My dear daughter,
You are so precious at this age. Everything I do is right, and true, and my kisses are like pink bubble gum sparkles on your cheeks. I am taking it all in that you love me so. But soon, you will see the ugly and cruel side of life. I will stop making sense to you, and you just might not like me as much. I always hope that you’ll laugh at me and consider me wise, even into my age-induced Alzheimer’s days to come. But in the meantime, consider this advice:
- When in doubt on what spice to use (whether it’s in eggs or potatoes), use Herbs de Province. You can’t go wrong.
- You will someday be tempted with many vices. Some are minor, but others have lifetime consequences. Please don’t experiment with drugs. They kill. Got it? Are we clear on this?
- If your clothes are too tight, it looks like you’re tying to hard. Let your body speak for itself.
- Embrace who you are. If someone suggests you to change your character, find a way to distance yourself. Such people are toxic.
- Laugh all the time. It’s good for your soul.
- Find true friends, and work to keep them. They are more precious than diamonds.
- If you are engaged and you have the tiniest shred of doubt that the man you are about to marry isn’t right for you, walk away. It can be the day before. It can be the day off. I promise I won’t judge. Just politely return all the presents and keep your head held high.
- Kids are glorious, but don’t rush into having them. Enjoy your freedom.
- Don’t eat low-fat ice cream. Go for the real stuff.
- A meal that takes a long time to prepare, with excellent ingredients, is worth it. It shows how much you appreciate your guests.
- Always, always, always tell the truth. Lies are corrosive.
- Nothing you could ever do in this world would cause me to stop loving you. Please remember that however hard you fall, I’m here to catch you.
- Look for character traits in a man that your father has: strength, honor, loyalty, and wit. Because you’ll be married to him for a long time, and you need to laugh through many trials.
- Never email thank-you notes. I have on occasion, but I’m not proud of it.
- Reading fiction is never a waste of time. It cultivates a garden in your brain filled with glorious blooms of words and characters. Speaking of, read Atlas Shrugged, and Jane Eyre.
- Wash your hands to the tune of Happy Birthday. Twice.
- Please know that when I die, I’m not forever gone.
- Live life with wild abandon. Freely and fully, knowing you are a child of God, rich in spirit and talents.
- Sing and play any instrument you can. Music is the closest you’ll ever feel to heaven.
- Cut all your hair off at least once in your life.
- Travel to Europe.
- When you think there’s nothing left – when life is bitter and cruel and seems like it’s suffocating you – laugh. Then laugh some more. Always find the funny, because it’s there like a rough-cut jewel.
In your five-year-old world, I know so much. But soon, when I fall out of favor in your eyes, I hope you take these bits of advice to heart. My sweet young daughter, light of my life, child of my heart. . . It’s a rough world out there, but the battle has been won long before you entered it. Your job is just to navigate through the best you can, with your head held high, smiling in the light of the morning sun.
Be the woman I know you can be.