Dear Never Daughter;
I’ve never had the amazing pleasure of creating you, growing you, meeting you, raising you or releasing you into the great big beautiful world. You will never exist outside my own heart and mind. Still, the hole that your absence has left in my life is tangible, at times cavernous and painful… I’ve greatly missed the myriad experiences of your life within mine, and the privilege of being your mother.
Throughout much of my adult life, I have dreamed of you… wondered what you would be like, look like, smell like. I’ve all too often considered how I would mother you, what it would feel like to actually be someone’s mother, and whether I’d meet that challenge with grace and patience. In my mind, you are full of wonder and joy, with a strong sense of self and a stubborn streak unrivaled but for my own. I have little doubt that you and I would have argued and disagreed as much as we’d have laughed and loved. And, given our mutual temperaments, I imagine that we’d have both been fine with that.
More than anything else, dear Never Daughter, I have wondered what I would teach you. Not about flossing or cleaning your room or doing your homework, but about the hard stuff. The important stuff. The things that might make your life on this earth easier, happier, sweeter. And I think I have a pretty good idea…
To start with:
Don’t ever think you have enough friends or love in your life. It’s simply not possible.
Say YES to opportunities. Be open to trying new things. Every now and then, stretch yourself a bit. You’ll always be amazed at the excitement and confidence it creates.
Throughout your life, people will come and go. That’s alright. Changes in who you are and how you feel will often result in this. When that happens, allow people to leave with grace. And when it’s time for you to part with others, be equally kind.
Love is easy, sweet girl. It’s relationships that are hard.
Buy custom stationery with your name on it and mail handwritten notes. They’ll become gifts for others to treasure.
Learn to separate your love from your lust. Most times, these have little to do with one other. Distinguishing between them will spare you a lifetime of confusion and heartache.
Don’t worry about ‘waiting…’ But be responsible. Be discreet. And please, please, PLEASE: be safe.
Never buy cheap tweezers. EVER.
Find a mate who laughs easily with you. At the same things. You will need this gift throughout your time together, for whatever life tosses at you, and you will deeply appreciate it.
You’ll find cause to say it often throughout your life, so learn to say I’m Sorry with ease and sincerity.
Don’t buy a house until you’re well into your thirties. Houses are for staying put, and your twenties should be for getting out.
A true friend will never force you to choose between you and them. Remember that.
Love is not all that matters. Whether it’s a friend or a mate, it’s never enough. A lasting relationship will require mutual respect, honesty, trust and a solid base of friendship. Once all of that’s in place, love will inevitably, sweetly follow.
If you should ever have to choose between cleaning your home or going out with friends, choose the latter. Helping someone in need trumps both.
Be grateful. For the sun, your health, a wonderful meal, the love of a good friend, great teeth… everything. Find the gratitude. It will help offset the bad, and you’ll be happier for it.
Live with as few objects as you can. Buy things that have multiple uses. Don’t hoard unnecessary items.
It’s all right if, at the age of 18, you don’t know what you want to do with your life. Most people don’t. Just pick a direction, take the journey in small steps, and be open to considering options – and opportunities – when they arise.
People come in different sizes, shapes, colors and preferences. Always marvel in that!
Learn to confidently introduce yourself and have interesting, interactive conversations. Make eye contact with people and sincerely listen to what they say. You’ll need these skills throughout your life, no matter what you choose to do.
Don’t worry so much about what others think of you. Instead, ask yourself what YOU think about you. In the end, this is the only opinion that will matter.
Never stop learning. Drink in knowledge as a thirsty, desert-ridden camel.
Put down those fashion magazines and find your own style. Wear whatever you damned well want. Just make certain that you are dressed appropriately for the occasion. And always cover the important bits…
Never take personally something another person said or did. Most times, it will have far less to do with you than them.
Go to funerals. They’re heartbreaking and difficult to bear, but they are important to those left behind. Sadly, you will some day realize how appreciated it was for you to have shown up.
Question everything you feel should be questioned. But do this with respect and courtesy.
Learn when to give up. First try hard as you can, then reconcile yourself with that. Regrets are typically not made of moments when you gave up, but more of moments when you didn’t.
Always follow your dreams – but don’t assume you can support yourself with them. There’s usually a difference between making a living and making a life, and that’s okay.
You needn’t learn to cook everything; just master two main courses and one dessert, and the world will be yours!
Always get professionally fitted for bras.
Be YOU. Be true to yourself. Walk confidently in the knowledge of who you are and what you believe.
I’d teach you these things and lots more, dear Never Daughter. How to hold a butterfly, make snickerdoodles, write a well-constructed sentence, spit properly… So, so much.
Sadly, I cannot teach you these things, because you do not exist.
And you never will.
But given the chance, I’d have gladly spent my life doing just that. Teaching you. From the deepest part of my heart.
My sweet Never Daughter.
How I would have loved you so…
p.s. more on being a Childless Mommy here…
This post ©2014 ORANGESWING.COM AND SUSIE RILEY.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.