Today, my youngest babe, Lauren, graduates kindergarten. I'm uncharacteristically sad and nostalgic. Honestly, I enjoy the babes so much more as they grow up, so usually the milestones are full of eagerness for the next chapter. This time is different though, and pretty bittersweet. The reason is two-fold: first, I know there will be no more Reece babies. Second, Lauren still looks like her baby-self. She hasn't changed much besides her size, and for that reason, I always see her as my little baby.
So anyway, here are some words of advice for her as she navigates growing up:
1. Different is good. I know you'll want to be just like everybody else, and you'll stress about it. You'll spend many hours of your precious life trying to conform. Just trust me when I say, it's futile. Your unique being will always shine through, and you would be much happier (as will the world) if you just embrace it.
2. Don't cut your own hair.
3. Talk to your momma. Trust me, even if you think I can't possibly understand, I probably can. There are many stories from my past that you have never heard, so I'm pretty sure that whatever you tell me: I won't be shocked.
4. Ask for help. Girl, it is not a sign of weakness. It's how you grow.
5. Don't beat yourself up over mistakes you've made. Don't put it on repeat in your mind. We all screw up. Laugh about it and move on.
6. Be nice. Be nice. Be nice. I read somewhere: what if your words were tattoos that you had to wear around? Everyone could see all of the things you said. Would you change how you spoke to or about someone?
7. Drink lots of water and don't hold your pee.
8. Stand up for yourself. No one is better or less than you--don't let them make you feel some sort of way.
9. Believe in magic and miracles, and then watch them unfold.
10. Wash your face. Did you know that your skin ages seven times faster if you don't wash your face before bed?
11. Speaking of faces, lay off the eyeliner. Pllllleaaaaaaasssseeeeee.
12. Learn how to say NO. You don't have to please everyone, and it is perfectly okay to say NO to something you don't want to do.
13. You do you. If it brings you joy, go for it. I'll cheer you on all the way.
14. Love and appreciate your sister. She will be the only one who has the same shared memories of your childhood. She knows you better than anyone else. You will be adults together, caring for your old parents. Keep that bond strong and sacred.
15. Know that you are so loved. From the crown of your head to the bottom of your feet. For aways.