20 things to think about:
- Most new experiences will be hard and weird and interesting. Hang in there.
- Ask for help. Ask questions. Ask people their names.
- You are never too old to make new friends.
- Figure out what happiness looks and feels like to you. That way you’ll know it when you find it. And it makes it easier to remember it when you lose it sometimes.
- Never be afraid to say ‘this doesn’t feel right’ and stop as soon as it doesn’t. Don’t rush.
- Try not to put too much pressure on other people to give you the love you should be giving yourself.
- Everybody is just looking to feel cared for, in a way that feels right for them.
- It’s the people, it’s the people, it’s the people; be good to the ones that are good to you.
- Make art with your friends.
- Take road trips and flowers.
- Try not to show up empty handed and always offer to do the dishes.
- No one ever regrets buying quality.
- You can do literally anything for 15 minutes. Clean your bloody room already.
- Say sorry when you hurt a persons feelings. Even if you didn’t mean to or if you feel embarrassed because you did. You will be surprised how meaningful an apology, and changing your behaviour, can be.
- If you do the things you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.
- Spontaneous musical numbers are good for you. Put a little air behind it.
- Dance wherever and whenever it feels necessary. It’s good for you to remember your body in a joyful way.
- Remember your manners. Your Great-Grandmother always said they lubricated society…She also said to always flirt with the butcher…
- Everybody feels better after a cup of tea. Or a bath. Or a poo.
- It feels good to laugh.
Mae; you have the creepiest laugh I have ever heard, and a grin that could power a city. You crawl into bed with me still, some nights. Sleeping with your little foot pressed up to my ribs and stealing the blankets. When I am trying to talk to your brother, discussing the consequences of his actions, you roar in the background: ‘take him away, Mama! Take him away! You love animals and the garden. There’s a pit-dober-weiler that barks at us on our way to the dairy. ‘Be quiet, Puppy!’ You yell back at him. ‘Be a nice dog!’. You’re incredibly bossy, in a good natured way. You come with me to the grocer and take our fruit and vegetables up to the counter. I handed you some ginger recently. ‘Gabba had this when she had a cold! She cut it up and made tea to help her feel better!’, you told me with earnest urgency. You are wary of shopkeepers, or store assistants, other adults at Playcentre. You don’t like to be spoken to by people you don’t know. You can be slow to show affection, but once you decide you like someone you ask after them constantly, enquiring as to their state of wellbeing. You told me today that you were a super fairy. I am inclined to believe you.
Theo; this month you turned 4 years old and had a party that you didn’t want. ‘No friends’, you told me. ‘Just my family’. We had afternoon tea on the Sunday before your birthday with Gabba and Pappous and your avalanche of honorary Aunties and Uncles, but we weren’t allowed to call it a party. There were two cakes, as is our tradition. And you got a little daunted when they came out be-candled, as if their presence was what distinguished this gathering as something more. But you blew out the candles and said thank you and ate more cake than anybody. You don’t like to be the centre of attention, even though you so often command it. You love to listen to music through headphones and when I ask you to lower your voice when you’re telling me what you like about the song you’re hearing, you turn to me and yell ‘I’M NOT YELLING!’. You never stop talking. You ask questions from the moment you wake up until I sing you to sleep at night. The Nearness of You is your favourite song at bedtime. I imagine you dancing to it in the future with the person you love. They’ll be so lucky you do.
- (And one for luck:) Just be yourselves. There’s a reason that that piece of advice is so popular. It’s because it’s good. And you’re great.
I love you all the love,