Sara Miller offers her future children a little worldly advice.
To my children I’ve yet to adopt:
We haven’t met before, but I wanted to tell you a short story.
My own mother used to write my brother and I goodbye letters every time she had to leave on an airplane. She hated flying, and her fears prompted an emotional and touching letter. She let us know how important we are to her and imparted worldly advice while showering us with compliments only a mother could give.
Thankfully, she never did die in a fiery crash. She’s still alive, well, and happy. She’ll be the world’s greatest grandmother and fatten you up with her cooking.
That being said, I felt I must carry on the tradition. I’m leaving soon to go on a big trip to London, a place I have never been before. And just in case I die on this airplane and I never get to know you, I wanted you to know how much I would have loved you. For some reason, at this particular time in my life, I finally realize that I’ve wanted to adopt you all along; I just wasn’t mature enough to know it yet.
I hope this list of my own “worldly wisdoms” holds meaning in your lives as you grow up and find your own way. It’s a big world out there, and I can’t wait for you to discover it.
1. It’s OK if you don’t look like a million bucks all the time. It’s OK if you don’t look like a few nickels, either. Being attractive on the outside is only temporary circumstance. As long as you get shit done and you’re a vibrant and kind person, who cares whether your pants are wrinkled or your hair’s a mess? (Oops, did your mother curse? My apologies. All parents are flawed human beings before they become parents.)
2. Regardless of what people tell you and regardless of what you think you understand, the strongest people in the world are the ones who are capable of being vulnerable and open. Crying is not a weakness and crying is not defeat. It is a release.
3. In spite of what endless amounts of trivia people distract you with, the wisest people in the world are the ones who realize they know very little. Surprisingly, this is a comfort for them. The world is too big for one brain to know all of its mysteries.
4. Without fail, desire for things beyond your reach brings suffering. Truly letting something go (you can’t fake these things, believe me I’ve tried) gives your life enough wiggle room to bring you something better. Don’t forget to work hard in the meantime though. No one likes a slacker.
5. You may not like it, but the crappy things in your life are the things that build character and compassion for other people. Death, injury, being poor, being unloved, pimples, ripping your pants—these are the things that build a person of substance. Without the crap storm that befalls everyone from time to time, you would be extremely annoying and unlikable.
6. Don’t ignore yourself too long. Be patient and kind to yourself or you’re going to have a meltdown. I know taking a leisurely break is so un-American, but before you know it, you’ll be on your deathbed and realize you should have spent some time actually enjoying what you have. (And since your mother is Italian, it’s OK to take a break because I said so!)
7. True anger and rage are the lowest forms of human emotion. It can blind you and cause recklessness. As they say “the best revenge is to live a happy life.” So even in your darkest of thoughts about the person or people who infuriate you, you can rest well knowing they haven’t ruined your spirit.
8. And finally, guess what? Just like all the books and movies say, you are special. Yes, you. You are important. Not everyone is supposed to be a movie star or a professional athlete, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t capable of astounding feats of your own. Find what makes you exceptional and come to understand it better. The most confident people I know are the ones truest to themselves. There is no shame in being a landscaper, an accountant, a therapist, an artist (like your mama!), or a house parent. As long as you feel like you’re doing what’s right for you and you’re not hurting anyone, you’re doing great and I couldn’t be prouder of you.
And know this: It’s perfectly acceptable to be weird. It’s also totally OK to be normal. You won’t have my genetic make-up, so there’s a chance you’ll be normal after all. Either way, I will love you without judgment.
Sending you so much love, and if I make it back from this trip, I can’t wait to meet you.
Sara Miller is an after school art teacher who lives in Seattle. She loves desserts, her pet turtle, adventures, and creating new things. Her latest project is a community blog about curious things that can be seen here: www.thecuriousbeast.org