Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Chanukah!

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Eight crazy nights (for the first candle)

Chanukah begins tonight, and my girls do not need any more of the kind of gifts that come with wrapping paper. They will be lovingly spoiled by their extended relatives, and don’t forget that one is two weeks past a birthday and the other is only five weeks from a birthday. So M and I aren’t buying them anything this holiday. M and I weren't buying them anything. That's been our past policy. But that M - did I ever tell you I married a real softie? He worried about the message the girls would interpret from receiving gifts from everyone except us. So we bought one small gift for each girl.

What is the point of blogging? What is the point of parenting, for that matter? I want to give my girls something. I want to give them so many things. Mostly, I want to teach them how to navigate this world.

So much of why I write here is for me. But always in my mind is that this ultimately is for them, that one day they’ll read through their lives from their mother’s perspective. With that weighty opportunity I’m giving them this Chanukah just words in the electronic world to serve as guideposts for the physical one.

Inspired in part by this and this, I’ll be posting eight strings of pearls of wisdom. Call them: wishes; dreams; instructions; hopes; nudges. Call them: admonitions; pontifications. Call them: Mama wants more than almost anything to be around forever for you; call them: just in case. Call them: I love fantasizing about the Future Yous, the Each of You. Call them: I hope those Yous are magnificent women. I want those Yous to be admirable women. I want to want Yous to be women I’d want for friends. Call them: these are the things I want to tell you, in case I ever forget to tell you. Call them: I love you, and this is my gift. Happy Chanukah.

1. Listening is an art. Be a good listener.

2. Start a conversation with the quiet one, with the shy one, with the lonely one, with the benchwarmer.

3. Remember people’s names.

4. Remember birthdays and anniversaries.
5. Call or send a note to let people know you’ve remembered their special days. They’ll feel loved, and happy.

6. Be strong.

7. Be compassionate.

8. Be generous.

9. Vote.

10. Remember your family history.
11. Know how you got here and why, and appreciate this country.
12. Contribute to society. Pin It

Sugar rush

So the lollipop comment clicked another comparison into place, one that had been forming but hadn't come to the front of my mind yet.

On our 4th wedding anniversary, when E was but a half-cooked wombling, M and I spent a celebratory long weekend on Smith Island, an isolated bump in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay. Smith Island is a car-free island. It has the tiniest and cutest post office I've ever seen. Its residents have a strong and unique dialect of speech. It has its own style of cake.

Smith Island cake (photo from link above).

I tell you this because I believe in cake, and in dessert in general. I believe in guardian angels, life on other planets, and stomach-to-uterus osmosis.

And I believe in bold graphic design. I have loved watching E learn how to write her letters not just for the pride of accomplishment but for the creativity she's applied. She fills her pages with 8.5" letters, with 11" words. Her As look like lollipops and her Es: she told me the E letter wasn't very silly with just three lines. So she made her Es silly. And now they look like:

They look like I'm craving some chocolate frosting.

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