4. List 10 things you would tell your 16-year-old self if you could.
1. He wasn’t your forever love and isn’t worth your tears. If he doesn’t think you are worth spending time with, that’s his loss.
2. Stop sneaking around to eat. Your body is going to pay for that in awful, painful ways.
3. Mom and Dad are smart. They know of what they speak. Take heed. Even though you can’t see it now, they will be your best friends, and you will place a great deal of importance on their advice.
4. Slow down. Life goes by much faster than the first 16 years. In what seems like a flash, 16 will be 36.
5. Write, write, write. When you think you have written enough, write more. You may think you’re pretty good at it right now, but trust me – you’re not. Keep working on it. Twenty years from now, you will still have a lot to learn.
6. Be kind to your little brother. One day he will live two states away, and you won’t see him nearly enough. When that day comes, you will wish for one more chance to take him out to eat before dropping him off at the youth center or to decorate the Christmas tree together or to just sit and do nothing. That whole lot of seemingly unimportant nothing becomes pretty important when you only see each other a handful of times a year.
7. Invest in a thing called Google.
8. Talk to Mam-ma and Pap-pa about their house – when was it built, what were their favorite parts, what is the best way to take care of the azaleas, what do the squirrels like to eat, which neighbors can be trusted, how long ago were the last major repairs done. You will own that house when you get older, and you will wish you had taken more time to talk to them about things like that while you had the chance.
9. Along those same lines, talk to Uncle Mark and to Heather. There is quickly coming a time when you won’t have them anymore, and you will never get the chance for one more hug, smile or laugh. Nothing you are doing is more important than making those connections while you still can. Go do it. Now. And when you see Mark one day standing outside The Kitchen in downtown Monroe, don’t let your busy schedule make you wave and keep driving. Stop. Get out. Hug. It’s your last chance.
10. Louisiana Tech is a great place. Don’t fight your parents about it. Go straight to the bookstore, and buy that sweatshirt. Accept that it’s going to be your alma mater, even though right now you have narrowed the choices to TCU, Sarah Lawrence and LSU. Set those places to the side. Go, Dawgs.
11. Everything you do right now will be part of the person you are when you get older, and your daughters will want to know this person. Make wise choices, and don’t live like you will never have to explain your choices later. Never let anyone convince you that children aren’t part of your future, and never waste time mourning the loss of that love you think you will never have. There are three amazing, perfect, wonderful, beautiful souls who will one day call you “Mama.” Make sure you live the kind of Life that allows you to deserve that title.
Yes, there were only supposed to be 10 things, and I included 11. So be it. In honor of this nose-thumbing violation of the rules, I’ll add this as well:
12. Lighten up – Life can be fun. Sometimes rules require bending and breaking. Have a good time, and don’t forget to laugh. Save your worrying days for age 32 and beyond. You’ll have kids then, and you’ll finally know what it truly means to worry.
For now, go be 16.
5. What are the five things that make you the happiest right now?
It would be too easy to say that my family makes me happy. If I have done a single thing right as a mother, you already know that, so I will move on to five other things. My choices may seem odd, but I’m being honest.
Happiness comes in many forms, girls. It doesn’t always have to be the big things that inspire happiness. Sometimes, happiness is simply finding a small moment in the day that makes you smile.
So here they are in no particular order. The five things making me the happiest at this moment are:
1. My hair.
That probably seems shallow. I don’t care. My whole Life has been a struggle to figure out what to do with my hair, and today is a particuarly rockin’ awesome hair day. I have admired it in the mirror, flipped it sassily when the situation required, run my fingers through it and considered taking a selfie for Facebook just to show it off. Good hair days don’t happen often, so I’m relishing the moment. Yeah, that seems unimportant, I’m sure. That’s okay. It’s not the single most important thing to happen in my Life. Heck – it doesn’t even make the top 100 list. But it’s making this little portion of my day pretty great.
2. This blog.
I got away from blogging for a while because Life’s marathon was wearing me out. We have spent our last few months at cheer practice, Girl Scout meetings, Wednesday night church and a thousand and five other places in any given week. The holidays came and went, and we were getting ready for Zoey to get here. Work has been hectic, especially since I have returned from maternity leave.
Those aren’t really valid excuses, though. I found time to do other things, so it stands to reason I could’ve/should’ve found time to blog. It’s something I enjoy, and I let it fall by the wayside. However, when I look back at the last few months, I try not to think of it as a blur of have-to’s and boringness. I got my head out of the computer and lived the Life about which I am now telling you. Now that I have returned to this blog, I feel a renewed sense of purpose and drive, and, for that, I am thankful. This 30-part series is a blessing to me, and I hope it will some day be a blessing to you as well.
3. Bad Lip Reading.
By the time you read this and understand any of it, Bad Lip Reading will most likely be a long-since-passed trend. If YouTube is still around when you read this, look up “The Walking Dead Bad Lip Reading.” It’s one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a long time, but it is made so much funnier by the fact that we watch the show and know what was originally said. The dubbed dialogue is genius and fits seamlessly over what they were actually saying to the point you forget that wasn’t how it was originally stated.
“Cheesy bird mess.”
“Listen, pretty redneck! I’m taking your banjo.”
“A woman thug stole my banjo. Do you have a new one?”
“No. I got cheetah candy. It’s pretty gross.”
“I need a man who can decorate and mix my brew.”
“La-bibbida-bibba-dum. And that’s how they do it on Broadway!”
If you haven’t watched the show, it probably isn’t that funny to you, but it’s hilarious to us, and your Daddy and I offer no apologies for our warped sense of humor.
Chasing you girls with the camera has become an obsession, as you well know. When one of Aubrey’s first words was, “cheese,” that pretty well tipped me off to the fact that I spent a lot of time watching you grow and evolve through the filter of the camera lens. I have more pictures of my three gorgeous miracles than most parents have of their kids in a whole lifetime, and that’s okay. In fact, it’s more than okay. It’s awesome.
Sometimes Daddy and I scroll through the pictures we have of you and talk about the moments they represent. There have been many times Sarah and Aubrey have sat with us and gone through them, and I’m sure Zoey will do the same. When the pictures scroll by on the screen, we get a quick moment to remember Sarah’s first tee ball game and cheerleading debut, to once again see Aubrey’s Easter dress/superhero cape combo and warrior scream and to relive the first days of Zoey’s life and how she has grown so much in four short months.
Photography is a joy, a hobby and a bit of an obsession. You will practically have a flipbook of your lives, so I hope you like pictures as much as I do.
5. My next pedicure.
Really? Another shallow thing on the list? I know you are thinking that, so let’s just go ahead and say it.
Yes, another shallow thing. I have plenty of heavy, sentiment-filled thoughts in my head, my Life and my blog. Sometimes I just need to lighten up and enjoy the silly things. My next pedicure is going to be pink and black and adorable and fabulous. I may even post pictures on Facebook. Why not? It makes me happy.
It’s not all about the heavy stuff, girls. Lighten up. Notice the shapes of the clouds. Leave the umbrella in the car on a rainy day. Sit in a chair outside with your eyes closed and just listen and smell and feel and be. Read a book that others think is silly just because it’s mindless and doesn’t make you think. Get a pedicure. Enjoy your good hair days.
And, no matter what else you do, always remember that Wookies aren’t real.
“Thanks for nothing, George Lucas.”
(Another Bad Lip Reading reference. Sorry. It had to be done.)
Now go be happy. Mama said.