I’ve been serenading you with “You Are My Sunshine” from the moment you were born. You harmonized back with “Hey, I just met you and this is crazy, but my name’s Abby and I’m your baby.” That was almost 18 years ago, and we’re enormously proud of the independent, confident, smart, compassionate young woman you’ve become.
As your high school years come to a close, an exciting new chapter in your life begins. Behind every great kid is a Mom who’s sure she’s screwing it up, but you beat the odds. Graduation is a time to reflect on anecdotes that, much to your chagrin, evolved into life lessons.
A baby fills a place in your heart you never knew was empty.
The first time I held you, I was devouring dry toast over your pulsating soft spot. Crumbs rained down on your newborn skin. I cradled you in my shaky arms and lovingly whispered “Mind your own biscuits Abby, and life will be gravy.”
Parenting lesson #1: You can’t be a breadwinner if you loaf around all day.
Practice makes perfect.
We sat through three slushy seasons of soccer before we accepted you barely touched the ball. The passion you displayed came from artfully arranged dandelion bouquets. Where other people saw weeds, you saw wishes.
Parenting lesson #2: You can’t fake desire.
Your children need your presence more than they need your presents.
At age 11, Santa delivered your first pair of Ugg boots. How could we have known the beautifully wrapped box was the exact size of a Wii game console? Disappointment hung in the air, making the eight-hour car ride home more about quantity time than quality time.
Parenting lesson #3: There’s a time limit on The Incredible Sulk.
All’s fair in love and war.
I will always love you. Even when your teenage rage told me to fuck off after I left the room. How did I know? I was standing on the other side of the door…flipping you off. Ten percent of arguments are a difference of opinion, 90% are the wrong tone of voice.
Parenting lesson #4: It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.
The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice.
There will be times when you think to yourself “Suck it up Buttercup, you got this.‘’ You’ll thank me for that someday. Wisecracking is how I hug.
Parenting lesson #5: Sage advice can be delivered with sarcasm.
I finally had the sex talk with my teenage daughter, but she wasn’t really helpful.
With the pressure of University and impending adulthood on your plate, you’re gonna need a side dish for all those hormones. Keep in mind that I’m in no hurry to become a Grandma.
Parenting lesson #6: No glove, no love.
Be nice to your children for they will choose your rest home.
I can’t predict the future, but neither of us would be thrilled to find me living in your basement. Aging seems to be the only available way to live a long life, so I’m likely to cash in my chips looking the best I can.
Parenting lesson #7: Don’t bank on an inheritance.
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