Dearest little one,
I love you to pieces. I don’t even know you yet but I so absolutely love you, I can’t stand it. Literally. When I think of you my knees shake and I fall to the floor. Just thinking of you fills me with a liquid love so deep, so rich and viscous, if you flipped me upside down, I’d be like a Dairy Queen Blizzard and not a drop of love would drip. Just the thought of you turns me into mush and I haven’t even met you yet! Imagine what will happen to me when we do meet?
And this is why I’m writing to you today, my little one, well before you come into my life and turn me and everything I know about it into mush. While I can still think and act coherently, I figure I better share with you some valuable, unconventional insights I’ve learned in this so called life of mine. And maybe if I forget because you’re so damn adorable and I can’t think straight (or maybe because your poop stinks so bad some of my brain cells died), you can remind me of these things from time to time. Deal?
1) Don’t be afraid to eat ice cream. I know you don’t know what a Dairy Queen Blizzard is yet but OMG, they’re so delicious! Don’t worry about getting fat, don’t be so restrictive on yourself, and don’t skimp on the deliciousness of life. If you’re going to count anything, count blessings, not calories. I don’t have any statistical evidence to back this up, but I bet not one person has ever said on their deathbed that they wished they didn’t have that bowl of ice cream. In fact, on my deathbed, I WANT a bowl of ice cream please! Häagen Dazs Vanilla Swiss Almond, to be exact. Hopefully I won’t be on that bed for many decades to come but in the meantime, precious, I intend to savor the delicious flavors of life and allow myself yummy indulgences every once in a while. And by once in a while, I mean all the time. Fitting into society’s idea of beauty and perfection is not on my bucket list, nor should it be on yours. Life is for the LIVING, that’s why we call it living and not deading (yep, your mom made up that word. Why? Because she’s awesome). Only the dead should be dead. If you’re alive, then LIVE. Fully. Live like calories don’t count. Live like rules don’t matter. Live like you won’t ever live again. If you never live again, don’t you want to know what I meant when I said you could flip me upside down and I wouldn’t drip like a Dairy Queen Blizzard? What are you waiting for, go get one and find out! (While you’re at it, get me one too, please.)
2) Until science figures out a way to do a full body transplant, you only get one body, take care of it. You might think that contradicts what I wrote above, but actually, it compliments it. Your body is deeply interconnected with your mind. It might appear like two separate things but the opposite is true. When you’re happy, your body cells actually function better. It’s scientifically proven. Speaking of scientifically proven, unless I lock you up in a TV/computer/radio/smartphone-less room your entire life, you will undoubtedly be indoctrinated into the overwhelming deluge of scientifically proven yet conflicting information every day about what foods are healthy to eat, which exercises are good, how much sleep you should be getting, how much water you should be drinking and which magic ingredient is going to make you stronger this year only to discover it will give you cancer the next. While I’m sure there’s merit to most of what you read (after all, it’s scientifically proven), who the hell has time to keep up with its ever-changing discoveries? It changes about as rapidly as my emotions change when I’m PMS’ing. (Ask your father, he seems to always conveniently disappear that one week every month. If anyone knows about survival, it’s your father during that time of the month.)
To help narrow it all down for you, the best and simplest advice I can give to take care of your body is this:
LOVE YOUR BODY. APPRECIATE IT.
Do you know what your body even does every moment of every day? I’m serious, think about it for a minute. Or five. What other object on this earth can you take a knife to, cut a gaping gash through and within days, it will heal itself? You can literally watch that gash get smaller and smaller until it’s sealed and your skin’s back together again with nothing oozing out of it! How cool is that? A piece of cloth won’t do that. A ceramic mug won’t do that. Even a $4 million dollar Lamborghini won’t do that. But your body will! And you didn’t even have to pay for your body!
I could write an entire book on how amazing your body is and talk about all the incredible things it does, like, oh I don’t know, KEEP YOU ALIVE, but you can just Google it. For the sake of keeping this letter short (too late) so you have more time to cuddle with your mom (I don’t care how old you are, we’re cuddling), it’s enough to say just love your body. And for heaven’s sake, the next time you look in the mirror and get angry at it for having a third nipple or an extra inch around the middle, really? Think of how petty it is to insult a body that works nonstop 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, no matter how badly you treat it, to keep you alive. And here you are criticizing it simply because there’s hair on your toes. Pretty petty, huh?
3) Sometimes life f***ing sucks, you just have to suck it up. Forgive my language little one, but sometimes life calls for cuss words. I hate to imagine this happening to you, but there will be times that life will chew you up, spit you out then stomp on you with its big heavy boot and grind you into the concrete like a used up cigarette butt. But you’re just going to have to suck it up. Get up, dust yourself off, and keep going. It will hurt, and you will cry. That’s OK. Go ahead and cry. Scream, kick, shout, have a tantrum if you must. But after you’re through, get up, dust yourself off and keep going. Happens to the best of us. Just suck it up. In times like these, I always remember a beautiful poem by Mark Twain: “Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” Sometimes life is that heel. Become the violet, little one. Forgive life, even while it’s crushing you. It’s not personal. It is what it is and it does what it does. You can’t change what life does but you can change what you do. By accepting it, it makes being crushed feel less helpless. Focus on accepting and forgiving and you regain some of your power. Speaking of forgiveness…
4) Some people are real f***ing jerks, but love them anyway. (Sorry for the f-bomb again but sometimes life calls for cuss words two times in a row. See #3.) I know, it doesn’t seem fair. Their asshole behavior shouldn’t be rewarded with your love. I get it. I totally get it. You’d rather punch them in the face than love them. I’m sure they deserve it. But I urge you to resist that urge, again and again, and unfortunately, again. After a while, you’ll discover that by loving someone, you’re not really rewarding them as much as you are rewarding yourself. When given the choice, love is always better than anger. Loving others gives YOU peace, even though sometimes you think punching them in the face might make you oh-so-rightfully-happy, it will only give you a superficial temporary sense of satisfaction. When you’re home alone in your bed at night, after the adrenaline has worn off, your soul will sleep better knowing you chose love over ego. Besides, you don’t know what horrors a person has endured to turn them into assholes but you can bet they weren’t born that way. You can bet they were probably just as cute and cuddly and sweet and innocent when they were babies, just like you. Ha, who am I kidding. No one is as adorable as my baby!
5) Fall in love, as often as possible. Not just with people, with everything. Yourself, others, your mom, ice cream, good experiences, bad experiences, hangovers, heartaches, helium balloons, music, colors, flavors, textures. All of it. Aim to fall in love in every moment of every day. You may fail miserably at it but if you aim for it in every moment, you’ll experience it in more moments than not. All you need is love. Love makes the world go round. Where there is love, there is life. And all that clichéd crap. But seriously, it’s your love that makes life beautiful. And it’s all that really matters. Love. Now. And now. And now. Love. Love. Love. Oh, and now too. Are you in love with this moment?
6) When you find the one and only love of your life (and the next and the next), don’t be afraid to introduce them to your mother. Who or what you love is none of my concern. I don’t care if you fall in love with a Muslim, Jew or Athiest. An Asian, African American or Indian. A man, woman or cockroach. Though the cockroach might take a bit getting used to, I’ll still love you no matter what. Hey, love is love. I’m not here to judge you for doing the bravest thing in the world and opening your heart to love just so someone can potentially take a knife and stab you in it (see #2 about your body’s amazing healing abilities). We live, we love, we learn. No one was ever a waste of time once it’s over. Every person you’ve ever and will ever open your heart to has a valuable lesson for you to learn. You may never know what that lesson is, and sometimes it seems like you don’t ever learn, but trust me, my darling, whether you consciously know what it is or not, you did learn from it and you are better because of it.
7) Fight passionately for what you believe in, but be willing to lose. It’s the fight that makes you stronger, not the victory. Put everything you’ve got into the fight and you will be victorious, no matter what the outcome. This will change your definition of victory, and it will go against what everyone else thinks. You are not victorious if you fought a dirty battle and won the gold. That gold is tainted with blood, and it can never be cleaned. You are victorious if you fought with integrity, passion and truth. The gold is for people who need external validation of their worth. The real treasure (aside from a hug from your mom) is the validation from within of a fight fought well and a life lived well.
8) Don’t believe a word you hear about God. I don’t care if you read it in a holy book or feel it in a holy building or hear it from a holy person. Figure God out on your own. Let God tell you who or what he or it is. Knowing God is a deeply personal experience that’s only between you and God. You don’t have to defend, justify, explain or convince anyone else of what you know about God. What you think of God is none of anyone’s business. Likewise, what other people think of God is none of your business. Your relationship with God belongs to you and God alone. Don’t ever let anyone tell you what to believe, including me. Ask God first and foremost, and make your decision from that holy place within you where only God can touch. And above all, listen. Be still. Quiet your mind. Quiet your soul. And listen. All you have to do is listen. In your listening, you’ll discover that… wait… I won’t ruin the surprise for you. I’ll let you discover that on your own. Hint: it’s even more delicious than ice cream! And (GASP!) a hug from your mom.
I have about 273 more points to list but my ice cream’s melting. And it’s just at that perfect place where the outside has slightly melted just enough to surround the solid middle in a yummy, gooey, heavenly collaboration of texture and taste that sends my taste buds to heavenly heights and – oh, sorry, got carried away. This is what happens when you’re not afraid to eat ice cream (see #1), you get carried away in your bliss. And shouldn’t life be all about that? One big blissful moment after the next. Even while you’re getting crushed by it (see #3). BTW, I’m taking #5 and I’m adding your name to it (except I don’t really have a name for you yet, but when I do, I’ll add it!). I pledge to fall in love with you, _____________ (name to be filled in later), as much and as often and as unendingly (is that a word?) as possible for the rest of my life and any other after lives I might have. I know that no matter how crazy I become once you’re born, I will never forget to love you.
I love you always,
PS – now come give me a hug. Wait, bring the ice cream while you’re at it.