Dear Ruth, Ila, and Jane,
If you’re reading this, you’re either old enough to read my writing now or I’m dead. Either way, wow! How did we get here? I’m so proud of who you are and who you will be. I think every parent wants to impart wisdom onto their kids, so I’m going to give you some doses of mine. My only hope is that I’m able to share these things with you verbally, but if not, the internet works well, too.
Here are some things I want you to know. Some are funny, some are heartwarming, some suck because life. But if you forget it all or something doesn’t sit right with you, just remember God loves you, you are uniquely made and uniquely loved, and your dad and Auntie Gina are the greatest human beings to have ever walked the planet. Cherish them.
1. Relationships are complicated.
And I’m not just talking about romantic ones. Relationships in general are messy because people are messy. As people we need to be reminded to say “I was wrong and I’m sorry.” Learn these words because you’re going to mess up in your relationships. As people we also tend to forget to say “I forgive you.” You will need to forgive the people you love a lot. We already do this with you all and you are five, four, and one. My point here: get used to giving and receiving these phrases over and over again. And if your intimate, friendship, or familial people don’t have a decent mastery of this, make sure to have good boundaries with them.
2. Speaking of boundaries…
Have them. Even in healthy relationships. At some point when you’re in therapy (which I’ll gladly pay for until you’re off of our insurance) you can talk to your therapist about these. If you’re not on my insurance use your HSA money. If you don’t have an HSA see also the money portion of this letter.
3. Money, money, money!
Checking, savings, money markets, credit cards, loans, lines of credit, HSA, FSA, IRA, Roth IRA, 401k, 403b, 529, UTMA, stocks, bonds, FICO…I care more about you learning what these mean than I do about your learning algebra and geometry. Learn about all of these things. There will be a quiz at the end of this letter that shall magically appear before you because we can do all things through Jesus. Also, give away a lot of your money to people who need it because Jesus. End of story. Because for real though, it’s all gonna burn. If you do need to spend your money though, spend it on things you’ll remember. Like a dope vacation or rad tattoo. Yes, I’m okay with tattoos and piercings, so if you’re looking to “rebel” you’re going to have to do a lot more damage than that. I’ll probably want to get matching tattoos and that will give you even more to talk about in therapy! Yay!
4. That brings me to your body.
You are made in the image of God. You are beautiful and perfect as you are. Throw out all scales. They are the devil’s work. Scales do not give you your overall idea of health. Care about your health–most importantly your mental health. That is crucial. If you feel good in your head and your heart, your overall health will follow. Mommy is technically obese and is training to run a marathon and in the best mental state and shape she has ever been in. Now it took a lot of good work to get here and it is difficult because we live in a world that values people looking “fit” or “thin” or whatever happens to be the social norm at that time. But I am here to tell you that BMI can suck it because I love vegetables, fruit, protein, and I eat jelly beans, take coffee with my creamer, and love an ice cold Coke because I am LIVING. I Zumba, run, and lift because it makes me feel good. Find the things that make your mind and body feel good. The rest will sort itself out, I promise.
5. No one knows what they’re doing anyway.
The sooner you realize that people do not know what they are doing, the more you can embrace the chaos and beauty that is life. I remember when we first had Ruth. It dawned on me–no one really knows what they’re doing, do they? This is all a bunch of guess work, isn’t it? Knowing this allowed me to live more boldly and authentically. Surround yourself with people that love God AND treat each person with the dignity with which they deserve to be treated. If someone claims to love God and then treats people terribly, then they certainly don’t know what they’re doing. Run from them and cling to people who will live love out loud.
I have more I would like to say, but this seems like a good stopping point. I will write to you again soon. I love you so much and can’t believe I get to be your mom. You make this whole gig pretty awesome and I cannot wait to see how you change the world because you will. Thank you for being my daughters. And thank you in advance for letting dad and I live with you when we get super old. You three are the best!
P.S. JK about us living with you. I super love you, but I look forward to when we visit each other and then go to our separate homes someday. Until then I look forward to picking up everyone’s socks in every room of the house for what feels like an eternity.