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My song for Aubrey, probably since before she was born, has always been Rascal Flatt’s ‘My Wish.’ The words ring so true, and I hope that my daughter can find her place in this world much quicker than her mother did. I don’t know that I’ve played it for her since she was able to actually comprehend it, but I am sure that one day soon we will cross that bridge again. (And yes, I’ve edited out God’s grace. Most of you probably know by now that I’m an atheist. If you didn’t already… well, you do now. I am a very dedicated humanist, and I know that, regardless of your religious beliefs, Aubrey, you will find grace in your own mistakes as well.)

I hope the days come easy and the moments pass slow,

And each road leads you where you wanna go,

And if you’re faced with a choice, and you have to choose,

I hope you choose the one that means the most to you.

And if one door opens to another door closed,

I hope you keep on walkin’ till you find the window,

If it’s cold outside, show the world the warmth of your smile.

But more than anything, more than anything

My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,

Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small,

You never need to carry more than you can hold,

And while you’re out there getting where you’re getting to,

I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,

Yeah, this, is my wish.

I hope you never look back, but you never forget,

All the ones who love you, in the place you live,

I hope you always forgive, and you never regret,

And you help somebody every chance you get,

Oh, you find [your] grace, in every mistake,

And always give more than you take.

But more than anything, yeah, more than anything

My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,

Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small,

You never need to carry more than you can hold,

And while you’re out there getting where you’re getting to,

I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,

Yeah, this, is my wish. Yeah, yeah.

My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,

Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small,

You never need to carry more than you can hold,

And while you’re out there getting where you’re getting to,

I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,

Yeah, this, is my wish (my wish, for you).

This is my wish (my wish, for you)

I hope you know somebody loves you (my wish, for you).

May all your dreams stay big (my wish, for you)

Of course, I want for her what every mother wants – for her to learn from my mistakes and do better for herself right off the bat. To avoid the pain and heartache that I felt. And more than anything, to find happiness around every corner she turns. However, I am not naïve enough to think that she will learn from my mistakes. Hell, I am still making some of the mistakes that my mother warned against, and I consider myself a reasonably educated and mature twenty-four year old. But as my daughter rapidly approaches her fourth birthday, which will quickly turn into her fifth, which then means kindergarten and then elementary school and before long, high school. College. Damn. Where has the time gone?! Don’t blink. I never realized.

I know she won’t heed all of my advice. I know there will be times where she will utter “I hate you, mom” and will probably mean it with every fiber of her being. For now, she clings to me and tells me she loves me so much, says “you’re MINE,” and gives the best hugs that I never even knew were possible. That will always be enough.

I know she will travel down many of the paths that I did. I know that she will probably make many of the same mistakes that I did. And who knows, maybe they won’t be mistakes for her. In the meantime, I’m going to start something that I’ve been meaning to start for a while now. I’d really like you all to contribute in the comments as well, whether it be to your own children or to mine. Hopes, dreams, wishes for my daughter. Mistakes that I hope she’ll never make. Lessons that I hope she’ll learn early. And, throughout, the message that I will never stop loving her regardless. There are a lot of but’s in here, and a lot of fragments. I’m not going to apologize for these. Let me tell you, if you haven’t already figured this out. Giving advice to someone else is one of the hardest things to do. I’m going to make lots of edits as things come to me, because I can assure you even I am not good enough to offer up all the advice needed for a lifetime in one day.

These are what follows.

 

  1. As your mother, I will always love you with everything I have, even when I count to three and roll my eyes at you, forbid you to leave your disaster-ridden room until I can see the floor, or give you that mean-mom look when we are out in public and you aren’t listening to a single.word.I.say.
  2. Never regret. There are many things in my life that I wish I could change, but I strongly believe in the butterfly effect (chaos theory). When you’re a little older, we can sit down together and watch the movie. (Head’s up, the second one sucked.) If you stepped out of the house a minute later than you should’ve, it might just have avoided you that car wreck. It’s not fate, or the universe. Honestly, it’s probably just dumb luck. But, it happened for a reason. Even those things that may not impact life or death are learning opportunities.

“It has been said something as small as the flutter of a butterfly’s wing can ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world.”
– Chaos Theory

  1. You don’t have to learn from every mistake. But, you probably will. Sometimes, you just have to make mistakes for the hell of it, and that’s okay. That’s what being young living is all about. You will probably want to throw yourself off a bridge at some point because of some lost love, or stupid mistake, or desperate clutch at something you can’t grasp. (Please don’t. Talk to me, or anyone else, first.) That’s okay. But, you are a changed person because of it. Mommy can reference just about anything back to Garth Brooks, so here’s The Dance.
  2. Your age really doesn’t mean anything. You can find love at fourteen, and you can party like it’s 1999 when you’re fifty. It’s taking me a while to realize this. I always thought that graduating, getting married, and having a child meant growing up. But really, it just means growing. Growing together. Growing out. Growing closer. Just growing. It’s okay to be a kid again sometimes. When you are young, don’t let people get in your way. Ever. And if they do, let me know and I will make them move.
  3. Don’t make lists. Well, I can’t honestly tell you that I mean this one, because a well-made list may very well save you a lot of stress. But I truly hope you don’t inherit your mother’s OCD gene, though I know how genetics work, and for this I am sorry.
  4. Travel while you can. I don’t regret having you when I did, at all. Sometimes, I wish your daddy and I had waited until we were more stable, both financially and as adults, but that isn’t how life works. See number two. You are my beautiful baby girl, and always will be, and because I do believe in the butterfly effect I know that having you at a later time would’ve given us a completely different little girl (or boy!). But, I do look forward to when you grow up a little and we can travel as a family. I think traveling is important. It diversifies your view of the world, which cannot be gathered through looking at pictures or reading accounts.
  5. You can change people. I know most people will disagree with me on this one, so I’m not going to give it much more. You are not really changing them, but you are helping them to recognize the good things within them that are brought out by being with you. And yes, there will be many. Yes, there will be people who will fight you every step of the way. They are scared of letting go of what they know. Don’t change people because you want them to conform to some idea that you hold of the perfect person. Help them change to be the best they can be for themselves and for you.
  6. Love whoever the f^*k you love. And I mean this so much. Mommy spent many years of her life, between two different relationships with other women (girls), where she was terrified to admit to what was happening, terrified to “come out” to being gay, or bisexual, or whatever it was at the time. Don’t be scared. Mommy and daddy will always love you no matter what, and the rest of the world can f^*k themselves. Maybe things will change significantly in the next few years, and you won’t have to worry about this, and things are already changing drastically from when I was in high school. But really, you can’t change who you love. So, don’t fight it either. Wrap yourself up wholeheartedly in love and let it sweep you away. It can be great like that sometimes.
  7. No, you probably don’t have a soul mate. But you will find one person that you cannot imagine your life without. And yes, you might think you find multiple people, but when the next comes along, the feelings transfer. And that’s okay. You’ll eventually find one that, no matter how things may seem at any given time, and no matter how bad things may get, you just won’t let go. And that’s as close as you’ll get to a soul mate. Hang on tight. Your daddy and I have been to hell and back, and there’s no chance either of us is letting go. He’s not really my soul mate, but my life partner, and that’s a commitment that we made to each other when we took our wedding vows, but also a commitment that we make with every fight (and make up), with every “I love you” or peck on the cheek, and with every scowl he gives me (sometimes followed by a smile) when I pet the cat before I hug him.
  8. Do what you want with your life. Don’t make a lot of money? Just make enough to live, baby girl, or find another way to supplement. Don’t obsess over the future, because it’s never guaranteed. Don’t waste years of your life in school if you don’t enjoy school. Just find the dream, and then chase it like a tornado.
  9. Tomorrow is never guaranteed. More Garth Brooks for you: If Tomorrow Never Comes. You’re going to have bad days. And that’s okay. But do what you want to do, when you want to do it. Don’t wait.
  10. You don’t have to have children. You don’t have to get married. You really don’t have to do anything that society tells you to do. Be yourself! Every step of the way, be yourself. I know you will always have the love of at least a couple people in this world, and if anyone else has a problem with that, well… they can go back and check number 8.
  11. Mommy doesn’t have a problem with bad words (as you can probably gather from 1-12 above), but some other people do. Be courteous, but be yourself. Don’t drop f bombs around 3 year olds (which is why mommy and daddy have to shut your door when we watch ‘bad’ movies), but don’t filter yourself when you’re in a mature setting. Say what needs to be said. On the same note, always say how you feel. Religious beliefs. Political beliefs. Any other beliefs you may hold. Stand up for them! Express yourself in any way you feel… tattoos, piercings, clothing, words. Anything. Be you (see number 12). When all else fails, substitute butterflying for stronger words, and then laugh when others get confused (when you get a little older, I’ll let you read Colleen Hoover’s Slammed series – one of mommy’s favorites, and this will really desensitize you to colorful vocabulary and the meanings behind it).
  12. Smile as much as you can. Don’t ever force it, but put yourself in jobs, relationships, and other ventures that make you genuinely happy. Your smile is gorgeous, contagious, and radiant. Share it with the world.
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