Sunday, December 23, 2012

I wish I had written this!

At this time of year, aren't we all hyper aware of the relationships between parents and children?  A friend of mine wrote this almost a decade ago and just recently re-posted it.  I recommend it to you, with seasonal greetings.

One Mother's Manifesto

During the holiday season of 2003 I wrote my children a little letter of Motherly wisdom, a sort of short list of wisdom that I hoped they would be taking with them into the world.  In the years since its first writing their lives have changed dramatically and for the good, and even though I'm confident that these truths have become part of their daily paths, it's always good to get it out and give it another read for old times sake. In the nine years since its inception, these truths still stand strong.

December 2003
This year, as I consider the possibility that this will be the last Christmas we share as occupants of the same house, it occurred to me that, as a mother, I’ve been pretty lax in the advice department. I have made quiet suggestions, but for the most part, my approach to mothering adult children has been to let you find your way. Overall, I think advice is over rated and usually unappreciated. Motherhood has in no way gifted me with any sort of supernatural sight that would allow me to see the future and know the correct direction to point you, nor does it give me license to tell you what to do or think. I suppose it is not coincidence that you begin your journey into life as an adult about the same time I am beginning to trust those few things in life that I know to be true. I still stand by my opinion on advice, so the following shall be considered “what I know to be true….so far”, shared with you just in case you’re ever curious.
Know what you believe and live it. Some people are not comfortable unless you agree with their belief system. This being the case they will make every attempt to try and get you to believe as they do. STOP! People truly living what they believe do so quietly, with confidence, and with a mind open to possibility. Ask questions, do the research, and know what path you walk. Experiment until you find what works for you. This can apply to anything from spirituality to politics; sporting teams to what brand of laundry detergent you use. Co-existing in harmony does not mean we must always agree. It does mean we must always respect. Listen for your drum and march to it. Trust your own ability to discern what you need and have the courage to seek it.
Accept or move on. People, animals, circumstances…life has a nice way of putting you in places and with people that will often mystify you, if not drive you raving mad. In most cases, whatever animal, vegetable, or mineral is causing a major speed bump in your life is not going to change any time soon, but the way that you respond to them can. Your boss is going to continue to be an ass, the dogs will always be on the wrong side of the door, and there will always be a friend that has the ability to suck you dry. When you find yourself considering the finer points of murder and destruction seek a viable solution first. When none presents itself, the solution is inside yourself. We are all who we are. Unique beings do not always mesh well with other unique beings. When you cannot change the circumstance, change yourself. Life truly is supposed to be lived well and with joy. Accept people and things for what they are or move on.
Be kind. People may not remember your name or your face, but they will remember how you made them feel. Support people with your words and actions. Everyone has value and deserves to be treated that way. Your bad day, flat tire, low bank balance, or upset stomach are not good reasons to be unkind. In fact, there is no good reason to be unkind. Any situation can be made better by kindness. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, has a story and it probably has quite a few very sad chapters. Try and remember that the next time someone really pisses you off.
There is beauty in everything. I swear this is the absolute truth. Look for it. The discovery of beauty in all forms is part of what makes life an adventure.
Just as there is beauty, there is also wisdom. Every situation provides a chance to learn something. Buddhists believe that those things not learned in this life, must be learned in the next. Even if you do not share the beliefs in karma and reincarnation, it’s a pretty good object lesson. Seek the wisdom in all things and learn from it.
Never settle, but know when to be grateful for what you’ve got. Aim high, but be smart. The newer, improved model of everything is not necessarily better than what you already have. This can be as true of the man/woman you just met, as it is of the newest upgrade of computers. The excitement of new can wear off pretty fast. Learn to cultivate contentment and to be able to recognize temptation before she has you by the neck (or lower).
Your life partner should be your harbor in life, not the place you dump your trash. The person you choose to be your life companion should provide for you the one safe place in this world. Never keep secrets or tell half truths, and never, never assume that the gift of their love gives you license to treat them with anything less than love and respect. It’s ok to share your terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day with them. It’s not ok to punish them for it. A lasting relationship is not 50/50. It is 100% of you, 100% of the time. You will never in your life receive a more valuable gift than someone’s heart.
It’s all about forgiveness. Yourself and your transgressors. “What if” and “your fault” can eat holes in your life big enough to break your heart. Resolve and/or repair your conflicts, learn from them, and then let them go.
I wish for you peace in your lifetime and the wisdom to seek it in all areas of your life. I wish for you unconditional love and the courage to embrace it. I wish for you health of body and of spirit. Know that my life could not have been complete without the undeniable joy of being your mother. I love you, have intense pride in you, and believe in you. When everything else in life might seem in conflict, be confident that your mother loves you completely and without hesitation. That much will always be true. xoxo Mom.

This was written by Holly Schmidt.  More of her wisdom can be found on her blog.

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