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.