Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Little Guide To Life

My birthday is next Tuesday. Election Day! If you want to give me a gift go vote and then let me know about it.

I love birthday cards. Especially the ones from my parents. The cards always arrive in the mail a few days early. I like the anticipation of walking to the end of my driveway and peering inside the mailbox. You see, I've spent most of my adult life living far away from my family. They are in Georgia and I'm always somewhere else. So the card from my parents is like the birthday hug I'd get upon waking up when I was a little girl.

My parents are older now, 81 and 79. My mother is the card buyer in the family but things have changed. She stopped driving earlier this year. It's a chore to go to the store for anything. I understand completely and still, I yearn for the past when she was energetic and demanding (read with a whisper - she's still demanding).

My loving parents

When I tacked last year's birthday card on my kitchen wall it was in honor of all the birthdays my parents helped to make special. Forty-six of them, to be exact. Also, this particular card had a message I wanted to remember and two handwritten notes penned at the bottom. When I'm feeling down I look to the left of my kitchen sink and take a moment to read the beautiful, pale green card.

A Little Guide To Life
for a lovely daughter on her birthday

Be good to yourself. 
There are some things everyone deserves -
Love, respect, time to recharge.
Never settle for less.

Seek out your dreams.
Start small. Take it as it comes.
Even a butterfuly has to inch along
before getting its wings.

Listen to your heart.
Trust your gut.
If the way seems unclear,
look within you.

Let your voice be heard.
You have a story to tell and opinions that count.
And a different to make.

Stay curious.
Take every opportunity to learn.
Knowledge is a gift.
It will take you places.

Hold on to what's important.
Let worries go.
No matter how you look at it,
some things just don't make sense.
The way you choose to carry on
is that really matters.

And when you make a list of what you want in life,
make another list of what you've got.
Be sure to start with all the things
that make you a beautiful person.
There are so many.

I can imagine my mother brushing her hand along the card display at the drugstore, choosing one with a cute picture of a puppy, reading it, and finding it lacking she puts it back in the rack. She scours the cards until her eyes land on this one particular pale green card. It speaks to her and it's filled with the important advice she wants to pass on to her

I know it makes her sad, too, that the time has most likely passed for endlessly pacing the card aisle at the CVS near her house. It was also very sad and frightful for her to be so far away from me while I was so very ill. She doesn't fly anymore, but her and my father's love came to me in cards, phone calls, and notes scribbled on little scraps of paper.

The card is signed...
Hope you have a good birthday.
Wish we could be there to enjoy it with you.
Remember how much I love you.
With my love as always,

Have a good birthday.
Hope to see y'all soon.
Take good care.
Love you,
Daddy Rabbit

Daddy Rabbit...that's a story for another time.

This card is my gift to you. Print it out on colorful paper. Draw roses, daisies, and curlycues to frame the words. Tack it to the wall where you can see it every day. Remember that all this is true for you, too. No matter what you are going through today, these sentiments remain to carry you through. Smile and feel the hug.


  1. My first thought when Michael got his diagnosis was that I needed to run to my mom's house, jump into the bed in her guest room, and pull the covers over my head. Unfortunately, though mom lives locally, she has severe health complications due to Diabetes. The very day we got our lousy news, she was hospitalized and spent the next month desperately trying to save her leg. There I was, wanting so badly to be "safe" with her again, and there was absolutely nothing she could do. I had to take control on both fronts--mom and Mike. He's bearing up through his treatment and Mom still (for now) has both limbs. But there's a lingering sting for me, this realization I will never stop being my mother's child. Not in her mind and not in my own. And it's sad because it is coupled with the knowledge that my mother cannot protect me from life's hard knocks, though we both really wish she could. So, great post, Lisa. Have a happy Halloween and a great birthday. And, whoopee, I've already voted!

    1. My mom has diabetes too. It's such a small world. Luckily, her extremities have not been effected. I wanted to tell my parents in person so it was two or three weeks after I got the diagnosis. When I saw her all I wanted to do was fall in her arms but she looked so frail and I knew I had to be strong for her.

      Happy Halloween to you to! Thanks for giving me a birthday gift. Whoopee! You voted!

  2. Lisa that was a beautiful post and I know a very special person I'm going to pass it on to. Going through cancer is a very sobering experience as I recently found out myself. So many of the things we took for granted are suddenly transformed to gifts.

    Be well.

  3. Morgan,

    I was so sorry to hear about this. It's especially difficult for me when I hear that people I know and care about have gotten this diagnosis. It's tough enough when it's someone I don't know particularly well. This is not something I'd wish on my worst enemy...not that I have one of those..:)

    I can't wait to see you again.



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