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Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Letter To The Teenage Daughters I Never Had

Dear Loves,

It's your mother. 
Once upon a long time ago in a brief span of what seemed like an eternity, you had to catch another flighty star and leave this planet - and me - behind.  I have missed you each day since departure and wondered thousands of times what you might look like, what you might have brought to Planet Earth, and what wisdom we could have giggled and shared as only mothers and daughters can do. I wonder if your hair is tangled in the morning like mine, and if you like hats and planting things in the ground, getting your feet wet, having your nails done.  And if you like tire swings and dirt roads...

 Someone asked me a question recently. When I gave the answer I found myself quickly adding,  "That is what I would say to my teenage daughters. It is good advice for me as well."  You are entangled and embedded in the deepest part of me whether we are physically aligned or not. 
You are there. 
And somehow today you helped me through a rocky patch whether you realize it or not.

This year you would be on the brink of young adulthood, finishing degrees and heading into the world - a world that is dramatically different than the way you left it. But I've discovered along the way, a few truths that never change. And just like my love for you in this transcendental world we share, they never will.  Please take a seat on the star of your choice, my loves. We need to have a heart-to-heart. I so need to tell you these things....

 Don't find a job, find a passion.  
Don't find a man, find a beautiful soul.

Run from anything that makes your eyebrows arch or your stomach churn at first sight. Poison and lust are equally deadly.

Here's a story I never told you: Your great-grandfather once said to me, "Always be a lady." He said it because I was wearing a skirt too short for my own good. I have come to the conclusion in this skirty world I live in, that becoming the lady in the first place is what he hoped to inspire. He knew that whoever ended up winning, the hemline or the girl, would determine the length of my character. He knew what he was talking about. 
Wear your skirts with a lady inside and never forget that you own both. 

Vulnerability. Craft it into strength by opening it fully to the passions you choose. But until you hone that tender place into the woman you will become, lock the gate for fools.

You can never have enough shoes.
Or penny jars.  

One trustworthy girlfriend who knows all your dirt is worth more than all the gold you'd find trying to dig it up on your own.   And you will always have someone to cover it back up.

Don't start habits you can't finish without your self-respect and your wallet intact. 
If a guy tries to push you into something you don't want, tell him you have tattooed his name encircled in a heart on your breast because you want to marry him and have his babies. That will completely scare him away.
Tattoos. No. Just no. I did not birth you that way.

I hope you've discovered this by now, but know that Spirit is real. Everything else is just window dressing on the wall of the world.

Build a sanctuary just for you. You will need a room, a space, a house, a shore to welcome you when the world is weary. Protect it. Don't invite others. Hit your knees and pray.

You and you alone are responsible for every decision you make, every word you say, and every person you let into your life.  You can rectify decisions and get away from the wrong people, but you can never take back a word.

Make sure the mark you leave on the world is imprinted in the hearts of the people you love in ways that change both of you; not on the Facebook wall, not on the post office wall and not on the bathroom wall.

Wait for the guy who offers to carry you across mud puddles. Oh, I know you can do it yourself. But that small gesture of kindness lets you know he's willing to risk falling

 Remember to thank those who help you. And pay it back.

Words. I expect you to throw them with the same precision as darts. 

Peace is at war with noise. Be still.

What you feed your brain flows down into your heart, lodges in your spirit and eventually comes out of your mouth. If you eat enough of the wrong information, you won't even recognize your own voice. Be careful what your brain eats. 

And truly, you need to make some mistakes for your own good. Carry erasers. 

Girls are catty. Period.
If you start gossip you somehow end up as the subject of the gossip. 

Learn to hammer and change your own tire.  Breaking into your own house is a must-have skill. Trust me on that one.
 Only honor what honors the real you, because what you allow to honor you will define you. Who honors you deserves you.
Never trade pearls for peanuts and never pay peanuts for pearls.

Be respectful of your elders even when they're wrong. 

Keep journals. Don't. ever. stop.

 Don't start a fire if you're running out of kindling.

Don't try to save the world until you can save yourself.  You don't need no stinkin' committee. You just need you. 

If you tell me you messed up because you followed the wrong crowd, I will gladly have a GPS surgically implanted for you. I'm sure there's an app for that somewhere.

If you choose to marry, marry well. And let that well be as deep as you're willing to climb out of or fall into for the other person. Either way, you aren't swimming alone.

 If you bring someone home to meet me and I like them, that's great. If they like me it's even better. Because one day, you will be me.

If a man doesn't lift you up, he will put you down. 
If a man thinks you're not worth the wait, he's not worth your time.
If a man loves your brain, your heart, your laugh and your may have a keeper.

Heels were invented to make a woman feel beautiful. Wear them at least once a week.
Brush your hair one hundred times each night.  And don't cut it! It's your covering. Don't ask me how I know this. I just do.

If you fall down, if you make a mistake, file it away in the God-help-me-not-to-do-that-again folder and move on. If you make the same mistake again, God might still help you. The third time? He will send you to me for a come-to-Jesus meeting. Try not to get to step three.
 Don't make me come up there.

Authenticity is strength. Anything else is nothing.
Never let me hear you say you're not good enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough or not anything enough because you are not enough. You are overflowing. my heart today...because I suddenly miss you immeasurably.

And finally, when you look into the mirror of who you are, I want you to love what you see. I want you to love her first and foremost in all that you do, because that lovable creature is the guiding force you have made. She is the sum total of all your choices and all your trials. And she is a beautiful creation. My wish is that you know no one as fully as you know yourself - because in that space you will not compromise

And for the love of all that is mine, my girls, speak your mind.  

I realize I've said little of humanitarian love, peace on earth, or even true lasting love.  That is because none of it can be had outside yourself. And I want you to start with the mirror. I will be there looking back at you.

  It gives me comfort to know that you've had each other to wing around with and a brother not far away.  When I get there I will not have to worry about recognizing you. We are tethered. I will scoop you up and tell you all the things we did together.  But I will not tell you what we missed... because we haven't missed a thing.

 Have your lipstick on. We will start a new adventure.  But until that time I would only ask one thing of you - please call your mother everyday. I worry about those clouds you're riding on.
 I still need to know you got home safely. 

Your mother


Photo credit: Mimi Lenox
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Durward Discussion said...

Can we have this sent as a care package to every female on the planet?

Mimi Lenox said...

Thank you, Jamie. I started writing and tearing up this afternoon and could not stop. Sometimes I miss my babies so so so so much.

Red Shoes said...


I have a similar story I could write, but not here... I will write it sometime...

I understand your emotions... your feelings.


Mimi Lenox said...

Thanks Jim. We'll talk!

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