look down my nose at it. When the time comes, believe me, you will be happy to be there.
As for me, my darling daughter, I have loved you with the breathe of me since the moment you were born. Being your mother hasn’t always been easy, but it has always been good. These days I am more of a spectator than a player in your day to day life. It’s as it should be. I’m grateful that we are wonderful friends and companions of the best sort. I will always be, no matter what, your biggest fan. And I am here should you ever need me for anything. It is my life long vocation.
Before I end my euphony of wisdom, let me say thank you. For so much. For your loyalty, your choices, your sweetness, kindness, compassion, and humor. For trying even when you didn’t think you could make it. For making me proud every single day that you live.
I know that you’re not perfect. None of us are. But truth be told, to me, you are pretty damn close. Happy birthday sweet Amanda.
Joan Cooper - Dear Daughter,
How very lucky you are to be a child of Tammy’s. Wise, funny, understanding.
Joan Cooper - Dear Daughter,
How lucky you are to be a child of Tammy’s. Wise, funny, loving, discerning, etc. etc.
Know this for sure…….I am an old lady know, but at 40 I was a girl, at 50 I wasn’t even thinking of middle age. It was at 60, that reality started to check in, but I was 70 before it really hit – in thehips. I had that fixed and it was like being reborn. Unfortunately I was not realistic and am living in a two story house when I need a one story house with my knees.
Enjoy your young life. Once a day was a day, but now it is only 5 minutes long.
Live it up.
Tammy - Oooh, Joan, thanks for that. I’m not at all sure my kidlet would always agree with your sentiment. I have been known to be tough. I remember her saying to me in her younger years that she thought I expected too much of her. I did expect a lot of her, that is no lie. But it was clearly because I knew what she was capable of before she did. Moms are good at that stuff. I am understanding, always. Funny, sometimes. Wise, I haven’t a clue. But loving … endlessly. Appreciate you, Joan.
Suerae Stein - Oh Tammy, what can I say? You outdid yourself in wisdom this time! I am going to print this and save it and read it over and over again. There are life lessons in this post for all of us, even those 20 years older than your lovely daughter. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.
Mel Glenn - What a loving, warm, humorous letter to your daughter. (By the way, she’s gorgeous.). Would there be such a world where children freely accept the advice of a well-meaning parent. No matter what you say, or don’t say, they, in the words of Fleetwood Mac, have to “go their own way.” But I know Sweet Pea appreciates your love and concern; she just may not listen all the time.
Tammy - Hi Suerae, how very, very kind of you to say so. Posts that come from the heart are the easiest to write. They just flow onto the page all by themselves. This one, well, this one is full of heart. I’ve so very happy it spoke to you. Thank YOU for sharing!
Tammy - Hi Glenn, she is a cutie, isn’t she? I birthed that (bragging). You are correct, they absolutely must go their own way. Painful as it is to watch sometimes. She has a good head on her shoulders, a good heart in her body and a need for fairness that dictates her actions. Color me grateful….for so much. I always tease her that I want to be like her when I grow up. Any day now. SweetPea and I thank you for your gracious comment. I thank you for the loyal read.
Gill - Wow. This is a powerful piece. You managed to say everything I wish I could. I have a son, and I’m here to tell you that it is ALL applicable. A parents heart is hard to share. Looks like you’ve done a good job for all of us.
Kathy - This made cry. I have 2 daughters. One hasn’t spoken to me in years. A ridiculous falling out. I sent this to her and told her that it was everything I wanted to tell her but didn’t have the words. I hope that I hear from her. Thank you. I’m so glad I found your blog. I subscribed.
Joan Cooper - One more thing – I remember screaming at my Dad……’your world doesn’t exist anymore’….because he expected me to live like women lived in his day (not that I was anything like the way women live today!).
The generations do change. Unfortunately, we seem to be in a dark ages now with all the boundaries that came down and machines in our hands that get our attention more than the people around us.
We do have to be tolerant, but I think education needs rethinking.
Sharon - This is some incredible writing. I don’t know how you manage to put feelings into words so well. Seriously, its great. Your daughter is so beautiful. I think she is lucky to have a mom that obviously loves her beyond anything. Not all of us did. I really enjoyed this. Thanks.
Kitt Crescendo - I remember totally freaking out when I hit 28. The number sounded so OLD! Strangely, I find myself about to turn 40 and can’t help thinking I don’t feel old enough. LOL!
Tammy - Hi Gill, I would venture to guess that a mom is a mom is a mom. Whether to boys or girls, the heart is the same. I only have one point of reference since my little girl is my one and only. So appreciate the read and the kind comment!
Tammy - Hi Kathy, would it be nice of me to say that I’m glad I made you cry? Because I am. In the nicest way, of course. I’m very, very sorry to hear of your estrangement. I am familiar with the feeling, actually, but from a different standpoint. My kidlet and I are, and have always been, solid. At times we’ve had to work at it, but in the end, we love each other dearly. So very happy to have you on the other end of my blog. Warmest of welcomes!
Tammy - Hi Joan, love how you bounce back here when you remember something you forgot to say. Very endearing. Generations may change but I would like to think that unconditional love and acceptance would remain part of the parental landscape. Even with technology being what it is today, there is nothing quite like a sit down with one another to bring it all back into perspective.
Tammy - Hi Kit, oh yes, she is feeling completely over the hill. I’m thinking once she pasts 30, she will finally realize that she is the most awesome age of all. I’m with you…I’m about to turn 60 and I have convinced myself that I haven’t aged a year since my 40th birthday. Denial is a beautiful thing! Thanks ever so for the read and the lovely comment!
Tammy - Hi Sharon, I just write what I think. I’m grateful that it comes easy to me. Thanks for the compliment, my kidlet is adorable to be sure. But the real beauty is inside. You are right, not all of us had loving, doting mothers. It’s a shame. It should not be so. We see it all too often on the evening news. If only these mothers realized that the lives in their hands are the souls of the heavens and the future of the world. Parenting isn’t always easy, that’s for damn sure. But it is always worth it. So appreciate you being here. Thank you for that.
Charity Kountz - Oh Tammy, you made me cry! So beautiful! Reading it is bittersweet for me because I know mother would never write anything like that for me but I would for my daughter, who I love so much it hurts! So happy for you and she is so lucky to have you as her mother!
Tammy - Hi Charity, When our moms don’t love us unconditionally, it is a hurt that never seems to go away. Clearly we learn from it, and it is our daughters that will benefit from the lesson. You write to her so that she will have something to hold and keep, along with her memories, in her aging years. It is who we are now, what we have now. that truly matters. Happy to have made you cry, my friend, for the sake of your love of your child. Amen! Thank you for sharing that with me.
Ande Lyons - Oh Tammy… bless you and thank you for using your extraordinary way with words to beautifully express what so many parents feel and wish to say, but do not have your gift of eloquence and illumination with words.
I tried to leave a comment earlier… too many tears got in the way. Sloppy, joyful tears… reminding me how grateful I am to have a rich and fully engaged relationship with my two young men. As you said in the post… it hasn’t been easy, but it’s been good. Real good!
Your advice for Sweat Pea… across all the ripples of life… is the best I’ve ever read. Thank you for being the best of Moms.
As Auntie Mame would say (Rosalind Russell’s voice here): “Live Agnes, Live! Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.”
With big love and appreciation for you Sweet Mamma Tammy,
Tammy - Hi Ande, I LOVE sloppy, joyful tears! *sob* Being a mom has been the hardest job of my life. It’s also been the best damn job I’ve ever had. I am grateful every day for my little girl, and have only recently wondered what my life would have been like without her. I shudder to think that I would have missed out on 28 years of a boatload of happiness, laughter, tears, drama, long hugs and deep sighs. We are blessed, Ande, you and I. I am a huge, HUGE fan of Auntie Mame! No surprise there. Go big, or go home. An excellent way to think of living life. For me, I had a lovely lunch by the lake with my sweet pea today. I don’t think heaven could be better. Thank you for the kind words and the gracious review. I’m grateful to you for sharing your thoughts with me today. From one kicks ass mom to another … aren’t we awesome?!
Pamela O'Mack - Wow, Tammy, what a beautiful letter to your daughter. It is Laura’s birthday on the 20th and I feel the same way about her. Of course, it is always a bitter sweet day for me, wondering what it would be like to celebrate Lisa’s birthday too! However, I am so lucky to have a wonderful daughter, as you are, and to have them as such good friends at this stage in our lives. We are truly blessed! Lv, P
Tammy - Hi Pamela, aw, thanks for the kind review! You ARE so lucky to have Laura in your life. What happened to you, your family, is beyond tragic. I’m sure Laura wonders the very same thing when her birthday rolls around year after year. Her life was forever altered that night, as well. As they say “life is for the living”. A loss that tremendous is not something one can “get over”. You just try to get on with life. You are truly blessed, Pamela. Truly blessed. Never, ever think otherwise. And I am blessed to have you here. Thank you for that.
Ellen Dolgen - Tammy, this is so sweet! Your daughter is absolutely beautiful and very lucky to have a mother who loves her so much.
Janie Emaus - What can I say? Thoughtful, beautiful, heartfelt.
Tammy - Hi Ellen, appreciate you popping by, and thank you for the gracious compliment. We are both lucky, there is no doubt of that. Mother/daughter relationships have their strife. We have not been immune, but value the love and bond between us enough to never let it set up apart. Lots to be grateful for!
Tammy - Hi Janie why thank you so very much for the kind review! Very much appreciate you stopping by!
Joan Cooper - Right on Tammy, but that is just what we are in danger of loosing – totally.
We talk about a ‘global world’ …well that would have to start with ‘global education’ to overcome the insensitivity of learned patterns of conduct. As you have said – …women are still chattel in much of the world…and I also know that even animals and trees and flowers also have feelings, needs and they do recognize kindness and give love. ‘Far out’ you say. Maybe, but it is what living a long time has taught me. to be one with the best of the Universe…remember…we lost the Garden of Eden ( I for one do not believe it was over sex) ..will we lose the planet as well?
Maureen - Thanks again Tammy – beautiful!! I read this today and thought again about your post – it sure did go by quick!!
I won’t always cry, Mummy
when you leave the room,
And my supermarket tantrums
will end too soon.
I won’t always wake Daddy
for cuddles thru the night,
And one day you’ll miss
having a chocolate face to wipe.
You won’t always wake to find my foot
is kicking you out of bed,
Or find me lying sideways on your pillow
where you want to lay your head.
You won’t always have to carry me
in asleep from the car,
Or piggy-back me down the road
when my little legs can’t walk that far.
So cherish every cuddle,
Remember them all.
Because one day, Mummy
I won’t be this small.
Tammy - Hi Maureen, ooohhh, I LOVE this poem. Simply wonderful. Thanks ever so for sharing it with us! So very happy you enjoyed the read. Thrilled to have you here. Thrilled!
Jeff - Fantastic benediction. Anyone whose mom has the wherewithal to write that already has the necessary ballast to sail between the seas. Thanks for making your message public.
Tammy - Jeff, thank YOU for stopping by for the read and being kind enough to take the time to leave a comment. You have this bloggers appreciation! Sailing the seas is what I do best. It hasn’t always been that way, but experience is a tough teacher. Don’t we know it!?
Jeff - We do know it. It’s a deliriously happy struggle and your mixture of warmth and humanity and humor is just the ticket. Keep it up, Tammy! This all only happens the one time. We need more people like you who see the platinum in the everyday.
Tammy - Hi Jeff, your comment is so eloquent, so understanding. Thanks for that. And thank you for the kind review. I would say that YOU, my friend, hit the nail on the head. A lifelong deliriously happy struggle, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I remember crying at each of my daughter’s birthdays. My family thought I was ridiculous. It was a silent and teary welcome and farewell to the first and the last celebration of that age I would ever know from my child. Having only one, it was/is indeed a once in a lifetime thing. I learned how it was possible to be incredibly happy and quietly sad all at once. Life teaches us funny lessons. So very, very happy you are here. Thank you for sharing your comment with me.
Janice Vance - …beautiful and so concise!