To my daughter

Wow, time flies. It’s very cliché, but it really seems like just a few days ago that you were a little girl and now you are a woman and graduating from high school, ready for the next chapter of your life. I am so proud of you, who you are now and who you will become as you continue your journey. I love your caring and compassionate heart, you think of others so often you sometimes forget to think of yourself. You love to learn and that will serve you well your whole life. You are aware of the problems of our world and want to change it. You can and you will make a difference. You are smart and intelligence and know the difference. Here are some lessons I hope you have learned and will take with you.

· You have such a chance to make a difference but you will never know how many people will hear your voice if you don’t speak up.

· We joke that boys are stupid, but we know they are just different. They aren’t ignoring the clutter in the living room, they don’t SEE it. Know when it matters to you and pick your fights accordingly. Dirty socks is not reason enough to break-up with someone.

· Know who your friends are and keep them close. Technology allows us to stay close in our hearts even if separated by geography.

· You can’t have your pudding if you don’t eat your meat and fat-bottomed girls make this rockin’ world go ‘round. Never forget that.

· Measure twice, cut once. This applies to more than just home improvement. Know when decisions and actions cannot be reversed and plan accordingly.

· Be able to talk your way in to or out of whatever is important to you.

· If Fruity Pebbles are good enough for breakfast, they are good enough for dinner.

· Don’t complain just to complain, have a reason and a resolution.

· Don’t whine about politics/government/etc unless you vote.

· Vote.

· Girlfriends and good bottle (or box) of cheap wine is often the only therapy you’ll need.

· Know how to change a tire and change your oil but know that it’s ok to have someone else do it.

· Don’t binge, it’s bad; be it alcohol, food, shopping or emotions.

· Respect yourself more than you respect anyone else in your life, and that includes me.

· Don’t keep score unless you’re playing an actual game. No one wins when you keep score in your relationships.

· Stilettos or lipstick can instantly make you feel better when you’re having a crap day.

· It’s wonderful to be fun, silly and spontaneous. Just be careful what pictures wind up on the internet. That stuff never dies.

· Google yourself a few times a year. See item above.

· Even with an apology words cannot be un-said. There is always some truth behind them. Know this if you are saying the words or hearing them.

· No one is more honest than a drunk, their guard is down, inhibitions gone. It is not an excuse to do anything, poor decisions are still poor decisions. Actions are still accountable.

· Let your doctor tell you if your ass is too big, not society. Healthy comes in many shapes and sizes.

· Know what jeans make your ass look awesome and buy a dozen pairs.

· Listen to your gut. Jobs. Cars. Houses. Marriage.

· Doubt is a powerful thing. Know when it’s nerves and when it’s justified.

· Being feminine is a strength, not a weakness.

· Push the boundaries of your comfort zones. But know where the hard stop is.

· Walk in the rain, dance like no one is watching, do what makes you happy.

I am looking forward to the next phase of our relationship, where I get to be your friend. You are a pretty awesome person. I love you Jack.