Unsolicited advice is clearly never of value, but we mothers often have to give it. Even asked for advice is not often worth the words we utter… Like when Marnika, not sure what stage to call it, during middle school, started planning her school outfits at night. Never wanting to be classified in any clique, she dressed like a hippy girl one day and a Goth the next. But the night we always remember was when she masterfully managed down the staircase with the three-inch platform lace-up boots bought in Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco, black vinyl pants from the local vintage store that she had to lie down to zip, a non-descript tank-top that didn’t cover much, and a blond Marilyn wig…This evening she came into the living room as we sat reading from our Edna St. Vincent Millay collection. She stood straight shouldered and asked, “Too slutty?”
Perhaps because we were stunned we did not answer with a direct statement, but with a chorus of rhetorical bumbling, along the lines of, “Ah, well, what exactly were you shooting for?” Can’t say all our parenting moments were quite so ambiguous or had so much costuming to consider, but we do look back on that night and laugh. Not sure if she left in that outfit the next morning or not, because that part of the memory is lost in swirling time, but somewhere along the way we learned a hard lesson with that one: let her find her own way…eventually we even figured the same could be applied to all three children.
Today as I drove home from a full day at work I scrolled down my favorite contacts list and left a quick voice message for each of my three grown children. Yes, they are grown, all graduated from college and moved away, but still children to me. One did pick up, not that I expected her to mid-work day and all, so I quickly let her to know I loved her, had a good day myself, and was looking forward to our Thanksgiving visit. The two boys got a similar message.
Just let them know they’re loved. No advice if you can help it. Let them know this whenever you can, cause let’s face it, it’s a rough world out there and everyone needs some unconditional love to make it through. For us mothers that comes pretty easily. And while you’re giving them some love, let them know that passion is what will matter at the end of the day, not money, or position, but doing what their passion dictates. You might not want to let them know this if they’re still in middle school spending their evenings plotting their wardrobe, but then again you might. It just might lead them into some crazy career filled with fabric and fashion and fittings…and perhaps, just perhaps loving life.