50 Things I Hope My Children Remember
I think I’m getting older.
I’m starting to wonder...and worry, about all the things my children will remember after I’m gone.
Most days it seems like all they remember is the mistakes I make and none of the good advice.
Yes, you should really put your toothbrush back in the holder every time.
What do I want them to remember after I’m gone? Or even just after they move out and do their own things.
So very much…
- Always wear your shoes in a public bathroom. I don’t know their names, but I’m pretty sure you can get weird diseases through your feet. (This is where I tell the story about how I took a shower once at the fairgrounds after puking on an awful ride and I got fungus. It was gross.)
- If you HAVE to change your clothes in a public bathroom, carefully slip out of your shoes, then STAND on them while you replace your pants. It requires some balance, but it’s worth it. Remember the foot fungus story.
- Everything is a phase. This counts for babies, crap jobs, tiny bank accounts, and pretty much everything. Most of it doesn’t last.
- Some things however, are supposed to last. Some things are supposed to last forever. Your family and your marriage is one of these things. It’s one of the only things in life that you should really fight for even when it looks dismal.
- Choose carefully who you marry. Don’t be too quick, but don’t take too long either. And pay more attention to similar values than how much you want to see them naked.
- Speaking of being naked, don’t stress too much about physical beauty. It’s hard to find someone attractive when they are a jerk, even if they have great abs and no wrinkles. After a while, you don’t really notice what they look like anyway.
- Appreciate your body. Too many of us spend too many years worrying about sag or droop or wrinkles or scars. Those things don’t make us ugly, they remind us where we have been and what really matters.
- Read, “The Picture of Dorian Gray.” It’s got some good lessons in it.
- Read Jane Austin. She remembers what love feels like, but she also remembers that behaving properly matters too.
- Read, “Middlemarch.” George Eliott understood marriage.
- Just read a lot. It can actually make you a better person. It’s OK to read junky murder mysteries too... At least I hope so.
- Money doesn’t buy happiness. You can have money and be miserable. But I’m pretty sure it can help a little. With happiness. Because being broke really does suck.
- Don’t worry so much about your babies sleeping through the night. I’m pretty sure the stress about the expectation is worse than the reality. They sleep eventually.
- Don’t think you have to do your regular life when you have a new baby. See above.
- People aren’t perfect.
- Forgive them anyway.
- Especially if you’re related or married.
- Also, news flash- forgiveness is a commandment not because other people deserve it. It’s so we aren’t miserable being angry all the time at stuff other people did. Basically it’s a gift for YOU, not the jerk. Don’t waste it.
- If you haven’t accomplished something by the time you are 25, that doesn’t actually mean you won’t accomplish it.
- Did I mention life doesn’t end at 25? (Well, unless it does.)
- In fact, you probably won’t really know who you are until you are 33. It’s like a magic age or something. (Remember what I told you about Tom Cruise’s wives always leaving him when they turned 33? It’s true.)
- Also, be careful about decisions you make at 33. Some people really freak out.
- Unless you’re married to Tom Cruise. Then it’s probably time to move on.
- Laugh at yourself. At least this way, SOMEONE is laughing at your jokes. Sometimes others catch on.
- Be respectful.
- It’s not super respectful to expect other people to pick up your socks.
- So pick up your dang socks.
- And put them in the hamper.
- Your roommate or spouse is annoying. So are you. Don’t forget it.
- Always say thank you. To checkers at the grocery. To the guy who hands you your burger. To teachers, friends, your kids, your spouse. It’s polite. But it’s more than that too.
- Be grateful. Even when things are awful. The best way to be unhappy is to forget gratitude. I promise if you are unhappy you are focusing on your lack, not your blessings.
- Write in a journal. You can even write about the bad stuff. Going back to read it can remind you that you got through things you didn’t think you could. In fact, you’ll realize that some of the stuff you thought was just horrendous, you can’t even remember it anymore. It gives you some perspective.
- Exercise every day. Do something. It doesn’t have to be complicated.
- For goodness sake, eat your vegetables. You’re a grown up. And they are good for you.
- Drink water. Don’t drink hardly anything else. It’s pretty much all bad, except for water.
- Remember your siblings. They are the only people who really understand what your life was like and where you are coming from. But sometimes they remember things differently, and that can be good for you to hear too.
- Your body shouldn’t be your primary way of getting attention. It’s just your vehicle.
- Take a jacket with you. You never know what’s going to happen with the weather. What if the car breaks down?! What if you have to walk for miles!?
- Don’t get into debt. Unless you buy a house. Be careful even with things that seem important like cars or school loans. Is there another way? If there is, do that instead.
- Remember that you are in charge of you. Don’t ever give your power away to someone else. They can’t make you miserable. You are in charge of that.
- You’re parents were not perfect. They did try. It’s easier to understand this once you have your own children.
- Having children is really hard. That’s one way we know it matters.
- More than perhaps anything else in life, parenthood teaches us about the nature of Heavenly Father. How much He loves, cares, and thinks of us. And it teaches us the importance of allowing others their agency.
- It’s important to have goals and push yourself. It’s important to strive.
- But sometimes “expectations” of how we think things should go can really make us miserable.
- I’m super sorry for the things I’ve done wrong. Seriously, I always knew I was screwing up but it was so much harder than I thought it would be to do things right. I hope you can forgive me.
- Don’t forget the things we tried to teach you. Go to church. Read your scriptures. Say your prayers. Do the basics. There is wisdom there. It can take time to see it. Results are not immediate. Sometimes the waiting is so hard. Sometimes faith is hard.
- My mistakes reflect only my flaws- they don’t mean some of the things I tried to teach you are untrue. Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. Don’t lose your faith because your mom didn’t do things right.
- Don’t forget the long game. This is a long game. Don’t lose a bigger goal because of minor things- even things that seem very tempting or pleasurable at the time. Don’t throw away your birthright. You were meant for greatness.
- Don’t be afraid of sacrifice. We live in a society that focuses so much on individualism and self-care that we start to believe that giving for others is somehow detrimental to our health. It doesn’t have to be. Sacrifice- giving all of yourself- it’s really the only way to find out who you really are. It wipes away the dross. It leaves something greater that you never would have found otherwise.
I love you. Forever and ever and then some.