Preface: I wrote this when my first child was born. It applies to all of my children…and now my Grandchild

Child of My Heart:

As I gaze upon your face, touch your hair and smell it’s sweet fragrance, look into those beautiful eyes that are mostly closed and see myself looking back, I am struck by how much life has in store for you. There are lessons that you must learn on your own and there are lessons that I hope I can teach you, to give you a firm foundation for whatever the years will bring.

I ask myself, what can I tell this wonderful child about life, what things are important to know, what little bit of truth can I pass on? What can I write here that will have meaning, if not now, then in the years to come?

Life is more interesting and richest when it includes people who are not exactly like you. Everyone is different; everyone has their own beliefs and values. Not everyone will accept this–ever. Be one of the ones who does.

Understand that life is unfair, you can’t change that. The idea of an amusement park ride may be a lot more fun than the ride itself. You don’t always get to know why your lover dumped you; even the cheerleaders male or female have a miserable time in Junior High. Things happen and there’s nothing you can do about some of it except persevere. Life does go gloriously onward. It’s important to mark the occasion, good or bad. Anniversaries, with their associated ceremonies and remembrances, are part of honoring the human experience.

Things happen for no reason. When you feel yourself getting upset/angry/frustrated, ask yourself, “How much will this really matter to me in a day? A week? A month?” Asking helps you gain perspective. Screaming obscenities at traffic will not get you there any faster. Things break. Maps can be wrong. Food and crumbs can be swept or vacuumed up. Socks need not match to keep little toes warm. Spilled milk takes well to a paper towel. Books were meant to be chewed on. Pots and pans serve as perfect entertainment. Eating food off of the floor isn’t going to kill your child. Screaming children eventually quiet down.

There is no shame in admitting that you need help. Don’t be afraid to ask for it and done afraid to help someone who needs it – A lot of bad things happen in the world because people are afraid to get involved. Care about others and give them a hand when they need it. Sometimes all they need is a chance to help themselves and you can be the one enables that!

There comes a point where you know yourself. It’s something you age into, one of the many benefits of aging. At that point you know that where you’re from isn’t the same as who you are. What you have isn’t the same as who you are. Who you’re with isn’t the same as who you are. What you do isn’t the same as who you are. It is very important to like and love yourself. Either learn to like the person you are, or change yourself to be more like the person you want to be.

Your life will be what you chose to make of it. Never let other people’s expectations limit your achievements, mine, your mothers or any one’s and never waste energy regretting that which can’t be undone. Life has different stages, make your choices such as they are and strive to do your best. Understand that you will likely never be the best at everything. Always ask for what you want, whether it’s a job or help from your partner. No one will know what is bothering you unless you tell them. Most people can’t read minds. Life is not as short as you think. You do have time for a second career, a second choice, a second chance. Maybe more. You can make things happen if you really really want to.

Everyone, including children, deserves respect. Even people who you think don’t know a thing can teach you a great deal. Give others the benefit of the doubt, in the hopes that the favor is returned to you someday. Doing at least one nice thing every day will do wonders for you, something as little as smiling at a stranger on the street or letting someone into traffic in front of you.

If you need somebody to act a certain way, treat them as though they already do. Adult or child, people love to live up to expectations.

Except for “I love you”, I’m sorry” or “How can I help?”, try to eliminate the word “I” from your conversations. Never say “I told you so”.

The only person whose approval you should really seek is your own. Treat those who disparage your decisions or try to impose their morality on you with respect and friendliness. It’s really hard to demonize people who are nice to you. Most of the time, you get what you give. There are people who will draw whatever conclusions they want to. No matter how you dress, look or act, there will always be those who approve and those who don’t.

Never ask some one’s opinion if what you’re truly seeking is their approval. Never be mad at someone for stating an opinion when you asked for it. Be honest in your relationships, but don’t cause unnecessary hurt.

Judge by actions, not by words. Actions always speak louder. Someone who is nice to you but rude to the waiter is not a nice person.

Recognize that despite all your best efforts, you cannot control the lives of others or know what is best for any person other than yourself. Be content with just controlling yourself. Listening to friends and family will bring you closer to them and enrich you more than talking at them will.

Marriage is work. Marriage takes effort… love and understanding are rare. You deserve to love someone who loves you back, anything less is not good enough. A true partnership is not something that just happens – it’s a full time job. Marriage requires that both parties have the utmost respect for one another, implicit trust in each other and a willingness to compromise. -Its OK to love a man who doesn’t dote on you and still have a very happy marriage.

When you think you’re ready to start looking for a spouse, look at your friends first. Figure out which qualities you like, love and admire in your longest lasting friends. Look for those qualities in a spouse. Marry your friend. Friendship is the most enduring aspect of marriage, sex you can get anywhere.

Sex is what you make it. It is your choice whether it’s just going to be sex, or if it going to mean more to you. Whatever your expectations, it is your responsibility to let the other person know, before you have sex.

It’s impossible to fully understand the dynamics between two people; therefore, it’s OK if your friends or relatives have relationships that seem strange, like something you yourself wouldn’t want. You never know what’s at the core of it, that might be just what they need in life.

Being a parent is an awesome experience and privilege. But even with all the absolute love and happiness a child creates, some people should never be parents. You don’t have to be good with scissors, paper, beans, crayons, glue, etc., to be a good parent. You can be a good parent by sharing your favorite activities with your child.

You are here to love, nurture, feed, cloth, shelter, and teach your children. Hold them, rock them, cuddle them as much as you want. It won’t be long before their need to explore outweighs your desire to hold them near you. The love and loyalty you feel for your children will far surpass anything else you’ll ever feel. Your children’s faces are the most beautiful things you’ll ever see.

Even in the face of this, there are parents who abandon, abuse or neglect their children. There are people in the world who are crueler than I ever imagined people could be. And there are more good, decent, caring people in the world than there are bad people.

Hearts are infinitely expandable, they hold as many people as you chose. You will love all your children as much as the first, but you may not always like them equally.

It’s okay to have a daughter who loves her baby dolls and to not fear raising her with all the sexist attitudes that exist. Whatever will be, will be. It’s okay for little boys to want to play with dolls and to cry when somethings wrong.

If you chose to have children, remember that “No” means no, but enough doesn’t always mean what you think it means. Be careful of little ears. They hear more than you think they do.

Never, ever make a promise you don’t intend to keep. Kids have the memory of an elephant. If you tell your daughter at age six that she can have a horse of her own when she turns sixteen, she will remember the day, time, circumstances and exact wording of the promise and repeat them to you on her 16th birthday.

Children are entitled to bad days . Don’t ever tell your child there’s nothing to fear; children have every right to be scared of anything they want just like you and me.

It really doesn’t matter at what age your child gives up the pacifier, bottle, breast, or was potty trained. Your child will not go to school in diapers or walk the halls with a bottle. At age 6 or 7 or 17, no one will know or care about those things.

Every family has it’s flaws. When you recognize them, work through it, get over it and move on. You define your relationship to your family, much as you define your friendships. My parents are not perfect, and never were. They are human and flawed, and made mistakes raising me. I am not perfect, and never will be. I am human and flawed, and will make mistakes raising you. You will not be a perfect parent either. Apologizing to your child(ren) when you’ve made a mistake is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Don’t live your life expecting everyone and everything to be perfect. Your standards are your standards, be realistic and don’t feel guilty if you don’t live up to anyone else’s. Trust your instincts where your life is concerned. Listen to your inner voice.

Let your children be less than perfect. You may want to have the perfect child, but one who is happy and a joy to be around is even better.

Time is an awesome commodity. It heals wounds, and it gives you energy. It also saps your strength if you let it create limits for you. Every day is a miracle. Don’t waste any. Find some way to appreciate life every single day. Savor the really special moments/times in life so that they become a part of your everyday life. Relive the happy moments from your childhood now and then. Go to the zoo. Go to the museum. Throw rocks into the water. Be bored sometimes. Never, ever take those you love for granted. Tell them you love them TODAY, give them a hug TODAY. Take time to appreciate why you love those you love…and tell them!

Don’t forget to show your pets how much you love them too.

Take care of yourself , your partner and you as a couple, and your family. Make time for yourself, time alone with your partner, time for your family together.

There’s nothing wrong with having a job instead of a career. Be proud of a job well done even if it won’t change the world or move you up the ladder of success.

Tomorrow is not promised to us, so live your life as though today is all you have. Grief and loss can make people either bitter or incredibly grateful for what they’ve had, either way, it’s a choice.

It’s not important for everyone to “get” you. Its OK for you, your child, your parenting decisions to be different.

Pick your battles. Some are worth winning, some are not, some you’ll never win. Expend your energy wisely. No one likes someone who wins all the time, so pick which battles you don’t mind losing. It goes a long way towards getting cooperation when something is important to you.

It’s important to play by the rules so that society doesn’t fall apart, but it’s also important to understand that some laws are wrong.

When buying work clothes at the beginning of your career, buy only classic pieces. Make sure they are good quality, stick with basic colors – black and blue. Every year, add a few new shirts that are the latest colors and change your shoes to keep updated. Dress one level above your job.

Find medical professionals you like and trust, do your own research and trust your feelings.

By the way chocolate is a very inexpensive way to raise your spirit when down. Need any thing else let me know and I will meet you in your dreams if I am not here in body…