So the other day it dawned on me. Well, actually this started in September. Gracie was about to celebrate her 16th birthday. A few days after that she took her driving test and passed. I suppose that's when it really hit me. I still have so much I want to teach her. I have so much I want to show her and experience with her. But she'll only be under our roof for another two and a half years. I don't have much time.
I decided to approach all of this with a cool and calm mind. No freaking out. There was the night that she had to go to a meeting for work. Downtown. In the dark. I asked her where she might park when she goes downtown? She replied with, wherever there is a parking spot. Sassy girl. So then I said, just make sure that it is in a well lit area. Please don't use your cell phone while you are walking from the car to your work. Walk with confidence and don't talk to strangers. Ok. That was probably enough. Whew. Then she said, mom, I have a black belt in karate. And I'll be careful. Kisses and hugs and a text me when you get there. I've never felt so relieved as when I heard that garage door go up upon her return.
I've found myself explaining things to her differently. Like when we went through the drive thru ATM at the bank. Be aware of your surroundings. When you punch in your PIN try and hide the numbers you are punching in. Count your money after you have rolled up your window. And then we moved on to other basic instructions. When you're filling your gas tank, stay near by. Those automatic shut off things don't always work. We were on our way to a craft store and I said, when I enter this traffic circle I stay in the left lane. That puts you right where you need to be when you want to turn into the strip mall.
Other little tips started rolling out of me. Like when we were doing laundry. Line dry your bras, they'll last longer. Save your coins they really add up. Always listen more than you talk. Make sure you ask others lots of questions. Google it. Make sure to not text and drive. Don't speed. Too much. It's not worth it. I may know this from personal experience. Maybe your dad does, too.
And even more basic. Eight hours of sleep. Always. If not more. Fruits and veggies, of course. Give money to charities, but more important, give time. Please and thank you. Always. Thank you notes. This might land you a job. Thank you note. Follow up. Professional.
Make your bed. I know that you told me smart people are messy. That is a good thing. Genius on. But keep peace with your roommate or partner, too. Learn how to change a tire. Your Papa made me do this. Learn to take a few seconds to respond rather than react. A well thought out response is so much better and braver than a knee jerk reaction that you can't take back.
I've saved the best for last. You know the golden rule. Treat others like you wish to be treated. Wish on falling stars. Have fun. Laugh. Oh my goodness, LAUGH. And love. With gusto. Love your family, your friends, your neighbors. Be kind in general. Make people feel as though they are the most important thing in your life. The amazing miracle is that you, too, will feel very important. That is the foundation that life is built on. And trust. This is easy. Until your trust is taken for granted. And then the best thing you can do is trust a little. Again and again. Day after day.
When you have pain, push through. You will learn that it won't define you. Coming out on the other side is what does. And that, baby girl, is all I have for you right now. Except for one more thing. Pack your bags. We're going traveling. We have places to go and people to see before you leave my nest.