There are many things or lessons that you will learn in life. Whether it be in school or real, actual life lessons that you can only learn by living and doing. Sometimes those lessons can only be learned by making your own mistakes. Like when Mom tells you not to touch the stove because it’s hot. Eventually, most learn it’s hot because they touched it.
Oh… that’s what Mama was warning me about.
There are some things that I want you, my children, to know without learning about it in real life. Things I want to tell you as you grow into teenagers and young women.
There are some very important conversations that I must to have with my girls, before it is too late.
You are loved.
And not by just your Mom and your Dad… and not because we have to. You are loved for many reasons and for many things and by many people. I would lay down my own life to protect yours. I will be your voice until you know how to use yours.
You are loved.
Choose your friends carefully.
The wrong ones could get you into a lot of trouble and then do nothing for you once you are there. It’s true that you will be judged by the company that you keep, so make sure you keep the right ones. It is less important to have lots of friends, and much more important that you have real friends. Surround yourself with people who make you laugh. People who make you happy, the ones who will help you when you are in times of need. People who genuinely care for you. They are the ones worth keeping in your life… everyone else is just passing through. Don’t ever forget that your sisters were your first friends in life.
Just because everyone is doing it, doesn’t mean it’s cool
Please see above. If the wrong friends are teaching you that certain things are cool, and your Mama and Daddy are telling they are not. Listen. Just because everyone seems to be doing something does not mean it is cool. Or Right. Or good for you.
If they jumped off the Empire State Building… would you?
No you wouldn’t. It’s not cool.
You are beautiful just the way you are.
Long hair, short hair or no hair. Short or tall. Hockey player or dancer. There is only one you and there will only ever be one you. You, my dear sweet girls, are gorgeously beautiful. On the outside and on the inside. Your spirit is beautiful… maybe more so than your eyes. Even if that boy in your class doesn’t think so. You are. Always.
Don’t rush to growing up.
Enjoy being a child. 2 is not the new 4, 4 is not the new 8 and 6 is not the new 12, no matter how much the media and pop culture want us to believe that it is. Before you know it, you will be preparing for exams and applying to university, so enjoy your childhood while you still can. You have a bike in the garage and clothing in the closet (and you even like some of it!) that you did not have to pay for. Enjoy that. Love cuddling with your parents and telling your siblings you love them before you are too old to be seen with us.
Just as I will miss you at this age, you will miss that.
Boys won’t always have cooties… but that doesn’t happen until you are about 25.
Just trust your Daddy and I with this one.
Stand up for yourself.
And then, stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves. Be assertive and strong. If you believe in something, then believe in it through and through,
even if especially if it isn’t the popular choice. You will never regret it, I promise you.
Be your own biggest cheerleader and your own biggest fan. You will be your best chance at succeeding in life so believe in yourself and listen to your father and I when we tell you how friggen awesome you are. We know a lot more than you think we do.
Get a good education.
Then when you move out you can buy your own damn bikes and your own clothes. I am not letting you move back in when you are 30, so get a good education and then get a job. This is tough love but you will thank me for this one day.
Don’t carry a balance on your credit cards
Credit cards can help you establish a credit rating, it’s up to you whether that rating is good or bad. We want you to have good credit, so don’t carry a balance on your credit cards. If you use them, pay them off within the month. If you do this, you will not have a credit card debt looming over you. Don’t make late payments, ever. Chances are if you don’t have the money now to buy that item you are charging, you won’t have the money in 30 days either. Spend wisely.
Save for Retirement
It’s never too early to start saving for your retirement. As soon as you start earning any money, start saving it. As soon as you are able to, start putting that money into RRSPs or any other investment that happens to be available to you. This is a good habit to get into. You will have a nice little retirement fund if you start planning early.
Anything a boy can do, you can do… and you might even be better at it.
Don’t ever let this world teach you there are things that boys do and things that girls do. It’s simply not true. Girls can play hockey and boys can do ballet. Your Daddy cleans our house much better than I do. So do not ever believe that you cannot be the best at something just because you are a girl.
Do not be afraid to walk into a room alone.
With your head held high and introduce yourself with a good, strong handshake.
It signifies confidence and respect. It leaves a lasting impression in an interview. It is a sign that you are an honest person and it shows that you have ambition. If you aren’t sure what a good, strong handshake is… come and see me. I will teach you. You are your mother’s daughter, after all.
Find your passion.
Figure out what you love to do in life and then go and do it. You will be much happier if you follow your own dreams instead of someone else’s. Including my dreams for you. If my dreams are not your dreams, that is okay. I will get over it, as long as you are happy. It is you that will have to live with the decisions that you make in life.
When you start wearing makeup… less really is more.
You don’t need to cover those beautiful eyes with dark black eyeliner nor do you need to smear those lips with blood-red lipstick. Wear just enough to cover the lack of sleep from too many late nights. Even though this (below) is pretty cute when you are two years old… when you are twenty, not so much.
When it comes to dressing… more really is better
There is absolutely no reason on this earth for you to wear clothing that is too revealing. Ever. It serves no purpose nor does it make you a better person. It is certainly not the way that you want to get attention or approval.
Showing your midriff is only acceptable at the beach. Even then, show less not more. I don’t ever want to wonder what happened to the other half of your skirt and when I tell you that you are not leaving the house “wearing that”, please don’t turn it into a battle. You will not win.
And for the love of Pete, never bring home a boy who wears his pants hanging half way down his ass. Ever.
Laughter will help you in life. It will get you through the darkest of days and it will make the sunshine golden. Laugh, often. Laugh, loudly. Then when you are done, go ahead and laugh some more.
Be a strong female character
It will be your destiny. Don’t go through life trying to fit in everywhere. You were born to stand out. A wise man once said, “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” ~ Dr. Seuss. Don’t let the noise of other people’s opinions drown out your own inner voice (Steve Jobs).
You have a mind of your own, use it.
Don’t let life get in the way of living. It’s so easy to waste minutes, waste days. Live each day as though it were your last. That does not mean taking stupid risks and acting foolish or immature. It means enjoying every bit of what is happening to you and around you.
If you are in a job that makes you miserable, quit. It won’t be easy but it will be easier than waking up day after day and punching hours on the clock at a job you hate. You will spend the better part of your days there and you should enjoy it.
It’s okay to fail
It happens to the best of us. It doesn’t mean that you are a failure. It’s an opportunity for you to get back up and try it again. You will need to work like hell to make things happen for yourself. No one is going to do it for you. It’s an opportunity to learn. Never stop learning.
If anyone ever says you aren’t smart enough or good enough to do something, turn the other cheek and prove them wrong!
Work Hard, Play Harder
Hard work will always pay off. Always. If you are going to spend any time doing something, you may as well do your best. You wont get anywhere in life if you do just enough to get by.
Then when you are done working hard… play harder. Enjoy your time with yourself and with your family. You will have earned it.
Live on your own
Even if just for a short time, before you get married. This will teach you that you do not need a husband to get by. Pay your own bills. Clean your own house. Gas up your own car. Then, when you marry the man of your dreams, you will appreciate him when he does all these things for you. Be independent and find out who you are. Don’t rely on anyone else for happiness or money.
Don’t wait for the right time
If you wait for the right time in life to do anything, it will never come. Sure, you should plan and prepare for things but don’t wait for the timing to be perfect. It never will be. After all that waiting, you might just find that you did nothing. Don’t let that happen to you. You will be far more disappointed by the things that you did not do than by the things that you did (… Mark Twain).
Call your Mother
Often. I will miss you when you move out. I will continue to worry about you. There is no reason to make your Mother worry, unnecessarily, so just call me. You can even call me collect. I promise to answer the phone.
Whenever you have the chance. Explore your own back yard and then move on… explore your country and other countries. I wish I had done more travelling when I was younger. I am pretty sure that you will never regret seeing more of the world. So go!
There will be winners and there will be losers
Sometimes you will win and sometimes you will lose. Sometimes you will be picked first for the team and sometimes you will be picked last for the team. And, maybe you will refuse to be on the team.
Just know that so long as you do your best, your Dad and I will be proud of you.
Vacation with your kids
I won’t lie, it is hard work and it is anything but relaxing but the rewards cannot be measured. Some of your most treasured memories will be of those adventures you take your children on. Their joy will be worth the exhaustion.
No matter where we end up in life, you are always welcome
You can always come home to your Daddy and I (to visit… wink, wink). Our door will always be open for you and we will always have somewhere you can lay your head. Our arms will always hug you and we will always be here when you need us. Come home often.