A letter to my daughter

February 5, 2014

From where I sit, writing this to you, you are in what my grandfather called “God’s pocket.” You’re just waiting to come into the world (also, I’m sad you will not get to meet him). A lot of things have to happen before you happen, but just so you know, you’re always a thought in my mind.

I don’t take my responsibility as your mother lightly. I think about it often, as represented by the things I’ve saved for you; dolls and books and even clothes (you can tell all your friends it’s “vintage”). I’m probably going to write you lots of letters like this, harping on things like education and sexuality and health and on and on and on. Your mother is a talker. I’m sure by now you are tired of me talking, but honey, if the universe is willing, I will be talking to you for a long time.

Here are my hopes for you, as a woman. They are the things that I wish I knew before I went off to college and grew into my 20s. I’m giving you this sage advice mostly because I messed up, or I took a chance and it worked out. I’m 27 as I write this to you, so of course there’s more to come, but here’s what I want to say to you and I have to write it down before I forget (yes, I’ve always been this way):

-“Nothing good happens after 2 a.m.” You know that show ‘How I Met Your Mother’ that’s on Nick-at-Nite now? I stole that line from them. This is almost always true. I’m not going to get into specifics, you just tell yourself that when you look at the time on the clock when you’re making a decision.

-Do not count on a man (or woman, if that is your preference) to be the one thing that makes you happy. This is something your Grandma Hoferer used to say to me and she is frustratingly right a lot of the time.

-The choice that makes you the happiest isn’t always the best choice. I know, I wish it were the other way around, too.

-If you ever mess up, I will still love you.

-You may have to work a job you don’t like for a while, but it’s not a life sentence. As long as you work hard, you will go places.

-You are not a “bitch” if you ask questions, assert yourself, or politely give your opinion and engage in conversation.

-I don’t give you chores and responsibilities to annoy you; I give them to you in hopes that they will make you a strong, independent woman. You can thank me later.

-You will not get answers to everything, not all your life dilemmas will have full closure, and people will not always be nice to you. The world is harsh, but it’s also beautiful.

-Travel as much as you can. Learn and grow as much as you can. I didn’t invest all this time/money/energy into your education for you to be a bump on a log. A life as a citizen of the world is the richest life of all.

-You can’t plan for everything, despite what that large calendar in our kitchen says.

-You’ve got one body; believe it is beautiful and treat it well. Also, you can get a tattoo. There, I said it. You have it in writing. It would be hypocritical of me to say you couldn’t. Just think it through. And not on your face. And let me break it to your father.

This is what I know so far. I’m sure I will add to the list as time goes on, I’m sure life will throw lots of stuff our way, but remember, no matter what happens, I’m your mother and I love you.

Love, Mom

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