My Words of Wisdom as Klari Graduates from College (Hook ‘Em)

Well, baby, here we are. College graduation. I’m sure it comes as no big surprise that I’ve got a few things to say. And because you know how I’m wired on the inside, you also know i’m a bundle of emotions, so bear with me.

Now I know you’re happiest when you’re not the focus of, well, anything. I totally understand why you feel that way. You and I are different. While I am totally fine with showcasing my craziness, you are not.. I get it, I really do. And that’s why I’ve always tried to respect your request to stay under the radar. Until today. Today a momma’s gotta do what a momma’s gotta do. I have very few occasions left to share all this unused wisdom rolling around in my head so I have to take them when they come…

Now there are dozens of things I could talk about here and it’s been a challenge to think of just the right way to explain what I’m feeling as a mom, watching you teeter between the start of your true adult life but still being my baby- because, like it or not- you always will be.

I could talk about all the pride I feel about everything you’ve accomplished academically you’re entire life. Like registering yourself for college courses every summer since the 8th grade. (Who does that?) But I won’t. That would be too predictable and a little too braggy and you’d kill me in my sleep if I did that publicly. 🤪 (like how I did that)

I could share how beautiful it’s been to watch you strike out on your semi-own and live and thrive and manage your time and money and your life and relationships with ease.. But I’m not.

I could tell you how proud I am of all the ways you’ve inspired me with your no nonsense attitude and the crazy amount of self discipline you have, But I’m not gonna go there either.

There’ll be no long, drawn-out soliloquy about how I just don’t know where all the time has gone. Or how it seems like just yesterday you took your first steps or how I cried and you didn’t when I dropped you off at every first day of school until you could drive yourself.. then I just cried at home. ..Nope! I’m not going anywhere near any of that.

And I’m also not interested in talking about the grades on your transcript or your plans after this because that’s your story to tell.

What I’m most focused on at this very moment is who you’ve become since you started this journey, what you’re walking away with on the inside. That’s what’s filling up my heart today and what I really really want you to know. It’s what’s giving me the greatest sense of pride.

To me, it’s all about your willing and ableness to discover your best self. How you’ve learned how to engage with all the people around you and still find your own unique place in this crazy world. It’s about the leaps of faith and risks you took by experimenting with things like majors and friendships and politics and social justice; and the pivots you made when you knew a direction didn’t feel right. It’s how you found that great big voice I knew was in there, how you learned to speak up for injustice and political awareness; even though our views weren’t always the same. Those are the big takeaways as far as I’m concerned and the reasons why I know you’re ready for what comes next. The journey you have been on these past 18 years hasn’t always been easy. On the contrary, it’s been stranger than any of us could have ever even imagined. You started it right before a hurricane was to make landfall and ended it in the middle of a pandemic. To call you, all of you,resilient would be an understatement of gigantic proportions. And yet somehow, in a world that often overwhelmed even the strongest of people, you dug down deep and found a fortitude that kept you moving forward.

So, as you get ready to walk the walk all I really want to do here is say thank you. Just thank you. Thanks for taking all these chances on yourself and believing that the sky is definitely the limit. Thank you for being willing to fall and fail and screw it all up before you got it right. Thank you for doing exactly what any parent hopes their kid does with this experience and letting me watch, even if it was from a distance. Now go do all the same stuff for the rest of your life.I love you to the 🌙moon 🌙 and 🌎back🌎.

Mom

Words of Wisdom (and somewhat cheesy quotes) to Dylan as he turns the big 2-5!

I am sure by now you would think I would have run out of things to tell you since I have already said SO MUCH but there are still so many lessons (so, so, so many) to be learned.

1. You’re A Quarter-Of-A-Century Years Old! (May as well get the cheesiness out of the way now.)If you had asked me how you’d feel about that phrase a few years ago I would have said that you’d find it exactly for what it is; just an overused line found in, just about, every birthday card out there. Today however, I think you might find it as still over rated but, definitely, true. While yes, you are now THAT old and THAT much time has passed and you might feel some anxiety creeping in about what you THOUGHT you would be doing by now and what you are ACTUALLY doing; it, by no means, indicates that it’s too late to do ANYTHING you set your mind to. Want to develop that app you’ve been talking about FOREVER? DO IT. Want to travel the world? (save YOUR money) and DO IT. It is NEVER EVER EVER too late to do and be anything you want to do and be. EVER.

2. Believe in yourself. Go ahead and roll your eyes… I know that it is so much easier said than done but it’s true. Nothing can happen if you dont believe that it can. Look back at all the things you have accomplished and all the memories you have made and let it all sink in. Maybe even smile for bit.. And if you have trouble doing that, then just look at the pics I attached. You’ve made amazing memories with your best friends, with us, and with Paige and figured out most of the basics of adulting -round of applause for getting (and using) your own health insurance- and give yourself a big pat on the back. Think back to all the nights you sat out there with your friends planning out this amazing life with so much confidence and certainty and not an ounce of doubt and then apply those feelings to everything you do from here on out.

3. Let sh$t go… Whether it’s your birthday or not, it’s always good to be reminded of what’s worth your time and energy. I know you have had some pretty heavy stress on your mind about certain things but don’t think about it until you HAVE to think about it. Trust me when I tell you that, more often than not, you’ll find yourself worrying about things that aren’t even necessarily going to happen or are just out of your control. Change your mindset on your 25th birthday and know that everything will happen the way that it should. Worrying will just add some unnecessary weight onto your shoulders. And while you might be able to handle a few extra pounds, your mom cannot.. and what worries you, worries me.. so stop it! We deal with everything like we always have.. One. Day. At. A. Time… and, occasionally, with a little bit of alcohol (enjoy that bottle we sent you – in moderation, please)

.4. Just keep going… Whether you are where you want to be or not just keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep going. You can (and should) pause every now and then to take a look at your surroundings and take it all in; something I hope you do often, but once you’ve done that… KEEP MOVING. Whatever you want and wherever you want to go is right there in front of you.. as long as you don’t stop moving.

That’s it! Enjoy your special day, my baby! Mom and Dad love you so much and can’t wait to hear all about how you spend your day. Love you to the moon and back!

My Words of Wisdom to my 22 Year-Old Daughter

In my head, I know that you are 22 years old. In my heart, you are still, very much, my baby…

While I find it hard to come up with any TRUE Words of Wisdom for you because anyone who knows you knows YOU are WAY more mature than all of us put together there is just no way I can pass up the opportunity – one. last. time.

So here goes… my Words of Wisdom to Klarissa as she turns 22 years old (holy shit – even writing it hurts me).

1. No one but you knows what you truly need. Everyone needs people. Plain and simple. At different times of your life you will need someone; whether its us, your brothers, grandma(s) and grandpa(s), your aunts and uncles, your cousins, your friends, Bobby, or the lady at Kahns that knows exactly what you like to drink and what booth you prefer to sit in, but at the end of the day, YOU know yourself best. Try to do what is best for your health, your heart, your mind, and especially, your soul.

2. If 2020 has taught us anything its that things can change in a heartbeat. Use this year as a reminder to try and live in the moment. Whatever moment you may be in be as present as you possibly can. You just never know when things are going to change and that moment you were in will never be able to be brought back. Ever.

3. Find what it is you love and give it all you’ve got. Doesn’t matter what it is; if it brings you joy; do it. (although I still believe being a plastic surgeon will bring us ALL joy – or at the very least, make us LOOK like were joyful) but, in the end, it is and will always be YOUR decision. You are the writer of your own story. It’s your life; make it what you want.

4. Don’t take for granted all that you already have while searching for what you don’t. Never settle but also Appreciate EVERYTHING. I’m sure this one is hard to accept coming from me since the most common words in my vocabulary are “I want” but that in no way diminishes my gratitude for a beautiful sunrise, the sounds of seagulls, or a big bright moon. It’s taken me DECADES to come to this realization. Try and figure this out on your own way sooner than I did. I promise you; you will be so glad you did.

5. I would LOVE to tell you to take as many chances as you can (actually, I think I have before) and to never be afraid to speak your mind (although, lately that hasn’t really been an issue for you) but with this strange year we’ve had; I am starting to think that maybe it wouldn’t hurt to sit back and just listen – to everything – pay attention to it all, let it all soak in. Give yourself some time to process, and then, when you have it figured it out (or even if you don’t but think you might) do as I mentioned in #3…

At the end of the day; this is YOUR life to live. Fill it with as much joy and love and kindness and excitement as you possibly can. And never, ever forget that mom and dad love you with every ounce of our being. I said it the day you were born and I have said it every day since then – the moment you made your way into this world you not only completed our family, you completed me.

Enjoy your day with your friends, my baby. I cant wait to celebrate with you tomorrow! Love you to the moon and back again, mom and dad.

Words of Wisdom for my 27 yr old son

TWENTY SEVEN YEARS OLD! I am still in utter disbelief! I am the mother of a 27 year old! We were babies when we had you…. we had no idea what to do or if you/we would even survive the first night alone with us.. we did, just barely, but we did. Now here we are, 27 years later, probably not that much wiser than we were on this day all those years ago. We’ve all made our share of mistakes but I can tell you, without a shred of hesitation, you were (and continue to be) loved like no other.

I realized long ago that no “words of wisdom” from me were ever going to make a difference in your world. You have never had to be reminded to speak your truth or be the writer of your own book of life. Nope, not even once; you had that down since before you could even talk. But I am allowed one opportunity a year to say what I want to say without you making me delete it so there is no way In hell I am passing it up…

Derek, I know it seems like life is never going to be what you want it to be but you will have to trust me when I say; it will. Just TRY to adopt a few of these tidbits of knowledge I have learned over the years:1. Know what is important and what isn’t. While I admire your genuine animosity towards the decline of the Star Wars movies; at the end of the day, you have ZERO control over it.. Don’t let these things get to you. Let it slide right off your back like I do when I’m told I have the eating habits of a 12 year old. Remember what is TRULY important and what you can do about it and focus on THOSE things and those things only. Everything else is just noise.

2. CHOOSE patience, trust, and peace above everything else. Every day is what you make of it. Choosing these things will make that day so much easier to get through. Everyone is a product of their decisions, not a victim of their circumstances. Even Harry Potter..

3 Stop trying to figure out who is with you, against you, or doesn’t even care. If you have to question it; you probably already know the answer. Opinions are a dime a dozen, validation from anyone but yourself is completely unnecessary, and love isnt just a word but a way of life. Just because we don’t always agree doesn’t mean we love you any less. On the contrary; we wouldn’t even know what REAL love was if it wasn’t for you. The day you came into this world was the day I FELT true love. Just because we may disagree on certain things doesnt and will NEVER EVER EVER change that. Having you was the greatest, most scariest, most challenging day of my life; it was the day I learned what it was like to have my heart beat on the OUTSIDE of my body.

4. Everything is temporary. Moments, feelings, people, music, flowers; appreciate all of them while they are still here. You really don’t know what tomorrow may bring..

5. Most things come in twos: life and death, salt and pepper, pain and joy, Batman and Robin.. it’s called balance. Learn to balance everything in life. Learn what strangers to turn into friends and what friends may need to become strangers. Learn when it’s ok to be angry but, most importantly, learn when to let it go.

And lastly, focus on how far you have come and not how far you think you should be. You have done more in your 27 years than most people I know, including me. You have taken chances and lived more spontaneously than I sometimes wish you would but will always admire.

You know me and I could go on and on and on – I mean, I get this chance ONCE A YEAR – but I’m not. I am going to stop right there and remind you, once again, that you are, and will always be, my baby.

Happy Happy Birthday, Derek! Mom and dad love you to the moon and back!

Now go enjoy your day! I am going to sit here and wonder how the hell I am old enough to have a 27 YEAR old and how much longer I have to wait to become a grandma!

Words of Wisdom on my baby girls 21st Birthday!

TWENTY ONE YEARS OLD! How did that even happen? WHEN did it happen? Seems like just yesterday we were celebrating your high school graduation and I was coming to terms with the fact that you were LEAVING. Now THIS! If it wasn’t for the fact that you were so responsible and mature, I don’t think my heart could handle it. Lucky for me, you are. 

I clearly remember sitting at my desk writing my words for your brothers when they turned 21. Of course, it was all about laying low on the drinking (last week’s headaches proved they didn’t listen), cautioning them on the dangers of strip clubs (gross), telling them to trust their gut and run when things seemed “shady”, and reminding them that the great freedom they had just stumbled upon came with enormous amounts of responsibility (not sure any of that sank in). None of that seems appropriate for you, though. On the contrary, my words for you are the complete opposite. 

For you, I have the following: 

• Let loose every now and then. It is not only acceptable, but encouraged, to have a RESPONSIBLE night out on the town. In this day and age there are no excuses for drinking and driving. CALL AN UBER. I will even pay for it. But promise me you will have a night filled with “vodka and regret” sometime soon. (And take pics, post on snapchat, and facetime me throughout the night as often as you can. I can even join you if you want, just sayin’). 
*And for those of you shocked that I am encouraging my daughter to have a night out, mind your business! You clearly do not know me or my kid.*

• Make time for Family – Stay connected to your brothers as much as possible. Yes, they’re annoying but they will become less so as the years go on. Promise.

• Don’t let one person become who you live for- if you do, make sure that one person is YOU. Learn to love yourself as unconditionally as you will love the children you will one day have. There is no feeling quite like it. This I can assure you of. 

• Don’t over analyze your thoughts or anyone else’s. No one’s opinion of you matters that much, not even mine. Trust your gut as often as possible but feel free to ignore it every now and then, too. There is no ONE decision that will ruin your life forever. I am living proof of this.

• Find your passion and stick to it. Doesn’t matter what it is. If you love it, it’s ALWAYS the right thing to do. Having lots of money may make paying the bills a lot easier to do but it won’t help getting out of bed each and every day any better. Do what you love, everything else will work itself out.

• You are not defined by your job title, relationship status, or bank account. You are your experiences.

• Gain those experiences by Travel. Go to as many magical places as you can but learn to appreciate coming home just as much.

• Write your feelings down. Any time I feel overwhelmed or confused, I write. Somehow it all makes sense on paper. (A little surpise on this topic is on its way to you now.)

• Be grateful for at least one thing every morning- you’ll be surprised how much this can set you up to have a beautiful day. And then write about that, too.. (see how this is all tying together..)

• Never assume, always ask questions- even the ones that make you feel uncomfortable; those are the ones that will teach you the most.

• Hold on to people that bring you love & joy, and once these people no longer do, know that it’s okay to let them go.

• Never be afraid to come to me with any of your problems and I promise to always listen and never judge- all I ask is that you do the same for others, me included.

• Listen to your mother. I speak from experience. Not because I have followed all of the advice I have given but because I WISH I had. 

• And most importantly, even when you can’t understand how or why, believe me when I tell you that life will always go on… and I will always be right there if you need me. 

Oh, my love, you have reached those wonderfully selfish years; the ones filled with so much adventure and curiosity. Embrace each and every moment of it. Even the ones that turn out to be mistakes of colossal proportions. I promise you, with every fiber of my being, that I will ALWAYS be right there beside you; cheering you on, picking you up, and reminding you how truly loved you are. 

Have an AMAZING day, my baby! Mommy loves you to the moon and back. Always have. Always will.

Words of Wisdom for Dylan’s 24th Birthday

On November 30th, 24 years ago, I became a mother for the second time. 

There’s no denying 24 is a strange time in ones life; I know it was for me. And although you don’t have two kids like I did (thank God) I’m guessing you’re finding yourself in this state as well. Trust me, I get it. 

My guess is that you’re finding yourself in that “in between” stage. The one in which You’re definitely an adult, with all of the rights and responsibilities of one, but you still have the energy and mindset of a teenager. 

This certainly isn’t 20 when you’re “almost” legal, or 21 when you’re “really legal” and ordering a drink at dinner (or anytime actually) is not only allowed but perfectly acceptable. 

You’re not 22 when you finally graduated college and got your dream job (or what you thought was your dream job), or 23 when you quit that job to find something better. It’s freakin’ 24!!! 

In my usual fashion, here are the words of wisdom from someone who was once 24 and has been right where you’re at – only with two kids in tow. 

1. You’re getting older. And so are we. As are your grandparents. We’re not gonna be around forever. So as much as I admire this new found independence you have; PLEASE make some time for family too. 

2. You’ve probably reached a “zero effs given” mentality. Wanna pierce your nose? Do it. Want to shave your head? Go right ahead! Want to leave and backpack the world for six months. BYE. Just make sure you can still make rent next month. And that you’re health insurance is up to date. You know how accident prone you are.

3. It’s ok to use “I’m too old to be doing/saying/acting…..” as a reason to stop yourself from doing/acting/saying things you don’t want to or shouldn’t do. As much as you don’t want to admit it, you probably are. Maturity isn’t a bad thing. Now I’m not saying you’re super old and your youth isn’t something to hold onto as long as possible, I’m just saying whatever you do or say will probably be used against you in the future.. probably in a job interview for your REAL dream job. So think wisely about what you put out there for all the world to see. 

4. On that note, you might want to consider cutting back on some of the social media accounts and spend a tiny bit more time updating your LinkedIN. As ridiculous as this may sound, you’re just going to have to trust me on this one. 

5. While you now have a steady income and can probably afford to splurge; DON’T! Your credit is more important than ever. Refrain as much as you can. Credit cards are REALLY only for emergencies. And no, a night on the square a week before payday isn’t considered an emergency, but food and gas most certainly are. I speak from experience on this one.

6. Learn to balance you’re work and social life. There are times when calling in sick for a concert is not only acceptable but essential to your quality of life. The secret is knowing when. If you use up all your hours at ACL then accept the fact that Coachella isn’t gonna happen for you this year and that you’re probably going to have to go in even on the days you really do feel like crap. Don’t forget the financial part. Without that job, EVERYTHING is out. 

7. Appreciate the people in your life. All of them. Even the ones you wish weren’t there; certain Co- workers, your boss, etc. A few years from now you’ll realize what an important role they played in shaping who you became. 

8. While I’ve always admired the enormous amount of friends you have always had it might be time to weed some of them out. Between work and home responsibilities; a little me-time is more important than ever. If ALL of these people are so important to you that you just can’t fathom the thought of EVER turning one of them away, then learn how to prioritize your time. A REAL friend will understand.

That’s it! I do hope you enjoyed your day. It was really hard not to spend it with you but one of the things I need to accept is that your life is your own and your home isn’t with me anymore. I promise I’m trying… and I didn’t cry as long as I usually do so I think I’m finally becoming a grown up too! You’re welcome.😊❤️🎁

Mama loves you to the moon and back. Always have, always will.

Words of Wisdom as Klari begins her 3rd Yr as a Longhorn!

My klari left to begin her junior year in college the other day. As you can see by my “other day” comment she left with no fanfare, no major production, no one even shed a tear – not even me. She just packed up her car and left while I was at work with a promise to call when she got there. Reality is that she’s got this.. If anyone should be giving/getting advice here it’s her to me but my opportunity to share my famous (only to me) Words of Wisdom are just too important (again, only to me) to pass up so I will not let that happen… no way, not on my watch.

Therefore, in my usual fashion, here are my (not so famous but I mean every word of it) Words of Wisdom for the Klare Bear as she embarks upon her 3rd year as a Longhorn, living in Austin (near 6th street) while she’s only months away from turning 21.😬❤️❤️

So here goes:

1. It’s the beginning of the end.

I don’t mean to place pressure, but it is, sort of, the beginning of the end so you kinda sorta have to figure out what you want to do with your life. And when I say “kinda sorta”– I mean it. You don’t have to know EXACTLY what you want to do FOREVER but it’s time to start having some serious conversations about it. And while you know I am always here to talk I also know how “judgey” you accuse me of being, so I get it if you choose someone else to talk to. As long as you are talking it out, I don’t care with who. I mean, the fact that I spent 16 hours in labor giving you life isn’t that big of a deal and I will only cry for a little while…

If you do choose to talk to someone who isn’t me but instead with someone who seems to have it all together and has every day planned out from here to eternity; I totally get it. But keep one thing in mind; that doesn’t have to be you. (Actually, I hope it isn’t.) There are very few people that actually know EXACLTY what they want to do with the REST OF THEIR LIVES – and I mean VERY FEW – so don’t panic. You still have time. And trust me when I tell you that you are not alone in this. LOTS of people in your situation are right there with you so don’t be scared or even disappointed but instead try something just a little bit crazy, something out of the box. Remember what I tell you; finding out what you don’t want is never a waste of time as it only brings you one step closer to figuring out what you DO want.

2. Sh$t’s about to get REAL.

Your courses are only going to get harder but also, a lot more interesting….but harder. So start that work earlier, stay ahead of the game and you will be so much better off and a lot less stressed. This is the year that you will probably start seeing a lot more writing and research of concepts, which means there is probably no wrong answer. BUT, this type of work will require you to actually dig deep into, not your brain, but your soul. And you, my baby, have one of the purest souls I know. Use it. Write about your visions and your interpretations. This is UT for goodness sake; use some of that weird stuff they so openly embrace and pour everything you have into it. I assure you; you will not go wrong with this approach. And if you do, you call your mama and I will go talk to that professor and show him how wrong he/she is! Unless he’s the hot one in which case, just nod and agree.. By this point, your professors have one job, aside from teaching the topic, of course, but mainly it’s to weed out the ones who can’t hang. And while I think you can totally hang, I suggest staying on top of things as much as you can.. I mean, why take chances? Unless of course, matty is on campus in which case you drop everything and run to find him. I really do not need to elaborate any further on this one.

3. The whole world does not rest on your shoulders.

There will be days it feels like it does but trust me when I tell you it does not. You are responsible for being your best you, that’s it. Study, try and learn something cool, and have fun. Everything will eventually fall into place, It always does… and that plastic surgeon route is ALWAYS an option (zero pressure on my end – though I did give you life and sacrificed A LOT of purses to make sure you had the latest and greatest laptop and everything else you needed.. just sayin’).

4. Don’t forget that your life isn’t confined to school.

Use this year to discover what you love. Not just academically or professionally but personally too… In a few months you will be turning 21 and a whole other world is going to open up (did someone say Vegas?). So if hanging out in your apt in sweatpants is more enjoyable than actually GOING OUT then you keep hanging in them.. But do, at least TRY to go outside of your comfort zone a few times this year and find out what it really is that you find joy in doing.. you never know, it might be something you never even saw coming.

Bottom line; you have already completed TWO WHOLE YEARS! And while this one might be a little different, it’s also going to be one of the greatest! Make the most of it. Learn from the mistakes, recalibrate when necessary, and move on. One foot in front of the other.. just like I taught you.

You’re going to get through it and, no matter what you do, it’s actually really hard to screw up your life COMPLETELY. I do believe I am living proof of this.

At the end of the day, mom and dad could not be more proud of you. You keep doing you… in whatever makes you happy – even ugly sweatpants.

Love you to the moon and back, my love! And Hook em’!

Twenty Five! You are TWENTY FIVE YEARS OLD!.​

Twenty Five! You are TWENTY-FIVE YEARS OLD! Your dad and I were “children” ourselves when you were born, or at least we felt like it.

The day you were born was probably the scariest day of our lives. Parenthood started by me climbing out the window of your tia Minnie’s house. That, alone, should have been a clue as to the adventure that we were about to go on. One that continues until this very day.

We didn’t have a clue what we were doing, but there you were, eight pounds, eight ounces, and, probably the prettiest baby in the nursery (and I’m not just saying that because I’m your mother, it was true). We held you, we fed you, we slept at the foot of your bassinet until that thing could no longer hold you and fell so we had no choice but to put you in a crib that was on the other side of the room. You would think we had put you in another house the way your dad was carrying on, constantly getting up to check on you.. We weren’t perfect parents, not by a long shot, but we loved you as much as any two people could love another little soul. While we know we made a FEW mistakes, we’d like to think we did a pretty good job. Here you stand before us; one of the most strong-willed, compassionate, intelligent men I have ever known.
And yeah, you may be an adult already but there are still some things you need to know; so here goes: MOM’S WORDS OF WISDOM ON YOUR 25th BIRTHDAY

Everyone needs friends.

I get that you are an independent soul and prefer to have your time to do whatever you want, when you want- EVERYONE needs to have a small, handful of friends they can count on. Find that tribe.. and don’t ever let them go.

Write down your thoughts.

I know you think that we have ZERO things in common but we are much more alike than either one of us cares to admit. So I’m telling you now; write something every day. Even if it’s just what you did that day, write it down. Fears, song lyrics that struck a chord, things that made you smile, random thoughts that popped into your head out of nowhere – write them down. Look back on your notes every now and then and relish in the memory. You are going to have to just trust me on this one..

Family is important.

It still amazes me how different the three of you are from each other. As an only child, I didn’t really understand the dynamics between siblings until I had you guys. As much as I would love to say that we have raised all of you the same, who are we kidding? Not even close… But that’s only because each of you are your own unique person. We’re actually quite proud of your differences, knowing that each of you has a quality unlike the others, but at the end of the day, we are all FAMILY and being a family is so important. So as crazy as we may make you know that we are the only people that’ll support you no matter what. No matter how far away we are, how busy we may be, we, your family will always love you..
And even if you don’t agree that Michael Keaton was the best batman around, I still love you with all of my heart and I always will – whether you like it or not.

Your life is what you make of it.

Last, but not least, this is YOUR life, so make of it what you want! Be a lawyer, be a plumber, own a comic book store – doesn’t matter as long as you are happy with it. There is only one stipulation; if you’re gonna own a comic book store, it HAS to be as cool as the one in the Big Bang Theory, otherwise, be a lawyer.

I hope your day continues to be a great one and I hope your love of pancakes never, ever goes away!

Happy Happy Birthday, Derek. We Love you to the moon and back!

Holy Crap! You’re TWENTY!

Holy crap! YOU ARE TWENTY YEARS OLD! How did that happen? WHEN did it happen? Wasn’t it just the other day we were getting you ready for your first dance recital?

 

You have always been more mature and wiser than your years so there isn’t a whole lot for me to tell you. If I remember correctly, at this time I was telling the boys not to get too ahead of themselves, to slow down and enjoy the view, not to drink too much; you know, typical college student stuff. But that isn’t you at all. A part of me thanks GOD every single day for this and the other part wonders where the heck you came from because that clearly isn’t anything you learned from me or dad.

And yes, I desperately tried to refrain from sharing my annual Words of Wisdom but I failed miserably so the tradition continues…

MOM’S WORDS OF WISDOM ON YOUR 20TH BIRTHDAY

*Quality over quantity

Just like your brother you are so blessed to have a great group of friends that have been there through it all. Cherish them, love them, tolerate the growing pains you may all be suffering and get through them together; just like you have gotten through everything else.

*Self-care is key

Always make time for yourself. You can’t take care of all of your very important school obligations if you don’t take care of yourself first. This will apply when you get a job, have a husband and a house to run, have kids…. Whatever stage you may be in life ALWAYS make sure you leave a little “me time” in there and don’t EVER feel bad about it. EVER.

*Counting calories isn’t worth it

Being healthy is important but counting calories is just a waste of time and energy. Try and eat right, stay active, and you will be fine.. you managed to get through your first year and a half of college without adding an ounce; I think you’re safe..

*Makeup isn’t always necessary, but sometimes it is

You are beautiful inside and out (of course, I’m your mother so I’m sorta biased but whatever, it counts). You don’t always have to wear a ton of makeup. It’s ok to be natural.. SOMETIMES! There are times when you do. When you feel your best, you reflect the very best. Just make sure you take care of your skin.. don’t wait till your 40’s to figure that out like I did.

*Take risks

We never regret the risks we take, only the ones we didn’t. Sure, it could turn out to be a mistake of ginormous proportions, but oh well… life will go on… I promise.

*Follow your passions

You’re going to be in the workforce for quite a while so find something you’re passionate about. Go into a field you love no matter what the pay is. If you enjoy what you do, money won’t matter. I still believe you would LOVE the world of plastic surgery – just saying.

*Be open minded

We live in a diverse, ever-changing, always evolving world. Be open-minded about everything. Learn as much as you can from the people around you, especially the ones who think differently than you do. Appreciate the differences, don’t judge them.

*Pay attention to the political issues

Please don’t become one of those people who can speak of nothing other than politics but pay enough attention to the issues so that if/when you enter into that sort of conversation, you give an educated, well-informed opinion. And if you should come across someone who’s opinions are in complete contrast to yours (and you will) don’t be ugly about it… listen to their views, try and understand where they may be coming from, stand your ground, and vote your conscience. You don’t always have to agree with everyone’s opinions in order to remain friends but you do have to respect them.

While we may not be there to celebrate with you physically, know that our hearts are with you every second of every day; especially today.

Have an amazing day, my baby! Mom and Dad love you to the moon and back!

Words of Wisdom for Dylan’s 23rd Birthday

For the last several years I have provided my children my “words of wisdom” on every birthday, a tradition I promised them I would stop. All I can say is; “I tried.”

Dylan, 23 years old – I can’t even believe it. It seems like just yesterday we were sitting in your very messy room learning our colors. Luckily, you learned them because, here you are, a college graduate – about to enter “the real world”.

In my usual fashion, there are just a couple things I think you should know as you do so:

* Friends will come and friends will go.

You have been blessed to still have your oldest friends around. Cherish that; remind yourself often what a blessing that truly is. But don’t forget to make some room for new people along the way. Everyone comes into your life for one reason or another, being a real adult is, not only identifying the reason but figuring out which ones to walk away from.

* Always say yes to dessert

If I need to explain this to you then I clearly have not done my job as a parent.

* Who you were in high school isn’t really all that important

When I was in high school, I was told often to appreciate it because “those are the best years of your life” – and if I remember correctly, I told you the exact same thing. But let me tell you – that is SO NOT TRUE … the best year is the one you are in RIGHT NOW, and the one after that, and the one after that.. see where I am going with this?

* Others’ opinions of you don’t matter

Remember that Dr. Seuss quote; “those who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter” … well, Dr. Seuss is a freaking genius.

* Get off your phone

It’s ok to look up every now and then… that thing isn’t going anywhere… at least that’s what I’ve heard… (I need to work on this one too).

* Travel, travel, travel

The saying goes “when you’re young you have the time and energy to travel, but not enough money, and then when you get older you have enough money and time, but not enough energy” – so travel as often as you can while you still have that adventurous spirit and unlimited energy in you. The money will figure itself out… (it’s called points – use them!)

* Learn how to cook

Yes, I know I only know how to make a handful of dishes, no need to remind me, but this is EXACTLY why I tell you this.. Trust me, you don’t want to have to eat frozen dinners and canned ravioli the rest of your life. You should at least know the basics, but feel free to explore the cooking world, there’s so much to learn and Pinterest makes it look so easy!
BTW: I am willing to be a taste tester any time… all you gotta do is call. I can be there in 5 hours or less.

* Changing your mind is acceptable

From something as small as the shoes you want to wear or the movie you want to watch to something as important as the career you choose to follow; whatever it is, changing your mind is not only acceptable, it’s encouraged. Try it all – then decide – and then decide again if you feel the need.

* Don’t get too distracted.

Watch the video; you’ll see what I am talking about…

*You’re still our baby; I don’t care how old you are or you THINK you are; you are and will always be my baby – and there is NOTHING you can do about it.

I hope you had an AMAZING day… remember that we love you to the moon and back!