Dear Babies,

As you grow up the search for romantic love is going to be very appealing. I get it. It’s all over in movies and television and Valentine’s Day cards. Starting in about seventh grade, I “had a crush on every boy.” The butterflies in the stomach are fun and so are sparkly eyes and first dates and “I like you”s. However, there’s a lot of investment in someone that’s going to be gone from your life in a matter of months.

Cultivate friendships because these are some of the best, most selfless relationships. They want nothing more than to be your friend. They want to be with no sense of obligation. They choose you over and over even after they know what a weirdo you are.

Cultivate friendships because your friends are the ones to pick up the pieces when your romantic hopes don’t pan out.

Cultivate friendships because it’s good to build relationships with people without expecting anything in return.

If you’re always chasing after love interests you’re going to miss all the wonderful people who are around you and ready to enrich your life. Let them in. Be good to them. Cherish them. If you do this you’ll never be lonely.

 

 

You might be looking at a situation thinking, “This will take a miracle.” And I want to remind you that we believe in miracles.

Dear Children,

It’s ok to be a polite dissenter. In fact, please, PLEASE, be a polite dissenter. I never realized that until this year of my life, actually.

I always assumed that if I deeply respected or loved someone I should obviously align myself to their views, tastes, politics, world-view, favorite Spice Girl, etc. Turns out, you can still be a friend to someone and a decent human being and still be a free-thinker.

I urge you to search your feelings, straight-up Darth Vader style, and ask yourself why some things might not be sitting right with you. Sometimes, sure, it could be pride; resisting something that is “right” or “true” simply because you’ve chosen it or it’s all you’ve ever known. But also, remember that quite often if it smells like a duck, quacks like a duck, eats your stale Wendy’s fries like a duck, then it’s probably a duck.

In recent years, if I find that popular opinion on an issue nags at me, I do my best to investigate until I’ve gotten to the very bottom of it, and often I will find that popular opinion is wrong and then I investigate why. Sometimes it’s flat-out wrong. Maybe it’s the empath in me (and oh boy, am I) but I find that life’s grey areas seem to draw me in, as I’m constantly trying to avoid the outrage of both sides, trying to get to the gooey center; the why.

I think for me it always comes down to knowing in my heart that God loves us all and doesn’t have a team. Sure, He wants evil to lose in the end, and would prefer it if we all weren’t doing evil things, but deep down in His heart, He just wants us, loves us and wants us to be good, good people. I assume this about God because it has been true of me as a mother, and seems to be true of my parents, and their parents, and their parents, forever and ever, amen.

Basically, assume that about everyone, assume that about God, assume that about the person who is aggravating the snot out of you with their ridiculous and sometimes even hate-filled social media posts. By the way, is there still social media where you are? If the apocalypse has already arrived and there is peace on earth, and the lamb and the lion are lying down together without any ire, please disregard.

I love you,

Mom
(Courtney Morrill)

Dear Daughter,

I can’t wait until you’re old enough to watch my favorite comedies with you. Some of my favorite memories are watching things my parents love with them. I’m sure I’ll annoyingly quote them as we’re watching and ruin the delivery of the actors for you.

I also hope you’ll share your favorite things with me. It’s okay if it’s too inappropriate. I made my mom watch Life of the Party with me and she was like, “That’s kind of inappropriate” after, but she also laughed while we were watching it. As moms we have to say stuff like that just so we seem like good moms. But that was one of my favorite moments with my mom. I think laughing with people is the best. I hope your life is full of laughter and I’ll do my best to make sure it is. We have to cry sometimes too, but it’s best to laugh as much as you can.

I’ll try to not show you too much inappropriate stuff before you’re ready. I hope you stay young and innocent as long as possible. I hope for a while we watch things and the jokes go over your head. I hope you don’t learn too many weird things from the kids at school. Just remember they’re probably idiots who don’t actually know what they’re talking about.

You can ask me about anything. Please do. It’ll be weird, but better if you hear stuff from me. My mom was a nurse and I learned way too much about my body from her, but I still wish I had asked more questions. I hope we have the kind of relationship where we can ask each other anything.