As your sixth birthday approaches, I see the telltale signs. I know my sweet chubby-faced baby girl is melting away before my eyes.
Sometimes when we hug, I catch a faint glimpse of her still–your warm soft cheek pressed up against mine, silky eyelashes fluttering shut as you gently sigh–innocence refusing to budge. Nestling into my heart.
I breathe it in with the hope I will always remember.
And that you will, too.
But for now, let’s get down to business.
This is Your Life
Listen up. I need to let you know a few things about the rest of your life.
Things my own mother never told me. Things I hope you understand one day.
Hopefully, sooner than I did.
- Laugh. All the time. Giggle like a maniac. Chortle. Snort. Guffaw. Don’t be shy. Let the giddy tears flow. Make a fool of yourself. There is nothing else like it.
I’m surprisingly very good at it.
- Cry if you want to cry. Never let anyone tell you it’s ‘weak’.
It can be very lucrative. I can cry at a drop of a hat. It’s gotten me pretty far in life.
- When a bully pushes you down on the playground, stand right back up and get up in his/her grill. Don’t be afraid. If the tears flow, it’s all right. Get mad. Get sad. But stand back up to them. Understand that maybe they don’t know what they’re doing. You need to let them know it’s not right. Then tell a teacher.
Maybe hire your older brother to be your bodyguard, pay him in Twinkies.
Worked for me.
- No one will ever remember the day in second grade when you puked all over the lunch table because Jimmy Libby shoved mac-n-cheese up his nose.
Except maybe Jimmy Libby.
- When your older brother tells you it’s a good idea to jump off the garage roof into the swimming pool,
- When your older brother wants to play ‘target practice’ using a slingshot, some marbles and your head,
- Thanks to your dad and your older brother, you will never go on a single date until you’re 21. They mean well, they just know it will take a special person to earn your heart.
And a strong man who can disarm a dad with a 20 gauge shotgun.
- You will hurt others one day. Tell them you’re sorry while you still have the chance.
We all make mistakes, all the time.
Like the time I held my curling iron in my best friend’s hair until I smelled burnt flesh. Note: hairspray only helps fuel the flames.
- We are always learning. No one has all the answers.
Except your mother.
- If you feel anger, feel it. It’s okay to be mad sometimes. Don’t wish it away or bury it deep down. Face it. Never feel guilty about how you’re feeling. Accept it, transform it. It’s there to teach you.
Then after you’ve had enough– make sure you release it and move on.
I also find screaming into a pillow, and consuming a gallon of chocolate ice cream while watching a Nora Ephron movie marathon helps calm me as well.
- Make new friends, but keep the old.
One is silver and more likely to lend you money.
- The only thing anyone ever wants is for someone to understand them, to accept them for exactly who they are deep down inside.
The stuff we see on the outside? Doesn’t matter even the tiniest bit.
Remember this when your mother is wearing her bra on the outside of her clothes.
- Genius is 1% inspiration, 98% perspiration,
and 1% Extra Strength jasmine-scented deodorant.
- Dance like no one is watching.
Fart like no one is around.
No, really. Make sure no one is around when you fart. Men don’t think women fart, it’s a huge top secret conspiracy and I’d like to keep it that way.
- Learn how to deal with spiders on your own. Be brave. Scoop them up carefully with a newspaper and shoo them out the door because they have families too.
Or squash them into bug juice while hyperventilating and screaming–your choice.
- Unclog your own sinks/toilets, hook-up your own stereo/DVR, change your car’s oil–by yourself. Don’t rely on a man to do it for you.
Rely on a man to be there when you need to bitch about doing everything around the house.
- Stay away from any boy who starts his sentences with, “Duuuuude….”
- Learn how to cook.
Hot Pockets don’t count.
Lean Pockets do.
- Don’t bother separating whites from colors, just wash everything in cold, make sure you fold right away or things will get all wrinkly, and never, ever under any circumstances,
bring home your laundry on the weekends.
- Get a job.
I’m kidding. You’re only six.
No, seriously, get a job. Sell some Girl Scout Cookies, something.
- Nature is free and it’s better than HDTV.
Now get out of the house.
- All things must pass.
Don’t worry, all this lame advice I’m giving you right now is almost over. But I’m gonna leave you with a little more, so pay close attention to the next three, okay?
(Try very hard not to roll your eyes.)
- Trust that your sorrow–all those tears, the heavy ache you might feel in your heart–will dissolve someday. The darkness isn’t forever. The sheer light of hope and love will crush it to dust. It will. Grab onto that little ray of light and never let go of it no matter how much you want to. If you can’t find it, come to me and I’ll shine it on you.
- Smile. It feels pretty dang good, doesn’t it?
- I love you.
Happy birthday, my sweet pea, Little Miss J