When you have a new baby everyone tells you that in a blink of an eye they will be grown. Well, I tried to keep my eyes wide open, to savor every moment, to stare at you when you weren’t looking, to listen to you when you spoke, and to treasure the moments we snuggled when you were a baby. As you grew, the times we were in the same room grew fewer, the number of words you spoke to me lessened, and the moments to snuggle long since faded away. In truth, I think I blinked.
Overnight you grew from my little buddy who went with me everywhere, saddled on my hip or clutching my hand and into this amazing young man. Even though you don’t reach up to grab my hand to hold anymore, you are always, always, always with me wherever I go, and I am always with you.
So, as you begin this next chapter….here are a few things I’ve meant to tell you. Some things I have told you, but I’m not sure if you were listening. Here are my words of motherly worry and wisdom…….
•Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
Every decision you make matters. The only wrong decision is the one made hastily. When faced with any decision, just stop and think, weigh the possible outcomes, determine whether or not it is in line with you own moral compass, then decide, and then act. If you do this for EACH difficult decision, each time you are faced with options, and whenever life gives you a challenge, then no matter what happens, even if the decision turns out to be the wrong one, then you will always know that you tried to do the right thing and feel no shame if things don’t end up going as you hoped or expected. Just stop and think.
Be Good. Be Careful. Don’t be stupid.
Always be good. Please, please, please always be careful. And never, ever intentionally make a stupid decision. And if you find yourself in a situation where you just can’t be good, then please be careful. And if you find yourself in a situation where you can’t be careful, then please just don’t be stupid.
•You will not always be right.
As shocking as this may seem, you are going to be wrong sometimes. In those cases, the best thing to do is own it. Own your mistake. If someone was hurt as a result of you being wrong, then apologize. There is no shame in being an imperfect human. And while you might know most of the answers, there will be a day when you are wrong. And it might even be wrong in a big way….. just own it.
Remember your manners please. Eat with your mouth closed. Don’t slurp. Use a napkin. Clean up after yourself….and others. Say hello, goodbye, please, thank you, and excuse me. Hold the door, pull out a chair, let a woman enter first. Empty the trash, throw away uneaten food and drinks.
•If you see that something needs to be done, do it! Don’t wait for someone else to do it. Take the initiative. This is good advice in life, love, school, work, play, community, politics, charity, etc…..
•Be confident, but not cocky.
Confidence can be attractive, but cockiness never is.
•Be kind, but not weak.
•Be loving, but not blind.
•Be strong, but not overbearing.
•Be safe, but have fun.
•Have fun, but be safe.
•Smile at people. And smile just because you can.
•Be both quiet and outspoken. The difficult part is knowing which time to do which. That is up to you. Let your gut be your guide.
•Remember that you “cannot un-ring a bell”. Once it’s done, it’s done. There’s no taking it back. Once you say something or do something then it’s done. It cannot be erased.
•Think before you speak. That doesn’t mean don’t say what’s on your mind, it just means to measure your words. Know who you are talking to and make sure you are speaking in a way that you won’t be misinterpreted. Words can leave invisible scars on each of us. Think first.
•Honesty is always the best policy. The ONLY exception (I have found) is if someone’s emotional or physical well being is at stake. In that case still be honest, just choose your words carefully.
•You are going to fall in love. One day, with someone, you will. And that person should be the only person that can make your puzzle complete. That person should make you want to be an even better person than you already are. Treat that person with patience, love, kindness, honestly, generosity, and respect. Most of all, respect.
•Before you fall in love you will think you are in love several times. The way I see it, each person we chose to share part of our life with is important….good or bad, they are important. We learn from them. We learn from the relationship. We learn both good and bad, and what we like and don’t like in a person. We learn when to compromise, and when to stand firm. We learn what physical and personality traits move us. We learn what it’s like to think and feel and act and decide not only for ourselves, but for someone else. No matter how the relationship begins or ends, it is a great learning experience. And one day you are very likely to find that the person who is your perfect match is a blend of all the things you’ve found that you like. So, be respectful and thankful for EACH person that you choose to spend time with until you find your perfect someone…..they matter.
•Never lose your sense of humor. Life is way too serious and difficult at times to forget to laugh. Laughter is truly the BEST medicine.
•Find time to just be. Time to just think, sit, stare, cry, sleep, read, breathe, talk, wonder, question, love, and plan.
•One of my favorite quotes: “If you want to be happy, be.” -Tolstoy
•If you’re ever having a bad day, google Winnie The Pooh quotes…… he actually has all the best quotes.
•Becoming a man doesn’t mean forgetting what it’s like to be a child. Never lose the wonder of this world. Deadlines and responsibilities will always seem to loom overhead…… but those deadlines and responsibilities will seems easier to handle if you take some time to fly a kite. Be a kid….. have some fun.
•Be a kid…..Have some fun.
Get ice cream. Get sticky, dirty, and sweaty. Play a board game. Go to a toy store. Watch an old favorite movie. It’s OK to hold on to that part of yourself. Play like a kid, but be responsible like an adult.
•Believe in yourself,
…..but know that everyone has limitations, including you. Be realistic in your expectations. Never give anything less than your absolute best, but don’t be caught off guard if your best still wasn’t quite good enough. That happens. And no matter what, you are amazing at being you.
•Just because someone has a turn signal on doesn’t mean they’re turning.
•If you want to be heard then whisper. Think about it….people may hear you when you you yell, but if you whisper then people lean in to actually listen. There is a difference….and yes, this is both literal and metaphorical. Quiet leadership….. one of your biggest strengths.
•Thrill seekers love to take crazy risks…. I’m not a fan of unnecessary risks. Please don’t take them. Please.
Shower and smell nice. Don’t lather on the cologne, but do wear it. It matters. Trust me. Brush your teeth. Chew gum and carry mints. Bad breath isn’t something you want to have. Check your teeth and nose…yep, it happens to all of us. So look in a mirror. Make it a habit that after you eat you use the restroom and make sure the sky isn’t cloudy and the grill is clean. Oh, and if you’re with someone, guy OR girl and you notice something like that…..tell them. It’s more embarrassing to realize you had something in your teeth the whole date than it is to just be told and go fix it.
•Don’t drink, smoke, or do drugs:
You only get one body and one life. Don’t mess it up. Be high on life. Being happy, smiling, giving joy to others is the absolutes best high….. let love be your drug of choice!
•Only be influenced by those you WANT to be influenced by. We can learn from everyone….good, bad, right, wrong……but only let those whom you admire, respect, and trust to actually have a lasting affect on your life’s journey. Yes, I know you don’t end a sentence in a preposition.
•You can always come back home. Always.
•Love should be unconditional. If it’s not, then it’s not love.
•Sex: Just make sure you both are ready. Refer back to: Be Good. Be Careful. Don’t Be Stupid.
•I will never mention sex again to you…..unless you ask me. In which case I’m cool with it.
•Music can take us home anytime we want. It can take us to a safe, warm, comfortable, loving, non-judgmental, happy place.
•If you need something, ask.
•If you want something, ask.
•Know the difference between wants and needs. By the way, just “wanting” something is totally fine! Those are the little smiles we give ourselves.
•Love One Another The end.
•Make friends. Friendships matter.
•Being trustworthy is a noble thing.
•Sometimes it’s hard to be the bigger person…..but sometimes it’s the right thing to do.
•Everyone has a story. We would all do well to remember that when being quick to make assumptions, accusations, or judgement calls on others. Maybe theirs is a story worth hearing? Why not stop and ask?
•Remember the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
•Remember that no matter how corny you think this is, and no matter how silly you think I am…..that there will be no one who loves you more in your entire life. It’s not possible. A mother’s love is a pure and unconditional love from the very beginning. I hope you know that and that you never forget it…..especially when you are really busy….. Just touch one finger to your heart, and I’ll be touching two to mine.
•Pray and give thanks. You can have your own religious views, but no matter what you choose to believe, or who you choose to believe in, still pray. We didn’t just happen to show up here on this planet. Pray for forgiveness, pray for love, hope, and understanding. Pray for guidance and for grace. Give thanks for this world, for this earth, and for each other. There is a very real peace and comfort in having some relationship with your God…… and God is Love.