FOR MADDIE & ANDY: GROWN UP

There are so very very very many things I don’t know. The older you get the more you realize you don’t know a lot. There’s also some things I DO know. And I can tell you them. But truthfully you will not believe them all now. You have to live a life, go through some shit, get old and see some things to find your own truths. So I share these with you. But I know you….YOU will know your truths when you know them.
THINGS I KNOW-
I know I love you two more than anything on this planet. The love a mother has for her children is immeasurable. I know I’ll love you no matter what. There is absolutely nothing you can ever do to change that. I know Im far from perfect. I know things are never as important as experiences. I know love sometimes ISN’T enough to fix everything. Pain is a part of life. You cannot avoid it. Period. Accept that it will come. Soak it in, cry, move forward. Dogs are God’s way of apologizing for shitty people. Always try to have a dog. When you have to choose between new carpet and a vacation….go on the vacation. I know june bugs taste like crap. Dont eat them.
Grandparents are the most precious gift. I was lucky enough to have all 4 of mine well into my 30s. I am sorry you haven’t. Cherish the ones you still have. When they tell a story….LISTEN. Brussel sprouts are not necessary to live. You do not have to try them. You do not have to eat them. Ever. Dont make your kids. Dont be in such a hurry. All the things you are rushing towards will be there when you get there. And if they are not….they were not meant for you. Black coffee is for rockstars. I am no rockstar. I prefer cream. But if you can do strong coffee- you are a rockstar! Go outside. Outside is infinitely better than inside. Always. Beaches cleanse your soul. So do mountains. Find them. Often.
Good friends are rare. If you are lucky you find a few. HOLD on to them. Trust me- you will need them.  Music is LIFE. Play a lot of it. All the time. All the music. Not just the style or genre you like. Listen to it all and don’t be a music snob. Justin Bieber can speak to you just as well as Bob Dylan. Dont let a jackass tell you differently. That boy/girl across the street that you think doesn’t love you as much as you love him/her…….he does. He does. Let that be enough. The knowing. When you get the chance to see elephants- SEE them.
Eat ramen noodles in college. And malt o meal. Pay your rent on time. Dont make your bed everyday. Write. Write it all down. You’ll be glad someday. If you’re scared to do something- do it anyway. Except ice climbing- DONT DO THAT!
Forgive. A lot. Then forgive some more. Forgive yourself. Forgive the ones who hurt you. Forgive your past. FORGIVE. Then forgive again even when you don’t want to. Trust me. The peace it will bring will grow your heart. Family is a word that can mean anything. Friends can be family. Two Dads. Two Moms. One Mom. One Dad. Divorced. Blended. SOCIETY doesn’t define what family is to you. Religion doesn’t either. Love is love. Period. Anyone who tries to tell you how to live your life or who to love is inconsequential. You do YOU.
I know heartbreak hurts. A lot. I know the plans we make for our lives don’t always work out. I know sunshine equals happiness. I know trails less traveled are better. I know religion is not for me. Maybe it will be for you. YOU decide that. The God thing had me all twisted up for years. Im glad I let all of that go. There are some very opinionated people. Im one of them. People always think “their way” is the right way. They are WRONG. I know now- YOUR way is the right way. Put junior mints on your popcorn. Dont eat popcorn plain- its boring. Take a lot of walks. They help. With EVERYTHING surprisingly. Buy the nice shoes. Buy cheaper clothes if you need to but ALWAYS buy the shoes. ALWAYS. Give stuff to people. Share. When you are fortunate to have…GIVE. Then give some more. Until it feels uncomfortable. Then keep giving.
LISTEN. Dont listen to argue your point….just LISTEN. Know that life is VERY VERY gray. There’s a few things that are black and white. Dont hurt others. Dont steal. Dont be mean. Otherwise…..theres a lot of gray. Dont look in mirrors so much. They don’t show you your insides so they are kind of pointless. Dont wash your hair everyday. Its a waste of time. Wear a cute hat. Go to concerts. Live music is church!
When your Grandmother talks to you about a farm she lost as a kid. When she tells you stories about her family and picking cotton and loving the land and her history…LISTEN. So that MANY years later when she passes away and leaves you a little bit of money….you ‘ll know EXACTLY what to do with it. There is a piece of land. That barring no issues I will own by this Friday. When I sign that paperwork you should know what it means. It means I have a home to pass on to you. It means a girl from Dallas who some thought was a dingy blonde cheerleader owns some Earth. On a mountain. It means I can take care of me. It means SHE gets her land back. It means a lot more than I can put into words.
Dance when you can. Even if there’s no music. Save your pennies. They add up. God likes you. Trust me. Just the way you are. If you don’t believe in all of that its really ok. I promise. Love big! Love hard. Trust more. I have issues with trust and it sucks. Just trust.  And if you get hurt….you get hurt. The big ball keeps rotating. Life does not revolve around you. The universe is not rotating to please you. Grab every chance and opportunity you are given. Wait tables- it grows character. Mow a lawn…at least once. Fresh cut grass is pretty fucking cool. Use your “nice” dishes”. Camp. Sleep outside. Stand on the side of the Grand Canyon. Go white water rafting. Say yes to the date – even if you’re not in love with his/her looks. Looks are awesome. A beautiful soul is even better. Trust me on this one. Love each other. Be honest. Be fair.
I loved my Nanny with all my heart and there is no way Ill ever be able to express my gratitude to her for what she gave me. This land can continue to give. To you. To YOUR kids. To THEIR kids. My Dad would be beside himself with how cool it is that Im buying land with money his Mother left me. I talked yesterday of how he’d visit me on his motorcycle if he was here. And we’d ride through those curvy mountain roads. He’d love it. Colorado…finally. And the irony of all of that is that if my Dad was still alive….I wouldn’t have the money to buy the land. I’d trade all the money, all the land, all the plans, all of it….just to have them here. So everyday I will wake up there and see the sunrise, watch the sunset, have friends over, sit on the porch and enjoy the mountains…they will be with me. Dear M & A, ……when in doubt…..HEAD WEST. I’ll always be there.
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