Sometimes, I feel helpless. I wonder how I am doing as a Mom. My divorce is beyond hostile and I have so little financial means. I often feel as if I am failing my children somehow. I know that I work as hard as I possibly can to support two households and I provide the model for what a healthy, loving home should be. But, there are four beautiful people relying on me. So, sometimes, I just feel helpless.
And then a gem like this surfaces. When I asked Mackenzie today what the greatest lesson I have taught her is she instantaneously produced this letter that she keeps on her phone. Frankly, I had forgotten that I wrote it; but it’s beautiful and made me realize what a rock solid Mom I am every single day. With Mackenzie’s permission, I am sharing it.
As it turns out, I am not helpless at all. I may not be able to give them everything, but I give them this. And that is more than enough.
March 25, 2013
To my lovely daughter, Mackenzie, on your 16th birthday,
I thought by now I would know everything I needed to know about life and about being a mom, and would be able to pass those lessons along to you on this important occasion. But, the truth is, I still feel 16 years old myself some days and wonder how it is that I got this parenting gig in the first place.
My life has taken me in directions that I didn’t anticipate and has prepared me in ways that I didn’t know I would need. And the things that I “expected”? Well, for the most part they never came ~ with the exception of you and three other amazing children who, in fact, teach me every day.
So, let me review the lessons I have learned from you and thank you for them. Over time and with life’s challenges you, too, may forget them. I want you to have them in case you ever lose your way:
1. Grace – Slather yourself in this before you even get dressed in the morning because, without any doubt, something will come your way that entices you to act in a way that is unbecoming. Don’t. No matter what…don’t. Keep an eye on your lighthouse and the things that are important to you and keep heading that way no matter what others say or do.
2. Humor – Sometimes you will fail at the first lesson because life is messy and you are not perfect but try to laugh anyway. You will make mistakes. You will embarrass yourself and the people you love sometimes. You will have regrets. But, when you do, take it with humor. Laugh at your imperfections and those of others. Always give people the benefit of the doubt and believe that they have the best of intentions. And just laugh. Of the lines that I have on my face the smile lines around my eyes are by far my favorite. I much prefer them to the scowl lines on my forehead. You have to pick which you would like to have later and earn them. So laugh. A lot.
3. Self-respect – Once you have given people chances and they are no longer acting with the best of intentions lose them like a bad habit no matter who they are. It’s okay. It’s best for you and good for them, too, as they clearly need to learn how to be decent. Respect your body, your mind, and your spirit. You will need them all in balance to be healthy.
4. Authenticity- In the chaos of your day listen to the littlest voice that yells to you from the inside. It is smarter than you are because it lives closer to your heart. Go after the life that you want and don’t settle for anything less than you deserve. And, for the record, you deserve everything you desire.
5. Live – Don’t wait. Do it today. Because today, right now, is the only guarantee. You know this better than I do.
There is one lesson of my own that I would like to share that only comes with age and experience. Good things come from bad all of the time, but you have to be patient, and open to them, and give them precious time to unfold. Don’t give up before they arrive because, in the end, they will be astoundingly beautiful.
I love you very much, my daughter and my friend. Happy Birthday.