I am rarely called upon for wisdom (with good reason), but I felt like I owed it to my daughter at this stage of our lives so, I've given it my best shot. My beloved daughter Meagan turns 40 and I probably should have done this years ago, but better late than never, so here goes....
From Mother to Daughter, here are my "Pearls of Wisdom" for you:
1. Laugh: Laughter will cure almost all of what hurts in your body, in your heart and in your soul. It will keep you sane. It will always help to smooth over the rough places in your life. So my darling daughter, think of your dad and me and our wicked sense of humor and laugh loud, long, and often. From your belly! Laugh.
2. Pray: On the day of your baptism, your dad and I and your Godparents promised God and you they would raise you as a woman of faith. We also promised as part of your community to help show you God. Pray. Learn about God through study, nature, service, and most of all prayer. Pray when your heart hurts; pray when your spirit is full; pray when there are no words; pray when your soul is filled with grief and when it is filled with song. Remember the prayer of my dear friend Jo Lovette, who always said every morning, “God, make me a better wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend.” Every night she prayed, “Well God, there’s always tomorrow.” Pray.
3. Believe: There are bonds that connect us all in our humanity. You are a person because of and through other people. You are because of them. This is called “Ubuntu.” Because we can’t always see those ties that bind us together, it’s easy to forget they are there. You must believe in what you cannot see. Believe in faith, hope and love. Believe in peace. Believe in the kindness of strangers and the goodness in everyone. Believe.
4. Rest: This life has a way of getting more and more complicated. Too many things start to pull on you for your time, your energy, your resources. Most of them will be really good things: school, work, family, volunteering, church… The first thing you will sacrifice will be sleep. I urge you to resist this temptation. Sleep will start to feel like a luxury. I assure you, it is not. It’s the only way to be the slightest bit useful to any of the people or causes to which you have committed. No great cause was ever helped by a cranky, sleep-deprived, wild-eyed, caffeinated woman. Rest.
5. Get Up: In this life, you will fail. You will mess up. You will make mistakes. Sometimes, you will be run over by the MACK truck of circumstances. Occasionally, the rain will flood or the earth will quake. A tree could fall on your house. At one point or another, you will get knocked down. Get Up. That’s the process. The only way to move forward is in lurches, stumbles and crashes. You will not come to the end of the path without bruised knees, bandages, a black eye or even crutches. Some people will decide to lie on the ground like road kill, but you must get up. Keep going. Say you’re sorry when you’re wrong. Take a helping hand when you need it. Get Up, Get Dressed and Be Fucking AWESOME!
6. Smart is Sexy: There are no shortages of people in this life who will try to make you feel small because they are small and don’t want to be alone. They will tell you that you are fat, ugly, dumb and not funny. They will tell you to hide your spark so no one will ever be intimidated by you. DO NOT EVER, even for one second, believe them. Smart is sexy. Truly amazing men are not interested in dumb girls with no gumption. Real, true, friends love a gal pal who challenges them. Look at your dad and I: your dad would never have been interested in me if I weren’t incredibly interesting and smart! Sass is attractive. Intelligence is a magnet for amazing people. The greatest part: it’s also a huge repulsion for the ignorant, uninformed, hateful fools that are so prevalent these days. Your Poppy has made it his mission in life to learn something new every day. Great advice. Read, learn, ask questions, and challenge assumptions every single day of the rest of your life!
7. Get Your Pretty On: One of the inescapable truths in life is that you are born into a body. Every body is beautiful. Take pride in your appearance. Do your nails and hair, wear make-up and clothes that compliment your figure. Stand up straight. Hold your head high. Meet the world head on. Don’t do it for other people. Do it for yourself. It’s easier to feel confident about yourself when you feel you look good. A great pair of shoes can do wonders for the sass in your step. But never mistake mascara for inner beauty. If your insides are ugly, no amount of cosmetics will cover it up. Before you can be truly pretty, you must be kind, honest, filled with grace and generosity! Once you’ve got those working, the lip gloss is just icing and everyone knows a fabulous shade of lipgloss will cure a bad hair day any day of the week!
8. Be Kind to Your Siblings: This will be hard for you....But, when I was young and my sister and brother and I would fight, daddy would tell me, “Be nice to your sister and brother; their all you’ve got.” I figured this was a pretty sorry state of affairs if they were all I had. Now I understand, a sibling is a blessing like no other. You are the only ones who will know what’s it’s like to grow up in your family. You’ll call and they will know precisely why your daddy made you laugh or your mama is driving you to drink BOURBON from the dog bowl! Sadly, your dad is gone and one day I will be gone, but you will not be alone because you and Ben will have each other. Be kind to Ben. He's what you’ve got. And that’s everything.
9. Pick the Bracelet: At mamma and daddy's 50th Anniversary party, mamma told me a great story. She said, years before, the oven was about to go out in her kitchen. Christmas was coming up and she’d set her sights on a diamond and sapphire bracelet. Daddy asked her if she wanted the bracelet or a new oven. She said she picked the bracelet because she figured he’d eventually get hungry enough to buy her the new oven too. She leaned in very close and said to me, “Honey, in this life, when you get the choice, ALWAYS pick the bracelet.” That’s good advice. Sometimes in life you have to do the hard thing. Sometimes, there are no good options available and you have to pick the least bad. But sometimes, you get to decide to do something nice for yourself and too often, you’ll be tempted not to. Trust her: get the message; eat the cookie, spend 20 minutes alone
with a good book, and for your sake....... PICK THE BRACELET!
Meagan, I love you like no other! You were my first born, my daughter and I love you to the moon and back!
Happy Birthday Meagadoo....I am honored to be your mother!