10. Be respectful, even if you feel someone doesn’t deserve your respect, and especially if you don’t feel like being respectful (i.e. when you’re a teenager and I’ve done something to really upset you). Use “yes, sir”, “no, sir” and “yes, ma’am”, “no, ma’am”. People may tell you that being addressed in such a way makes them feel old and ask you not to speak like this anymore, but until they do so, always begin with respect.
9. Try to be as nice as possible to everyone, including guys that make you feel nervous/suspicious. But don’t be afraid to walk away. Don’t be afraid to run. Try to avoid confrontation at all costs, but if push comes to shove and you don’t have any other recourse, do NOT be afraid to use your knee in a certain sensitive area.
8. The world is full of wonder and beauty. It also has people who can do horrible things. Be aware, be cautious, but in addition to protecting yourself, do not let go of optimism. Look for the good in others; look for the beauty in the darkness. When something goes wrong, look at it as an opportunity to learn and to “have an adventure.”
7. Guard your heart well. It is soft and wants to be loved. Do not give it to a boy simply because he says you’re pretty. Don’t give it away because he likes you, and it feels good to be liked. Give it to someone who respects you, admires you, and who would rather make you smile than take your clothes off. Never settle, because you are worth everything.
6. I am biased because I am your mother, but that doesn’t negate the fact that you are beautiful–both inside and out. Respect your body, take care of it, and let it show you how strong it can be. But don’t forget to nurture the beauty on the inside, either. When you were a baby one of the very first things I said to you was how strong you were. You are strong. You are intelligent. And you are beautiful. Never let yourself forget that you are not a one-dimensional character, and never let anyone else make you believe that, either.
5. There will be times when you do something or say something that you will regret. Do not be afraid to apologize, even if it means you have to grovel in the mud. You are strong, but don’t forget that strength is built through our experiences, too. There is no weakness in doing what is right.
4. Use credit cards only for emergencies (and no, purses and shoes do not count as emergencies). Avoid loans as much as possible; it is better to wait and save and then pay in full than to know years of stress and worry. Be smart with your money in terms of saving and purchases, but also be generous. Use your time and money to take care of yourself, but also experience the joy of helping others in need.
3. Take joy in the relationships you build with your friends and family, and nurture them. These relationships will be more important to you than any success. It is important to trust yourself, but there will be times when you will need to listen to the advice of those who care most for you, because they can often see things with a perspective you do not have. On the other hand, do not be afraid to step away from a relationship that is harmful in any way. You can love someone while loving them from a distance, and it should not be your responsibility to make them “well”. Loving someone sometimes means needing to step away so they can heal themselves.
2. Middle school will not last forever. High school will not last forever. A certain job will not last forever. The world is huge and made up of billions of people. Do not let those who cannot see beyond the moment define who you are or who you want to be.
1. We will not always get along. If you are like me at all, no doubt you will be stubborn and proud and confident in your own opinions. No matter what happens, please remember that I love you. More than anything. I am not perfect by any means, and I will not always be right, but I will always want the best for you. Remember this, and remember that my heart is earnest in its intentions toward good. And know that whether you are hurt or lost or indescribably happy, you will always have a place in my arms.
What about you? You don’t have to list ten things, but I’d love to hear what you want your children to know for the future.
I’m Elise Rome, AKA Midnight Mama because I’m usually burning the midnight oil. If SuperGirl (2, with a speech delay) and WonderGirl (1, my very own hip attachment) aren’t getting up in the middle of the night, then I’m busy working on writing and writing-related business until early morning…usually 3-4 am or so. Both my husband and I stay home with the girls (he’s a writer, too! www.lukasholmes.com), but usually I’m focused on them throughout the day and only get started working until after 8pm when they’re both in bed. I’m a former Texan now living in Colorado who desperately misses no-snow winters, and my parenting goal is to raise my daughters to be strong, intelligent, and independent women…much like the heroines I write, as a matter of fact. I’m a recovering perfectionist, recovering procrastinator, and perpetually aspire to keep the house clean (because it never actually is). When I’m not chasing around my daughters or adoring my cooking/cleaning/diaper-changing husband of 8 years, I write historical romances about women who fascinate me and men who somehow always remind me of Rhett Butler, the first literary hero who captured my heart. www.eliserome.com