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75 Life Lessons for My Daughters

‘Hang in there momma, just a few more steps before you can let the tears flow…’

That’s what I kept thinking to myself as I dropped off Sara at college.  Every moment we spent moving her in, excitement and dread filled my thoughts.  

Excitement for her. 

That amazing feeling you get as a parent when you watch your kid reach a goal.

At just four years old, she declared proudly – ‘I’m going to play softball in college.’  Of course, we encouraged her to go for it, but knew statistically there was a good chance it might not happen.  To watch her accept an offer to continue her dream of playing softball in college was exhilarating and had me bursting with pride, but to see that dream come true as she checked in to college had me overwhelmed with emotion.

There is something insanely magical about watching your child turn into their person.

But…Dread for me.

Dread knowing that in just a few moments my time with her at my side is over.

It’s time for her to spread her wings.

She will SOAR, I have no doubt – but with every timid flap of her wings preparing to leave the nest, there was an equal (if not harder pull) on my heart strings.

I have heard it said that as parents it is our job to teach our kids to succeed as adults, and for them to not be assholes.  I feel like I’m halfway there. My girls are great kids (ummm, adults?), and they’re figuring out what it means to be successful. 

I knew that this week would bring lots of emotions with two leaving for college, and the other two starting high school – but I honestly had no idea how exhausted I would feel. 

I am tired.

My momma heart is tired.

I do not know how to navigate this life without my girls in the house with me. 

So, as I learn to live without half of my kids at home, I’ll pass on these rules that I hope I’ve taught my girls.

  1. Travel light through life.  Keep only what you need.  This goes for both physical and emotional items.
  2. Accept compliments by saying ‘Thank You’.  To reject a compliment is not only insulting to yourself, but to the person giving the compliment.
  3. Never apologize for your talents, and the things you’ve worked hard for.  This is playing small.  Be big.  Be Bold.  Be proud of what you have and what you have worked for.
  4. It is perfectly okay to cry when you’re hurt. 
  5. Do not ever be afraid to ask a question.  Your voice is important.
  6. Be your own best friend, and your own hero…and if you find someone special enough to call either of those, hold them to the highest standard.
  7. You are your own best advocate. 
  8. The most beautiful quality you can have is confidence.
  9. Trust your gut.  That is your God-given GPS.
  10. It’s okay to smash things when you’re upset.  But don’t linger in that space.  Get upset, then get up and wash your face, clean your mess and get up off the floor.  You don’t belong there.
  11. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
  12. Go where LOVE is.  Find people who lift you up and accept nothing less.
  13. Naps are for grown-ups too.
  14. Be happy and remember your family roots.  Have your sister’s (and brother’s) back.
  15. Look people in the eye when you are talking or listening to them.  This is a beautiful part of human connection.  To look elsewhere is to miss an opportunity to relate or connect. 
  16. NO – is a complete sentence.
  17. Don’t be afraid to say NO to the things that don’t fuel your passions.
  18. Forgive, and forgive often.  Holding onto resentment does nothing but create discomfort in your soul.
  19. Be kind.  ALWAYS.  You never know what someone is dealing with inside.
  20. Your Body.  Your Rules.
  21. Can’t is a cop-out.
  22. Pain is inevitable.  Suffering is a choice.
  23. Never cut your own bangs.
  24. When you find a pair of jeans or a bra you love, buy multiple pairs – and never be afraid to spend a little extra on those items.
  25. Another woman’s beauty, intelligence or talent can ever take away from your own.  Comparison is the thief of joy. 
  26. Practice your passions.
  27. Do what you love, and you’ll never ‘work’ a day in your life.
  28. God is Love.  There is nothing you can do to walk away from that. 
  29. Fall in love with the simplicity of life and romanticize your life. 
  30. Admire the sunsets.  They remind us that change is part of life, and everything has an ending. 
  31. Adore the sunrise.  This is your reminder that life can be a new beginning as long as you’re willing to step out of the dark corners of your mind.
  32. Fall hard and forever in love with who you are.
  33. You are the company you keep.  Associate with people who push you to be better, who hold you to a higher standard, and with those that you respect and admire.
  34. Say what you mean.  Mean what you say.
  35. Other people’s opinions of you, are none of your business. 
  36. When speaking of others, ask yourself these three questions: Is it kind?, Is it true?, Is it necessary?
  37. Wish on stars and dandelions, then get to work to make them happen.
  38. ASK for what you want.  The worst they can say is NO.
  39. If you have an opinion, you better know your why.
  40. If you can’t smile with your eyes, don’t smile.  Insincerity is nothing to aspire to.
  41. When you are a guest, always ask the hostess if you can help with anything.  They’ll most often say no, but the gesture is always appreciated.
  42. Reserve ‘I’m Sorry’ for what you truly are.
  43. Never lie to yourself.
  44. Never – EVER – walk through an alley alone.
  45. Live alone, at least once.
  46. It’s never too late to do the right thing.
  47. Never go to the grocery store on an empty stomach.
  48. Use sunscreen.
  49. Happiness is not a permanent state.  Wholeness is.  Know the difference.
  50. Seek out people and places that resonate with your soul.  You’ll know them when you get there.
  51. If you’re going to cuss, be clever.  If you’re going to cuss in public, know your audience.
  52. Nothing is more limiting than a closed mind.
  53. Be fierce. 
  54. Stay Humble.
  55. Always carry an extra hair tie.
  56. If you get the chance, I hope you dance.
  57. Eat the cake.
  58. Make your bed every day, even if it’s right before you get in it.
  59. Self-care is never selfish.
  60. Dream big.
  61. Hold your head high.
  62. Never stop learning.
  63. Don’t take anything for granted.  We are given one life.  Live it.
  64. Laugh often.
  65. Don’t underestimate yourself.  Your capabilities are endless.
  66. Karma is real.  Don’t be a mean girl.
  67. Root for the underdog.
  68. Never miss an opportunity to tell someone how you feel.  If you love them, tell them. 
  69. Find a love that elevates you as a person and in life.  Your mate should make you stronger.
  70. Make a daily gratitude list.  No matter what is going on with your life, you can always find something to be thankful for.
  71. No one will ever love you more than your dad and I do.
  72. When in doubt, remember whose daughter you are, and straighten your crown.
  73. You are enough.
  74. No matter where you are, you can always come home.  ALWAYS.
  75. Call your mom, she misses you.