Friday, January 27, 2012
I hope you dance...and other cliches for my daughter
My daughter is seven years old. I can already tell that she is growing up to be everything I'm not, and that scares the crap out of me. She's funny, adventurous, popular and a risk-taker. Those characteristics are fine unless you are a mother who is fearful, shy, and an extremely anxious hermit. With her bubbly personality and penchant for wanting to be the leader of the pack, my husband and I nervously joke that she will either be the President of the United States of America, or the President of a high-end call girl business. It could go either way. While I've read the many letters floating around the internet from moms to their daughters, I felt compelled to impart some of my forty-something wisdom to my little girl on the more practical aspects of growing into a woman.
So, without being too sappy, these are some of the truths I want my daughter to know:
1. Don't start wearing eyeliner. Trust me on this. Once you start, you can never stop. You'll think you look weird and sleepy without it. If applied correctly, it looks great. If not, you look like Lindsay Lohan on a bender. Your girlfriends are going to start smearing it on around the age of fourteen because they think it makes them look older. It does make them look older...like an older slut. If you must use it, for the sake of all that is good in this world, do NOT use blue or purple.
2. Study your math. I hate math so much, and so does Barbie. You aren't Barbie, though. You are smart and strong, and if you want to be an astronaut or a bridge builder, you're going to have to suck it up and show calculus who's the boss. If you decide that you would rather style hair or teach yoga, that's great, but you still need math, if only for shoe sales.
3. You should never have to work to keep a friend. We ALL know this friend, the one who makes you work to like them. The one who never smiles or has a kind word or offers to drive or tells you how happy they are for you when you score a great job. They sap every ounce of energy, and they'll drink your last Diet Coke. I have two words for "friends" like this: Move on.
4. Stop saying "like" so much. This is an easy one. Notice how many times you say the word "like" on any given day, and then say it about 99% less than that.
5. Don't be the mean girl. The truth about the mean girls is that they only get their way for a short while, usually until graduation. Don't judge people by their clothes or how much money is sitting in their parents' bank account. That geeky wallflower that you kick to the corner in junior high school may be quietly taking notes so that she can anonymously slam you on her blog one day. (Not that I would know anything about that, of course.)
6. Stay away from bad boys. Yes, they're hot. Yes, they make you feel like you're hot, too. I speak from experience when I say that bad boys will break your heart. While they're breaking your heart, they will also convince you to buy their groceries and pay their car insurance (if they have a car). Your best bet is to only have a poster of a bad boy in your bedroom and have a good guy in your heart.
7. Don't take naughty pictures of yourself. This is how it works - if you take a great picture of yourself, it may very well end up on the internet. If you take X-rated pictures of yourself, they will be on the internet before you get your shirt back on and buttoned. When that bad boy-boyfriend (that you shouldn't have) tells you that he will keep it to himself, he is defining "himself" as everyone on his friend list. Don't do it.
8. Don't fall for every fashion fad you see. I did, and now I have a trunk full of school pictures from the 80's that should be burned. Jelly shoes, shoulder pads, stirrup pants, asymmetrical haircuts - you name it and I tried it. Since fashion seems to have a way of repeating itself, please remember this: if someone tries to talk you into wearing rainbow-colored suspenders or a Member's Only Jacket, run!
9. Eat junk while you can. I hate to break this to you, but the "skinny gene" flew off the diving board and completely missed our gene pool. Eat what you want now because around the age of twenty-five, you will become very good friends with skim milk, running shoes, and Special K. Sorry, sweetie.
10. Your brother loves you. You may not be able to tell it now, but it's true. He thinks you're funny and smart, but he would never tell you that. Be good to each other because family matters. Believe me when I say don't EVER let each other drift apart.
One final note...more than anything, Sweet Girl, I want you to know that from the bottom of my heart, I hope you dance....just not around a stripper pole.