Sunday, March 27, 2016

Maman, Mia

It seems that whenever I am at a loss for a topic to post, my daughter, Katey, puts one out there that I cannot match. I am so thrilled that she has inherited both her father's and my gift of the pen--actually she has taken the gift to a wonderful new level. Katey knows how to put words in a context that will touch your heart. Even if you don't believe a word she says, you have to admit she says it beautifully. As her Mom, I know she's sincere. I can only hope that one of her four beautiful daughters will inherit her gift and continue the legacy.

Ten years seems so long when you're ten. It seems like you will never get to that next year. Remember the days when you added "a half" to your age so you sounded older? Do you recall what it was like when getting your driver's license sounded like a century away or when you thought you'd never get out of the house to go to college or your wedding day would absolutely never arrive? Then you blink, and you're retired reading the blog your daughter writes about her daughter. So surreal. 

I am thrilled that Mia gets to go horseback riding on her birthday, but I am sad I cannot be there. I am thrilled that she is coming into her own and growing tall, but I am sad that I cannot be there to share in much of her life. Living far away is difficult, but my love stretches across the miles and I send it to our Mia, to her precious sisters and to my daughter who all make me so proud on this Easter Sunday. When my father died seven years ago, I found so many of my letters I had written to him through the years all snuggled tightly in one of his drawers. I keep my daughters' cards and letters too as those words are precious to me. One day they will find them in one of my drawers, and they will know just how much they meant to me.

Katey's post to her daughter, Mia.
Ten years. Where does time go?
The days are longgggggg but the years have flown by.
In ten years, I have learned a lot about being a mom.
I have learned a lot about having your own heart walking around in a baby body.
And then suddenly one day, that baby body is gigantic, and as tall as you, and looking at you in the eye, and borrowing your clothes in 4th grade, singing Meghan Trainor in the shower "My name is NO!", and comes around the corner asking you the hard questions.....
In the next 10 years you will transform into an adult, and suddenly I won’t have anyone to pick up from practice, or do face masks with, or to eat raw cookie dough with. I won’t have someone to say "Mommmmmmmmm……..” in a rage, or in a panic, and I won’t find toothpaste on the mirror anymore.
While I pick up the pieces of my heart that you take with you to college,
I will leave you with these ten things to ponder:
1. School and grades
Although I am an educator, of course I want you to excel. But after 20 years in education, what I want for you is to challenge your thinking. Try new things. Take classes that don’t matter. Attempt ones that do. Grades are important but they do not define you, and they are just one indication and piece of what your mind is capable of.
2. Boys
We joke around the house that boys are silly and smelly. But boys are actually really awesome. They are smart and kind, they are strong and sensitive. They will protect you at school and beyond and be your forever friends. They won’t care what shirt you are wearing and they really don’t ever notice your hair. If you are lucky enough to find a few good ones like I did in junior high and high school, you will dodge lots of drama and laugh for eternity. You are less than a year out from hearing the rest of the truth on boys, so I will spare you for now. And I am sorry for that talk now:)
3. Friends
Find one or two good friends and hold on tight. Although having a huge group of friends is awesome, my wish for you is that you will have lots of “fringe” friends too. People you can hang with from all different groups and walks of life and flow in and out of them easily. Remember when the lady down the street was freaking out about the “apartment kids” moving in. Many many houses are not “homes”, and seeing as though both your parents were apartment kids at one time, walls don’t determine a person’s worth, character speaks volumes.
Embrace diversity in everything you do.
4. Let go of the outcome
In the next few years you will have your heart broken at least three times. It will suck and feel like you got the wind knocked out of you. You will eat chocolate in the fetal position, I will rub your back. You will watch the same movie over and over and listen to Fall Out Boy 100 times. 
Remember that hearts don’t break down the middle, they break open. 
And in the open, the love comes out. And being vulnerable and taking risks in love is only the beginning of really being an honest human being. Much much later, I will introduce you to vodka. That sometimes helps too.
5. Be the party
Life is going to get a lot busier. Don’t ever lose sight of the purpose you serve. To be the party. On your way to school, be the party. In class, be the party ( appropriately). In your friendships, be the party. When you play with your sisters, be the party. Your Native American name Uncle Ed jokingly gave you is “ Speaks With Smiles”…..emblazon that in your mind, and never lose sight of your ability to light up a room.
6. Be well dressed. 
As Meme says “You never know who you are going to meet”.
7. Be well traveled
Go overseas for at least 6 months, live with a family, learn a new language
8. Be well spoken
Practice interfacing with real live people. Ask about them. Its fun, and fascinating.
9. Be well read- Read,read,read.
10. Dignity and your voice
You will have conflict and it won’t be pretty. You will fight with me, your Dad, your sisters (on a daily basis), your friends, and maybe even a boyfriend or two.
I hope that your voice will always be something important to you and that I have taught you how to walk away with your dignity intact. Standing up for yourself is a McPherson 101 trait, maintaining your dignity takes practice, and time. Don’t ever let anyone silence the inherent voice you have been given.
Onwards Mia!
Whether I like it or not, you are growing up and I am honored to be a part of your journey.
Happy 10th birthday and Easter to my daily resurrection