Since the birth of my beautiful little tornado of a daughter, my life has basically been lived on Red Alert at all times. She’s the craziest, spunkiest, feistiest little Ladybug I’ve ever seen. And while she can take a hit like a Manning quarterback and get right back up, I must admit she has GOT to have an exhausted guardian angel. In fact, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if she has more than one, and they just tag team each other over the course of the day. As I’ve watched her grow over the last three years, I just keep shaking my head and thinking “Good Lord…I am too busy trying to keep her alive and out of an ER to impart wisdom to her!!!” But, I also know that I am responsible for her turning out to be a classy young lady. So, just like the letter to my son, I’m writing to her. Though at this point, it is just because she’s given me a righteous case of adult ADD that borders on Tourette’s, and I’m afraid I’ll completely forget what I wanted to say. So here goes:
1) Keep it classy. This means a myriad of things, but the most important of which is I do NOT ever expect to see you behaving like Miley. In fact, I am going to have a bracelet made that says “WWMD” (What Would Miley Do). And if it is something Miley would do, your tiny butt had better not. You may not end up on Rolling Stone or OK magazine, but if your skanky antics land you a spot on some guys “Hit It List”, your mama is going to start making you dress like an 80 year old, and drive you to school. For Life. Try me.
2) Don’t be a follower. As in, if all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you? Dumb question, right? Well, let’s just go ahead and assume that every dumb question my mother asked me will be a question I ask you. Trust me, I’ll hate it just as much as you. But I’m still going to say it. Be the beautiful and independent fireball I’ve known you are since birth. You don’t need anyone else’s approval (**except mine!**). So please remember you don’t have to do what “they” do. Because the truth is, you’ll earn more respect from everyone if you aren’t just another Lemming.
3) Do your best. I told your brother, and I’ll tell you. Half-assed won’t cut it. If you start it, you will finish it. And you will do whatever you’re doing well enough that you can look back on it and be proud. Even if you didn’t exactly enjoy it. This includes school, piano lessons, and (since grace is a gene that you weren’t blessed with) most likely ballet too. Suck it up, Buttercup. Your all is all you should offer.
4) Don’t be a baby mama. Again, as I said to your brother, I genuinely hope and pray that you are married and on your Caribbean honeymoon before this situation creeps up, but I am not an idiot. And temptation cracks even the strongest resolve. So just take this advice: Your naked body should only belong to those who love your naked soul. This means that you had better love him, and HE had better love you more. Because if you think a positive pregnancy test will scare him away, he’ll poop a gold nugget when I go Mama Bear on him. Trust me, you don’t dare want to have someone’s baby that you don’t want to have to talk to forever. Because forever is a long freaking time. Very long. I can provide a list of people to vouch for this if you doubt me.
5) Stay out of handcuffs. This is two-fold. As in, you better never end up in the back of a police cruiser. AND you better never end up as fodder for a bunch of EMT’s because you got stuck in a pair during a romp that *no one* was ever supposed to know about. Because let me tell you something: Those paramedics and EMT’s? Yeah, they talk. So do nurses. So best advice? Go with what Fat Amy said: Mmm. Better not. Seriously.
6) Take pride in your brain. Read books. Learn a foreign language. Make good grades. Get scholarships. BE smart. And be proud of it. I know the dingy, ditsy girls get attention, but they have no substance. And they aren’t what will last. You, my dear, are. So don’t sell yourself short. Be your brilliant self because no one ever got to the end of their lives and wished they hadn’t learned so much. True story.
7) Be a killer cook. You won’t believe how cool it is to know that you can cook for yourself. It isn’t boring. It isn’t old fashioned. It’s awesome. And when the time comes for you to meet a man, and you have a recipe that you can cook for him, he’ll adore you. And the even better part is, so will his mom. Knowing how to cook will help you save money, it will help keep you healthy, and it will make your apartment the place everyone wants to be. Cook to relax. Cook to smile. Cook to feed yourself – mind, body, and soul.
8) Pictures can (and will!) last forever. So unless you want your grandchildren scouring the “interwebs” for something, and come across a picture of you acting like a Lohan, you really should just decide early on not to do anything in pictures that you don’t want to get unearthed later. And do NOT post anything on the internet that you don’t *honestly* want the world to see. If you ever end up in MY news feed doing something shamefully slutty, you’ll regret it. Especially if you still live with me. I don’t care how old you are.
9) Take care of your body. It is what will be carrying you around your entire life. Don’t abuse it. Don’t neglect it. It will be what people see first, and most often the first impression someone ever has of you. Make sure you’re putting your best foot, face, and self forward. Take care of your skin. Spend time on your hair. Put on something presentable that you’re comfortable in and proud of. Be healthy. This includes eating right, and working up a sweat – I don’t care if you run, do Zumba, weight train, whatever. Make your physical appearance and health a priority. I’m not encouraging you to be vain, but I am encouraging you to care about your appearance. It shows others that you value yourself.
10) Lastly, but most importantly, be a lady of faith. Be a lady of character, integrity, kindness, humility, love, generosity, and graciousness. God gave me you, and I thank Him every single day for you. Remember who you are and whose you are. Your faith will carry you when you are weak, tired, scared, alone, and broken. Don’t ever forget that. Seek Him first in everything and love Him more than anything, because nothing compares to the promise you have in Him.
I love you, little girl. You are amazing. And you are a blessing. And just in case you’re moving so fast that you miss all these little lessons, this list is for your reference later. When you are racing head-on toward your dreams and plans – for that time when you’re ready to grab life by the horns, rope it, and ride it into the sunset – make sure you remember this. Because this will be proof that mama did, in fact, tell you so.