I wrote this letter to my boys this past Fall when my oldest was heading into his sophomore year of college nearby and my youngest was about to be a college freshman very far away. It was a bittersweet time. It was also a time for the whole truth.
My darling boys:
I must have, that’s the only explanation.
I had these beautiful little baby boys. A year apart. So sweet, the loves of my life (ummm, don’t tell your dad that part). Even when you went through the terrible twos and then the worse threes, I loved you every minute.
And then I blinked.
Through the teen years, no matter how high you succeeded in boosting my blood pressure, even when I could hear it roaring in my ears, I loved you like crazy.
Now you, my older son, are a sophomore in college. And you, my baby boy after just one semester are now a sophomore too, but 700 miles away.
I don’t want to disillusion you. I spent many years trying so hard to instill morals and values and impart all the little nuggets of wisdom that make up the Mom’s List of Handy Dandy Cliches. So please don’t judge me too harshly, I was only doing what I thought was expected of me. But now you’re grown, I think you’re ready, you can handle the truth.So good-bye clichés, here it is, what I really want you to know:
Play in traffic. You still want to look both ways, make sure a big old truck isn’t coming, but don’t spend your life on the side of the road. A little traffic play will do you good.
Count your chickens before they hatch. If not, you’ll live expecting that they may not. Expect them to hatch, all of them.
Don’t make wardrobe decisions based on the possibility that you may get into an accident, but do wear clean underwear. Please.
Honesty is not the best policy.In some situations telling a lie is just the right thing to do. The secret to maturity is in knowing when.
Do not keep your enemies closer. Who wants close enemies? Keep your friends closer.
The grass is not always greener. It’s the weeds that make us who we are.
Cleanliness isn’t next to Godliness. In fact, I don’t have a clue as to what that means and I don’t want to.
It’s not all about what’s inside. Looks matter. I’m not talking about some classic idea of beauty, I’m talking about the way we feel when we look our best. Take showers. Wash your clothes. Get your hair cut. Exercise and eat well. Pizza’s an option but not the only one.
The glass is not always half full. But you can fill it.
Your eyes will NOT get stuck like that. Promise.
An apple a day makes you a good friend to the apple growers. Won’t hurt but don’t expect any miracles either.
You can have your cake and eat it too. In fact, if you let me know when you’re coming, I’ll even bake it for you.
Cream Cheese Toffee Cake recipe
The early bird may catch the worm, but who wants worms anyway? Get a good night’s sleep, be well rested, I’m sure there’ll be a worm or two left if you really have your heart set on worms.
The ends do not always justify the means. That’s an excuse, not a way of life.
Good things may well come to those who wait. They also come to those who go out and work for them.
A bird in the hand. . . naaa, I’m just not going there.
Ultimately there’s no such thing as getting off on the wrong foot. The point is to get moving. If you have to change direction, put on your blinker, make a u-turn and step on the gas.
Love is not blind. You’ll see.
Sometimes you do have to sweat the details, it’s called being prepared.
Time does not heal all wounds. Some will stay with you. Forever. Be very careful not to be the cause of others’ wounds.
Variety is the spice of life but you can ruin a dish if you over-season.
Where there’s smoke there’s not always fire. Sometimes there’s just smoke. Don’t assume, take time to assess the situation.
Why buy the cow when the milk is free? Because not all cows are good for only one thing. Look deeper.
It’s not always the quality, sometimes it’s the quantity. Fill your life with close friends and family, but leave room for acquaintances, friends of friends and the guy next door.
It’s not just how you play the game. Sometimes winning does matter. Play to win.
Whether or not absence makes the heart grow fonder is immaterial; call your mom. This one’s never going to change, may as well just go with it.
And when you fall in love and marry and have kids of your own . . .
. . . don’t blink.
So proud. Every day. That part was true. From 9 months before your first breath until long after my last.
Note: Published on The Huffington Post as The Whole Truth About Life I Finally Shared With my Grown Sons, on Baking In A Tornado as The Whole Truth and on BlogHer as The Whole Truth: A Mother's Letter to her Grown Sons