It's time to give credit where credit is due.
I wouldn't be who I am today without the guidance of my parents.
I am their firstborn, and they had me as teenagers so they relied heavily on the guidance of my grandparents, and we, in a sense, grew up together.
My dad taught me how to throw a softball (and not 'like a girl'), ride a bike, and fish. I was quite the 'daddy tag-a-long' growing up.
My mom, she taught me how to fix my hair and put on make-up, and she taught me how to drive. I can still hear her saying Brakes, Casondra, BRAKES!!!!!, as I approached my very first stop sign in her old Cutlass Sierra. We stopped in time, but I think we may both have endured some whiplash. Ha. All is well, and I'm a good driver now.
My parents taught me that presence in your kids life is so very important. They never missed sporting events, or school plays, or anything that us kids were involved in. In fact, my dad worked a 3rd shift job, often getting way too little sleep, so that he could be involved in our lives.
My mother has always, always made a point to tell me how beautiful she thinks I am. Whether it was on picture day at school, before the several proms I attended, on a random photo I post on Facebook, or even just before I go out for the evening with friends.
My parents taught me manners. They taught me to 'say please and thank you.' And to help out people in need, even if I didn't have anything but my time to give.
They taught me that sometimes there a few things in life quite like the comfort of your parents. They've rubbed my back and head to calm me as a child when the weather would change and my asthma would flair its ugly face. They took turns standing beside my bed, rubbing my back as I labored through 26 hrs of back labor with my oldest daughter, and sat with me in my recovery room after I had to have an emergency c-section. They've sat with me in almost every triage room before all of the major surgeries I've had in my life, and held my hands as I've been poked and prodded with needles. My dad held me when I fell apart when the life-flight team took Bre.
They taught me about Jesus, and that as long as I rely on my faith, I can survive any difficult situation in my life.
They've also taught me a few invaluable lesson as of late.
They've taught me that regardless of circumstance and life choices, you love and SUPPORT YOUR children NO MATTER WHAT. And that the things I despise the most in this life are intolerance and hypocrisy.
So, without further ado, I hope to pass these life lessons on to my daughters.
I want to encourage my daughters to live. The way they want to. And that may mean that they are a homebody like me, or that they may be a world traveler. I will never make them feel guilty for wanting to spread their wings, follow their dreams, and be who they want to be, regardless of it is takes them hundreds or thousands of miles away from me. And regardless of if they live their life in a way that doesn't always align with what I think is best for them. It's their life and their happiness.
I want to let them make mistakes. I've been their age and I've had successes and failures. To not be that parent that says 'I told you so' or 'you were wrong' but to encourage them to get back out there and try again.
I make it a point to show my daughters affection. I truly believe that daughters mimic the compassion of their mother. We give a lot of hugs, have snuggle time, hold hands, give eskimo kisses, and say 'I love you' often.
Communication. Don't just talk.....LISTEN! I spend a lot of time talking to my girls. It's important to me that they understand the importance of not talking at, over, or down to anyone. We all have a voice, and our voices matter. Maybe not to everyone, but they do matter.
Be a mother. I hope that they understand the pure joy that comes from being a mother, and that one day they want to be mothers. That they understand that they will never have a better friend, confidant, and supporter.
To love and encourage others, instead of judging based off of differing of opinions or views. And to demand the same from the people they allow in their lives. Life is entirely too short and too precious to allow negativity in. That just because their views don't line up with someone else's doesn't give them the right to give unwarranted advice or criticisms, or throw stones. That just because they may not agree with someone else's choices doesn't mean they can't still show compassion.
That sometimes it is necessary to remove people (friends, acquaintances, and sometimes family) from your life. If someone is causing you more hurt than they are happiness, or if you've set boundaries for allowing them to be a part of your life and they blatantly disregard them, it is okay to severe your ties. Common bonds don't always mean a relationship should exist.
And lastly, I hope they always follow their heart in love. Sometimes things don't work out and they may get their hearts broken or break someone else's heart, but they deserve to be happy and have a partner that loves them with everything they have. And regardless of how they find that person, I will always, ALWAYS support them.