Thursday, December 15, 2011

Mommy's Advice to the L-Bomb

Parenting is the hardest job that anyone can do.  Period.  It is also the most rewarding.  I mean, how can you love someone so much the first time you lay eyes on her?  What is even more amazing is that your love continues to grow.  And grow.  And grow. 

I am an only child of divorced parents.  Surprisingly, I turned out okay.  I mean I definitely have my issues.   My mom was super duper overprotective.  She lived in constant fear that something bad would happen to me, and as a result, I was not allowed to do much as a kid.  Which means that when I got the freedom in college to be on my own, I did everything she told me not to do.  And I did those things very well and very often.  My father was very loving but not overly expressive.  We did reconcile our tumultulous relationship before he died, and I will always be grateful for those last few months with him.  My only regret is that he did not live long enough to meet his beautiful granddaughter.  Sadly, he missed her birth by only one month.

So as I sit here thinking about how influential our parents are (can be good, can be bad), I often wonder what Lucy will say about me in 30ish years.  I hope she will say to others that I was an awesome mom - that I listened to her, that I supported her, that I comforted her, and that I would lay down my life for her.  And I would. 

I am sure that she and I will do battle many times in her life.  And I will always be right.  Well, most of the time.  And when I look back, I hope that she will have learned a few things from dear old mom.

1.  Never let anyone steal your power.  Be strong in who you are.  It is important to know your own mind, stand by your opinions, and fight for what you believe in.  You can't always make friends.  But you almost always will earn respect.  So always go down swinging.

2.  Be passionate about everything that you do.  Choose things in life that you love to do.  And really do them.  This is how you leave your mark on the world.  It is better to be known as someone who lived life than someone who watched it pass by.  Taking risks with a watchful eye is a good thing. 

3.  Be loyal.  Whether you choose to surround yourself with lots of friends or just a few close ones, be undyingly loyal to each and every one.  Open up to them with abandon, but keep their confidences.  Defend them if needed, and stand by them even if you do not always agree with their decisions.  Have one friend whose house you can run to at 10:00 at night when you find out that you are unexpectedly pregnant.  Yes, there is a story there.

4.  Have empathy.  Always put yourself in the other person's shoes before making judgments.  And it is okay to make judgments.  Everybody does.  Just make sure you have really thought about how a situation is affecting someone else, not just you.  It will be a challenge for you as an only child to look through the eyes of others.  Mommy has trouble with this one.  I am still a work in progress.

Lucy - I want you to experience an amazing life and to become an amazing woman.  You are the one thing in my life of which I am most proud.  And the best is yet to come.  As I always say, mommy thinks you hung the moon, kid.

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