Take little steps.
Someday, many years from now, when you walk down the aisle and the love of your life is waiting there for you, take little steps.
I see you now. All of three years old, with your blonde hair that curls at the end and ties itself into knots while you sleep. Your cheeks are usually flushed and streaked with dirt or Oreo cookie crumbs. Your painted fingernails have dirt under them, your knees are scarred and your elbows sport Band-Aids.
I see you watch the world around you and I see you finding your path.
And you are so much like me. So much that it frustrates me when we go head to head over bedtime, food thrown on the floor or toys shared with your brother. So much that it makes me laugh when you sing in the bathtub, warms my heart when you reach out and hold Cole’s hand or snuggle into your daddy’s lap. So much that I can envision the battle of wills we will have for the next 18 years or so. And so much that I can almost picture the things that will break your heart along the way.
You’re forming relationships now and I see a new part of your personality beginning to emerge and you are so much like me. It makes me want to spew everything I’ve learned through 32 years, countless mistakes and missteps, some heartbreak and a lot of luck into a manual of sorts for you. And I’d title it, “Lessons from your mother” or something far more catchy.
I’d tell you to have fun in high school and college and not take yourself so seriously. I’d tell you to watch more movies and read more books and study and not put your work off to the last possible second. I’d tell you to work in a restaurant because the money is good but also because it’s fun and you meet people and it’ll teach you how to pick the assholes out of a group (hint: It’s the person who shakes a glass at you.)
I’d tell you to find a friend, a good friend, to hold all of your secrets. I’d tell you to laugh when things are funny, cry when they are sad and yell when you are mad. I’d tell you that you can feel whatever it is you feel and that if you get it out, you’ll feel better. But I would also tell you that you are responsible for how you make others feel. So make them feel good, but not at the expense of yourself.
I’d tell you to be careful with your heart, to make sure that the person you give it to, deserves it and deserves you. I’d tell you that your heart can physically hurt sometimes – and sometimes that’s bad and you should run away and sometimes it means you should dive in and fight harder. And I’d tell you that when you find someone who makes your heart hurt in a good way, you hang onto that.
But you wouldn’t listen to me and you wouldn’t believe all my wonderful words of wisdom. And the truth is there will be beauty in your mistakes and lessons in your heartbreak, so I’ll try to bite my tongue and let you find your way.
But I will tell you, that on your wedding day, you should take small steps. And I tell you this because I want you not to rush that moment, of course. But also, if you take big steps, you’ll kick out the bottom of your dress and it’ll look weird in the pictures and on the video. And nobody told me that, so I want to make sure that I remember to tell you.
Take little steps.