dear stephanie:

today you are 42; i know, i know…you kid about only being 29, but you’re 42. forty-two. eight years away from being half a century old. a century is 100 years. oh, my god–that is totally depressing! but you know what? it’s okay. i’m not sure your life is what you foresaw for yourself when you were younger–but you survived. you learned to cope with difficult situations. so, as a present to you, i’m going to give you some advice for this next year. i hope you take it because it comes from a very smart woman!!

what’s past is past–not gone, but just not in front of you. it’s okay not to relive it every day.

worrying about everything won’t stop something from happening.

calling yourself fat everyday is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

ignoring your fat is like shooting a birdy in the face of the universe–eventually someone’s going to notice, so it’s time to fix it.

but gently.

be good to yourself.

kiss lily all the time–soon she’ll be big and try to find ways to not let you touch her.

kiss jake every day–even though he acts like he doesn’t like it. he’s frightened and doesn’t have the words to tell you.

be scared for him.

be excited for him. he’s accomplished what no other boy in your family EVER has–been accepted in college. he has a lot on his shoulders to be the first to graduate.

kiss kevin at least once each day. he’s good to you and deserves to know how much you appreciate it.

tell your mama that you love her every day even when it’s hard.

and stop rolling your eyes.

it’s okay to let the papers go ungraded for a few days. that’s not something to stress over.

it’s okay if your students don’t “get” the meaning of all the literature you try to teach. they are little and inexperienced. your job is to connect with them as much as possible.

you can handle most anything as long as you remember that you can’t control or change others’ opinions or views.

writing every day is helping–even if it’s in little chunks–and even if NO ONE is reading. you are writing for yourself.

you make your own way–stop waiting for something to happe.n

take each day as it comes and see what’s beautiful.

til next year,

sm

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