Top Ten is a monthly feature--the topics change.
- Seriously. My parents instilled in me a serious work ethic. I remember when I was in high school and needed to pay for half of the two-week band camp I wanted to attend…but still wanted to go roller skating. My dad said I needed to make a choice–either stay home and work on a project to earn money for camp or go skating. Yeah. I didn’t go skating.
- It’s all about the kids. When I became a parent, I already knew it would be my responsibility to provide for my kids. What I didn’t realize was that those little buggers would worm their way into my heart and that I’d go without so they didn’t have to. I’d get creative to make sure they had everything they needed. My parents did, and that’s what I did.
- It’s about the memories you make. It doesn’t matter whether there were hours on end where we sat in a car and slept (or read, in my case) to spend an hour or two doing something fun and different. And…that’s not just about doing stuff with my kids, either. One of the best memories I have of my grandmother is going to see the Tall Ships. I may have had Youngest in a baby-wearing sling and might have been pushing her wheelchair, but I’ll never forget the look of delight on her face. I’ll also remember going to the Tawas Lighthouse with her, my mom, and my three kids.
- A marriage isn’t always going to be a smooth road. It takes work. And that work needs to be a two-way street. One person can’t do all the work in a marriage. That doesn’t mean every couple needs to split every task 50/50–they need to make sure there’s balance. When half of the equation isn’t willing to work, it sucks but that’s why there’s divorce.
- Love unconditionally. Whether they’re your kids, friends, spouse…do it. Love without limits–there isn’t a finite amount of love one person has to give.
- Be authentic. My mom was awesome. By the time I was in high school, I knew when and where I could swear appropriately. I never fucked up and swore at school (well, at least I never got caught), and I knew the people who could handle the authentic me…and those who couldn’t. There weren’t many people who could handle the authentic me. If there was something I wanted to do, I was encouraged to do it. I followed the same principle with my own kids. Middle likes to cosplay (see her Joker? She made her costume herself). I also learned I don’t need to be apologetic for the things I like. I mean, who in their right mind gets a degree in music?!? (See #7)
- Follow my dreams. For the longest time, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life…well, at least when I was in high school. With a scholarship to college for music on the table, my parents encouraged me to go for it. When I told them I wanted to write books, they cheered me on. When I told them I was going to stay home to write and edit, they were supportive. I passed along this support to my own kids. I encourage them to follow their dreams. Here we have Oldest at her White Coat Ceremony when she started medical school.
- Family is forever. We have family dinner on pretty much a weekly basis. I love spending time with my niece and nephew, my great nephew, my sister, my brother-in-law, and my dad. It was really difficult for me to go after my mom died. It was like a punch in the gut, to be honest. But, without my family, I wouldn’t have healed as much as I have (and still have a long way to go…fuck Mother’s Day this year). But even before then, we knew family was the shit. There’s nothing like going to your sister to bitch and complain about something and knowing she’s got your back (and will bring the shovels to bury bodies, if necessary).
- It’s okay to make mistakes…as long as you learn from them and take responsibility. OMG. I cannot tell you how many times this one happened when I was growing up…and into my adulthood. So, here’s my takeaway: if I’m going to fuck up, I’m going to do it big and own that shit. Like wearing super cute shoes to Oldest’s wedding. This ol’ lady had NO business wearing heels like that, but they were cute as fuck and I couldn’t say no. Lesson learned.
10. I learned I can do it. I can make it through one more staff meeting. I can drive in horrible, crazy traffic. I can recover from the world’s biggest fuck-up. Even when I feel like I’m invisible, I’m not. My parents raised me to be strong and independent–just like them.
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