Advice to my Children


Advice to my Children
I’m sure I’ll add to this as time gets sucked away from us, but it’s a good start.

be kind.
It’s not always easy. It’s rarely popular. But a smile to that shy kid that everyone else picks on might just mean the world.

do not obsess about your weight, your hair, your looks.
Obsessing can be fun. Save it for something worthwhile.

travel.

learn the rules of football (and other boys’ club sports).
It’s like learning a foreign language. I think your brains will sponge it up better when you’re young

if you can, clean as you go.
No one like spending an entire day indoors, declutterfying.

anything you chase after, will run
This includes puppies, lightning bugs, promotions, most men, and both the ideal black cardigan and world’s most comfortable pair of boots.

wanting to change the world isn’t naive; it’s normal.
I hope you are able to fend off cynicism as long as possible to keep your youthful passion sincere and viable

passion isn’t just for the young
Don’t look askance if you see people displaying affection in public. They were young once too.

there is always that point in an argument when you realize you were wrong.
At that point, stop arguing.

leave a decent tip
Tips are not a tool to coerce your server, they are simply the currency of service jobs. respect this. tip often. tip well.

if you test people, they may fail.
Friendship, love, and family don’t hinge on any single success or failure; you would do yourself a disservice to administer litmus tests to things as complex as love and affection.

you don’t need the extended warranty.
Really. I promise.

hypocrisy is everywhere
So try and be both accepting and forgiving of this inconsistency in both yourself and others

sometimes the little decisions in life will be harder than the big ones
I can’t tell you how many times I stood deer-in-headlights in front of an aisle of thread spools or material swatches or a Chinese food menu. But i knew in a heartbeat i would marry your father one day.

listen. really listen.
Don’t just wait to talk.

pop culture definitions of love do not cut it.
Don’t rely on books or movies to tell you what love is and how it should be expressed. The real thing is gritty and harsh and often painful, but it is infinitely more fulfilling.

throw parties
They’re fun to attend, but I’ve always found a secret little joy in pulling off a good hosting of one.

be confident. when complimented: nod and say thank you. no disclaimers necessary
This one is from my friend Joy. We can just file it under Do as I say, not as I do…

make your friends a priority
They can so often be your salvation

never underestimate the value of a good pair of socks, a glass of wine, or a piece of dark chocolate
Some days, these things, too, can be your salvation!

wear bikinis while you can!
There WILL come a day when you realize you’ve traded in your youthful body for an entirely new one. And one day, you’ll look down at yourself, puzzled, and think “huh! When did that happen?” That’s the day a bikini stops being appropriate. Don’t stress out over this. I promise, when the time comes you won’t really mind.

wear your seat belt
This should be one less thing I have to worry about. help your mother out here

i will always keep your secrets.
If you have one knocking around inside of you that needs to be let out, you can tell me. I will keep it for you so that it doesn’t weigh you down. But, I do promise not to pester you, and to respect your decision if you have something you simply can’t tell me. Well, I’ll try at least…

find your lullaby
When each of you were little, you each had your own. It was found through trial and error of gently bouncing around the living room, seeing which one you reacted to, which one calmed you, which one spoke to you. So find something in your life that makes you feel calm and secure. Then, hold on to it. Apply liberally.

make a mess
Some of the best things in life are built out of messes. See: baking, painting, gardening, etc.

talk to strangers
I didn’t want to be too big of a hypocrite. Strangers are too interesting to fear. Plus, more often than not, you’ll know the creepers when you are presented with them.

mind your manners
This is difficult when you are young and memorizing them by rote and such, but when you are an adult, you are not granted the same freedom of youth to express your emotions. When they threaten to overwhelm you, and you are at a loss for how to behave, you can always fall back on your manners. They are the tool that will help you maintain your dignity in unsavory and unwelcome situations.

indulge
Have dessert for breakfast. Add another pump of hot fudge. Lay in bed all day with the newspaper.Just remember that an
indulgence is temporary. Do it sparingly and it is a joy. Do it too often and you’re just a hedonist.

if you love someone, tell them

if you want to leave a party and you don’t have a good excuse yet, spill something on yourself.
Stumbled upon this one accidentally in college. It’s served me well since then.

you have responsibilities. act accordingly.

your actions have consequences.

blood is nothing to wig out about.
You know this already. You all had nose bleeds like it’s going out of fashion when you were little. But, in a room where everyone else is losing it, try and be the calm voice of reason. Your grandfather always was and I always admired that

When you walk someone out to their car to say goodbye, wait until they drive away to go back inside.
This seems a generational thing right now. Your grandparents do it, but my friends rarely do. Try and bring this back if you can

don’t smoke.
I never thought that was an attractive habit. To that end, don’t bite your nails or chew on the ends of your hair either.

don’t go to bed angry
This is not just marriage advice, this is every day advice. It gives you upset stomachs and bad dreams and colors your tomorrow before it starts. Start each day fresh by giving yourself a moment to accept today’s failures and wish them goodnight.

when you compliment someone, make it genuine
compliments aren’t meant to be space fillers or conversation starters. They’re like haikus. Treat them as such.

ALWAYS write thank you notes.

Never write down what you wouldn’t want read aloud in front of the classroom
Also, never write down/email/text what you wouldn’t be willing to say to a person’s face. Technology makes us bold when maybe we should be just yet.

learn about wines and cantaloupe
Find out what makes them bold or sweet. Learn what you like. Learn to pick a good wine and pair it with dinner. Learn to to tell if fruit is ripe, particularly cantaloupe because it’s fun to be the crazy lady thumping on the melons in the produce aisle at the grocery

don’t always act your age
There are times when you should regress into puddle-jumping age. there are also times when it’s perfectly acceptable to dance like a three-year-old in public, or to have a glass of chocolate milk and lay on the rug in the living room reading a book, even if you aren’t five-years-old.

remember to say please and thank you
Such simple little words make such a difference

use people’s names when you first meet them.
The only way I’ve found to help me remember people’s names is to use them right away. try it. it helps.

laugh every day.
Laughter can clear out a funk like no other. Laugh from the belly, like you used to when you were babies.

someday, someone will break your heart.
Remind me, on that day, that I’m not allowed to kill them. Also remind me that I once had a broken heart. Several in fact, and that it was an exquisite pain I recovered from just fine.

there is a learning curve to life.
There may not be a rule book, but there is plenty of room for error.