Now that Rosebud is two, Doc and I have been freaking out about a few things. Dating, getting her driver’s license, the wedding day, you know…totally irrational stuff. But that’s what birthdays do to parents (or maybe to everyone, I can’t remember being a normal, non-parent person). They make us look back at all of the days that added up to this moment while simultaneously looking ahead to all of the birthdays to come…that we hope will come. Birthdays are a mental landmark–days that we can point to and say “I was this person one time.”
But wait a minute–SHES ONLY TWO. I still have today. I still have tomorrow. And I can still teach her the things she needs to know for when she’s 12, and 16, and 28, and 40.
What about teaching her to laugh? I mean REALLY laugh–all the way up from her toes and bubbling out and bursting out. Until you can’t catch your breath and your stomach burns. And it can be as loud as you want.
I want her to know how to mow the lawn.
And I want Rosebud to know the value of a hard day’s work. And how good it feels to see something that your hands created. And what it means to sweat.
Always wear panty hose to an interview. Suntan–not nude.
I want Rose to know what it’s like to sit in a hot kitchen, while she breaks and cans green beans.
I want her to read the classics like Jane Austen and Little Women and Anne of Green Gables. I want her to see her own dreams and longings reflected in them and to know that some things like love and faith are universal.
I want her to be able to discuss intelligently things like politics and foreign affairs as well as who won the football game last Monday and the new draft picks for the Wildcats this season.
And if you ever fly somewhere, pick someone that looks lonely or interesting and sit next to them and then listen, really listen to their life stories. (But ignore this because airplanes are dangerous and I’m never letting you on one even when your 60.)
And to always look people in the eyes.
And I want Rosebud to know how to apologize.
And how to talk to people of every generation. It’s the ones with a little age on them that know the things.
And also, great civilizations were built on the backs of the people that make their bed everyday.
And always use men’s razors–they’re so much better.
I want her to appreciate good music and good antiques.
I want her to be competitive, but not an arrogant winner or a sore loser.
I want Rosebud to have pride but not to be carried by it.
Live in a dorm or a sorority house or somewhere with communal bathrooms at least once in your life. You learn a lot from the girl peeing in the stall next to you.
And please, if you play a sport and there’s someone better than you, cheer them on–and if there’s someone worse than you, help them out.
And also, watch Gone With the Wind at least once all the way through.
And even though we’re not morning people, try to wake up early and drink coffee while it’s still just you and the sun.
I want her to know sorrow so that she may know joy and tough times so she may recognize the good.
I want her to know that the most beautiful part of any person is a kind heart, an educated mind, and peaceful countenance.
And above all, I want her to know that there is more. So much more to this world and to this life. And to have the faith of a mustard seed, even when it’s hard.
Happy Birthday, Rosebud. Here we go.
Love and other drugs,
E. Hunter W.