Open letter to my future son or daughter

First off, I know that I’m probably an exhausting mother. My dearest apologies. I’m not going to be a helicopter mom — I promise — but considering the occasional insert of a government conspiracy theory into conversations, the one or two times I force you to watch 1776:The Musical (an American classic) or the Muppets with me, and the reaction I give you if G-d forbid you ever ask to drive a Prius I recognize you may get a little sick of me. And that’s okay. I love you with all of my heart but all little birdies have to eventually leave the nest.

So, in my humble nineteen years of my life I’ve learned a few things that I’d like to share with you and I hope you are able to hold me to these same tips should I ever try and question you.

“The shit that makes your heart beat faster and your eyes glow when you do it or talk about it, no matter if it’s hiking, yoga, gardening, painting, kissing, meditation, photography, going for walks, helping others — do that. Do it as often as you can. Because that’s what life is about. Creating as many passionate, happy moments as possible. Don’t let anyone stop you from doing the things you love — not even yourself.”

Do what makes you happy, and, obviously, you’ll be a happier person. Go outside whenever possible. Vitamin D is good for you!!! But remember also be prepared to accept and be okay with the consequences. If you like to travel, save your money for planes and trains and cars and boats. If you like to eat incredible food, recognize the toll it can take on your body; your machine ;).

“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let the pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness.”

-(Kurt Vonnegutt)

The world is an incredible place. All around you you will watch people demonstrate immense kindness. But, there will also be instances where you witness the cruelty that human nature can inevitably allow. Always remember that being vulnerable its in itself great power.

Being vulnerable is one thing; being a victim is another. So I’ll tell you to avoid as much as possible letting other people see you cry. When I was in 6th grade, some kids at school were making fun of me. (I know this is everyone, middle schoolers are the cruelest.) I believe their exact words were “You’re the result of a broken condom.” That and continued taunting brought me over the edge. I came home that night and, sobbing, told my Dad. He made me promise I would never cry at school again. He told me not to let people think I was weak or else the bullying would continue. He was right. And, for 5 years, I didn’t. I made it to Junior year when a sick grandmother, fighting parents, AP tests and SATs, and friend drama brought me over the edge. I was more upset about the fact that I was crying and had disappointed my Dad than to even remember what had brought me to tears in the first place. Ask my poor homeroom advisor, who brought me tissues and told me it would all be okay. She was right. It was.

The first time a broken heart sends you crying into your pillow, remember the feeling. Be logical and truly consider why it hurts so much. It is so much better “to have loved and have lost than to never have loved at all”. I know that it feels like the end of the world, but I promise you it’s not. There are more fish in the sea and plenty of non-fish on land, whatever you’re into.

When you feel alone, when you feel like no one understands you, breathe. Watch this video of Nora the Polar Bear growing up (I’ve seen it at least 34 times) and breathe again. Then get some air and think. I am here to listen and guide you and I promise I won’t judge. I am on your side. Just please try not to kill anyone because know how much harder that will make my job.

May you harness the ability to make your own mountains into hills, for they are far easier to summit. Never forget that everyone you meet is fighting their own battle some of which are far greater than any you will ever know. Be humble and grateful for the life you lead and the community you’re in.

Most importantly know that I am as human as you. As much as I hope to be a role model in your life, I can only ask that you accept my own flaws. I am far from perfect and I do not want you to think that that’s some kind of attainable standard. Accept your flaws and learn from them. Know that I will be working each day to do the same.

I hope I proven to you, daughter, that being a woman is as much a blessing as it is a curse. I hope I have helped give you the confidence and bravery you need to strut through the world like you own it, because Honey, you do. Mark Twain teaches us to remember our position on this earth every day: “The world owes you nothing; it was here first.” Be humble in your actions and kind in your words but be aggressive in going after what you want.

I hope I have shown you, son, that respecting women (whether or not they are your sexual preference) should be as natural as respecting any other human being. Watch that cup of tea video if you really need some clarification but I hope and pray you understand respect far before that.

I’m sorry if we fight. And we’re going to fight. You’re going to want to wear shorts I think are too short. You’re going to want to hang out with your friends past a time I think is acceptable. I’m going to think you’re not organized enough and make you study or clean when all you want to really do is whatever eventually replaces Netflix and Xbox. You’re going to test my disciplining limits, and I’m going to yell. Just know everything I do and say I do out of concern for your well-being. Like Cersei Lannister and Catelyn Stark, I’ll do whatever is in my power to ensure your health and happiness.

See you when I’m at least 30 kiddos. Older than that if you’re capable of reading this.

P.S. You’re cool aunt Katers says she loves you and that you are always welcome. Beware, she’s a 1776 fan too.

-SF

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