Hey girls. I think of advice constantly for you three, but at all the wrong times. You know, while you’re asleep, or when I’m in traffic, or while I stand deep in thought at the urinal.
So, I’ll do what any reasonable dad in 2012 would do – I’ll write it as a blog post.
1. Love your team.
When you wear the same color shirt, you feel the bond. Team name on the front, your number on the back. All for one, one for all. Win together, lose together. Travel together. Eat snacks together. The same goes for your family. Your school. Your class. Your band. Your friends.
Teams change, but the team concept lasts forever.
2. Don’t eat the cookie dough. Too much.
Eat a little. I do it. Consider it a preview. A yummy one. Kind of a reward. You mixed it all up, right? Don’t worry about a little raw egg. Just make sure you don’t eat too much, love. It’ll feel right at the time, but trust me; the cookies won’t taste as good if you overindulge before they see the inside of the oven.
Don’t forget the ultimate goal.
3. While we’re in the kitchen: Check ingredients, read instructions.
Remember the triple-chocolate chip cookies? We made them on a school night, and I got so excited whipping up the butter and sugar that I didn’t notice I had to chill the dough for two hours. Read ahead first.
But even if the instructions say you can’t do it, you don’t have to listen, you know. Improvise. Were our cookies any less delicious? Be ready – willing – to change course.
4. Pace yourself.
Not just with cookies. I knew you’d already had a cookie when you asked for your ‘first’ one. I’m in favor of the second cookie. I’m also a proponent of spending the afternoon looking at clouds. Don’t believe in counting pizza slices at the buffet. Just take it slow.
It’s not a race. Drive the speed limit. What’s the rush? Eat each slice and really taste it. Of life, and pizza. Savor life, my loves.
5. Goof off. Often. Constantly.
In school. In Food Lion. In church. Yeah, in a church. Remember that picture of Jesus laughing? I think he has a sense of humor. You should too, always. When it seems all else evades you, this, you can hold onto.
Cartwheel on the frozen-food aisle. Race in shopping carts at Target. Play air guitar to AC/DC in my car. Do this. Goof off until you’re 96, at the very least.
6. Be kind to others and yourself.
You learned this in kindergarten. Elise, in your preschool days, “kids” and “friends” were synonymous. Just like the Sioux language, possibly. Try a little tenderness. Especially for yourself. In fact, I’m learning this one, from you.
When shots are made or missed, tests aced or failed, your smiles remain. Your inner peace, intact. Keep teaching me this.
7. Substance, over style.
We’ll remember the boys who spent more time bending their hair like Beckham’s than crafting their game like his. We know the boy in the car with the loud muffler probably doesn’t read Shakespeare.
No matter how long you crimp your hair, or what label is stuck in one’s clothes, it’s going to boil down to the core, isn’t it?
Seek and appreciate substance; more important, HAVE substance.
8. Think before you speak.
Ask a player who’s just been red-carded for cursing if they’d like to take the words back. In life, the red cards aren’t always so visible. Words are permanent: “I love you” or “I hate you,” or anything in between.
You can flatten out a crumpled piece of paper, even get it to look straight again, but it’s forever changed. Your words can have a lasting effect, too. Filter your words through your heart.
9. Pick your friends carefully.
Which families have the best dinners for sleepovers? Big-screen TVs? Pool access? Moms, who bake? It’s more than cupcakes, though. Who have dreams? Ambition? A kind soul? The reputation you bring to your friend becomes part of theirs.
So, too, does theirs, for you. Lead them to soccer practice. Or study hall. Or bible study. Don’t follow them to detention or a smoke break. Be aware of where you lead and are led.
10. Don’t give up on each other. Ever.
Things change in this world: NASCAR’s rules. The DOW. My favorite Hungry Howie’s pizza crust flavor. Some things do not: The loving tether that connects sisters. This world is dotted with forlorn siblings; don’t join them.
When I’m not there to see you through, you have a piece of me, and your mom, to turn to: Each other. When life brings the stiffest challenges, learn to lean on each other. Celebrate together too. Stay close to each other. Always.
That’s it. Now, I can get back to trying to fall asleep, or picking the fast lane or making small talk with the guy at the next stall. This advice, though, is permanent.
Well, it will be, as soon as I wash my hands.
I love you, loves.