My whole life I've raised kiddos. I'm the youngest of about 52 first cousins and by the time I came around, my oldest cousins were already married and having babies.
I got to be the resident babysitter and I took my job very seriously. I "raised" my little kiddos the way I was raised: with structure. We played and ate and did the chores and brushed our teeth and went to bed. My little kiddos were well behaved because God help them if they weren't. As they got older, they knew to ask before they did, come home when the street lights came on, and be respectful of their elders.
As I've gotten older, I've gone back and forth with myself about whether I wanted to have kids in the future or not. I finally decided that I did...with hesitation. With the way I'm watching kids grow up today and seeing what they value and hold important, I get more and more nervous. Things are not the same as they were when I was a kid.
Dear Future Kiddo,
You are so loved. You have so much potential and are absolutely capable of being whoever you want to be. May you always make decisions to the best of your ability and all of your mistakes lead you to arrive at your best. Please know that as much as I will love you, I will always be your mother but not your friend because you have enough friends, but you only have one mama.
I will make decisions for you that hurt my heart because I know they will make you a better person. I hope you know what it feels like to want for things, but never to need. I hope you build a lemonade stand and learn what it means to earn a dollar. I hope you're compassionate when it comes to others' feelings and I hope you learn to throw a punch. I hope you are so strong in your convictions that the devil himself couldn't shake you. I hope you learn to hustle because at 18, baby, you're on your own. I pray that you learn what it feels liked to be bullied and that experience teaches you never to be a bully. I hope you stand up for the little guy.
I hope you respect others and always remember that every boy is someone's son and every girl is someone's daughter. I pray that you are smart: not just through books but with common sense. I pray that you will fail and you will learn to handle failure with grace and resilience. I hope you don't make your junior high cheerleading squad or football team at least once. I hope that, as you grow, you have experiences that show you who your real friends are even if it hurts like hell. I hope you get your heart broken at least once. I hope you get in one fight and get one black eye. I hope you drink too much tequila and your hangover lasts 3 days. And then you vow to never, ever do that again. If for nothing else then to keep your mama sane.
I hope you call me every Sunday. I pray for days out on the ranch, learning to build fences and hunt rabbits just like I pray for days at the kitchen counter making flour tortillas. I hope that you're kind. I sincerely hope that your teenage years aren't too terrible, but if they are, I really, really hope you'll grow out of them. I hope you'll consider the timej you spend with your family a blessing. I hope you have to work a job that you hate so that you can appreciate a job that you love. I hope you know what it feels like to have to work extra hours because you don't have enough money to pay your bills...and I hope it teaches you how to budget your money. I hope you remember that even when your plate is full, you can get through it one bite at a time.
More than anything, I hope you're happy. I don't wish this for you blindly. There will certainly be ups and downs in your life. There will be days where nothing goes right and it feels like the end of the world. Let me assure you, it isn't. I hope you're happy in that your good days outweigh your bad. I hope that you're able to see the silver in every lining (your Grandma Nancy is so good at that) and that you realize that every set back is a set up for a come back. Lastly, I hope you know that, no matter the circumstance, come hell or high water, your mama will always stand in your corner. Because that's what my mama did for me and that's what I'll do for you.