I want my daughters to know these things, always:
1. I don’t care if you date a man or a woman. Mutual love and respect are what matter in relationships.
2. Ignore the advice “love what you do, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” While it is important to choose a career that we’re good at and that we can find daily satisfaction from, sometimes work is work.
3. Stay in school. College isn’t for everyone and educational experiences, like trade schools and apprenticeships, are more valuable than we, as a society, give enough credit to. Regardless, school is a foundation for more than just jobs. It’s a learning experience about how to handle pressure and how to work with others.
4. Love yourself. When the world feels lonely, we have a real advantage when we are friends with ourselves.
5. Believe in magic. Find something intangible that makes your heart skip a beat from time to time. Wonder about the stars. Look up at the moon. Ask questions that don’t have obvious answers.
6. Wear jewelry. Tokens with meaning and trinkets given to us in love can have a powerful way of reminding us to keep our chins up when we want to fall down and stay there.
7. Buy jewelry for yourself. Don’t wait for someone else to give you something special.
8. Drink water. Because I said so, and I’m still your mom.
9. Question authority but respect rules. You don’t like the rules? Try to change them and make the world better.
10. Exercise. Move your body in some way that you enjoy every day.
11. Cook and eat with the people you love. This makes almost every day feel special, manageable and worthwhile.
12. Feed yourself. Feed yourself and your soul with good books, songs that make your hips sway, and conversations that leave you tilting your head back and roaring with throaty laughter.
13. Feed others. Find joy in freely offering things like compliments, hugs and shared tears.
14. Cry if you want to.
15. Don’t fight your hair. It’s not worth it. There are too many other things in life worth battling over, but hair is not one of them. Embrace what you have and work with it rather than against it. Here, I’ll help you. Because I’m mom. And that’s what I do.
16. Don’t over pluck your eyebrows. Trust me.
17. Say “I don’t know” when you don’t. It makes the times when you do that much more believable.
18. Eat cake on birthdays. Always.
19. Don’t own a scale.
20. Remember I love you, even when I’m no longer there to tell you. Because I do. Because I’m mom. Always.