This weekend we’re off to Bama; Roll Tide. How is it possible this child, my last, is graduating from college? As all mothers do, I wish for her so many things. For my precious little one, it’s joy and ease that come first to mind.
She lost her father at 17. She learned to measure morphine by the drop to a cancer-addled mother at 21. She’s already met strife. She is acutely aware that at any moment we can be dealt devastating blows and fate can be cruel. She needs neither “toughening up” nor harsh life lessons. I wish for her happiness, love and the safety of a little yellow house.
In a tiny five-year-old voice, at the family dinner table, she informed us that all she wanted when she grew up was to live in a little yellow house in the back yard. She also told her father she wanted a wedding without the boy. He assured her she could have both.
As I let her hand slip from mine one more time, my words of wisdom wish her the smiles that come only from a life well lived.
Be a badass in whatever you choose—in your profession, as a mother, as a wife, as a member of your community. Don’t waste time worrying about the thoughts of others. Be the strongest you that you can muster. People will always have an opinion. Ignore it. Adjust your crown and carry on.
Moods don’t dictate manners. Kindness is underrated and devalued. Don’t ever let a bad day carry over into the lovely, well-heeled girl you are. Better to say nothing than to have to apologize for an ill temper later. Unless some bitch deserves it, then revert to badass and carry on.
Wear matching panties and bras. Even if they’re from Target. There will be plenty of time for the expensive ones. Having this little secret under your interview suit makes you stand a little taller, walk a bit brisker and elude an inner confidence no one can quite put their finger on. And there’s also that accident thing. I don’t want anyone at the hospital to question whether your mother taught you well.
Follow your bliss every single day. Never waste the gift you’ve been given. Take a job that pays the bills if you must, while you focus privately on what stirs your passion. Don’t let it wither when life becomes hard and time feels pressed. Your gift is words and letting them spill forth will bring you happiness. Don’t let a day slip by without taking care of your needs.
You are not your job. Don’t let what you do define who you are. There is room for everything in life—jobs, home life, children, marriage and community. Don’t let work take up more space than it should.
The fairytale is real. Don’t settle for less. A fabulous marriage, filled with deep love, great sex and secrets shared by two can’t be beat by anything on earth. Choose wisely. Always know that what you give is what you get. Remember that after your first fight when he’s such a jerk. And he will be. You’ll take a turn being the jerk too. Be quick to forgive and never hold back your love. It’s the thing that makes life worth living.
And, through all your travels, ups and downs, goods and bads, remember that the little yellow house in my back yard exists and the door is always open.