12 Things I Want My Daughter to Know Before She Leaves the Nest

This post first appeared on What the Flicka.
Dear Daughter,
I have a decade before you’ll leave the nest. Ten years is forever to you, but a quick breeze to me. Before it flies by, here’s my advice.
Take it seriously. Take it with a grain of salt.
1.) Contrary to what I may have said during Family Game Night, there are no rules. Ignore people who tell you there is only one way to achieve your goals. Figure out your own means of finding happiness. Also, your dad and I totally saw you cheat at Chutes & Ladders.
2.) I never did figure out how to install the batteries in your Disney Princess Castle. You likely inherited my lack of mechanical skills. If so, make friends with a mechanic. I said friends, that doesn’t mean you have to sleep with said mechanic.
3.) Remember that time you hid in the bathroom to eat chocolate you’d smuggled? Limit and manage your vices. You may have noticed over the years that I (ahem) frequently enjoy my wine. But you may have also noticed that I don’t eat fast food, don’t smoke (anymore), and I don’t drink and drive. Limit and manage. Also, you may not choose heroin as one of your vices.
4.) Like me, you’ve always been treat-motivated. We’re like Labradors in that respect. This can be problematic. Find a physical activity to fall in love with. Suggestions: running, hot yoga, soccer. If you choose hot yoga, be warned: you will probably fart in front of your fellow yoga practitioners at some point. It’s not the end of the world. Do not choose sleeping around as your preferred physical activity. Also, don’t swim in the ocean. If you do swim in the ocean, then I’ve completely failed in instilling in you an irrational fear of sharks.
5.) At the age of five you lamented how long it would take until you could have a baby of your own. But really, thirty years isn’t that long. Stay on birth control until you’re thirty.
6.) The teens and twenties were, hands down, the most difficult times of my life. It’s confusing, emotional, and stressful. Try to have fun. If you’re feeling down, call me. I’ll play hooky and we’ll go to lunch and a movie.
7.) It’s important to be kind. But you’ve always known that and you certainly don’t need me to tell you now. Thank you for teaching this one to me.
8.) At your birthday parties over the years, I’ve hired clowns, painted faces, baked cupcakes, and wrapped towers of presents. My birthday is September 22nd. Don’t you forget it.
9.) You told me that you never wanted to get married because you don’t know how to dance. It’s okay to change your mind. Your dad is a phenomenal dancer; he’ll teach you.
10.) If you get a tattoo, please let me come with you. Trust me; I have experience. It is the only type of parlor in which I actually know what I’m doing.
11.) When you were little, you humped a pool noodle at a party and told the hosts how good it felt on your pee-pee. Don’t lose that ability to speak your truth.
12.) My father once told me that as he aged, he realized the world was very black and white, composed of good and evil. I want to tell you the complete opposite. The world is gray, a million (not fifty) shades of beautiful gray. Good and evil are not so easily separated. You’ll have to decide for yourself how you want to see the world, but I hope that even if you do see it in black and white, you’ll stumble on a rainbow every now and then. Without the assistance of psychedelic drugs.
Take my words as lightly or as seriously as you choose. Take care in the world. Or come home for care when you need to.
Love,
Mom

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