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A Letter to the Class of 2013

Dear Class of 2013,

No, that’s not a typo. I realize that it’s 2012. I know you are still juniors. But I have some things to tell you and if I wait until next year, these things won’t be relevant anymore. If I wait until next year, this letter will be filled with statements that begin with “you should have” and “I hope you didn’t.” Next year, you will have plenty of people giving you advice. Next year, you’ll be sick of people telling you what they think.

So I’m writing you a message this year, before you are sick of hearing advice and while you still have one more year of high school ahead of you. While you still have a year to act on the things, I’m going to tell you.

Here it is:

Attend a School Event. 
Some of you have probably already done this. A million times. But some of you haven’t. Some of you are too cool to go to a football game because your school isn’t good at football. It doesn’t have to be a football game. Go to a chorus concert or a school play. Having trouble deciding what to go to? Go to something one of your friends is participating in. If you have a friend that devotes six out of seven days during the season to an activity, the least you could do is go watch her once. Years from now, your days in high school will be a blur. You probably won’t remember the ordinary everyday moments. But you will remember the time you saw your friend score the winning goal at his soccer game.

Thank a Teacher.
Chances are, by now, you’ve had one teacher that has made an impact on your life or at least your academic life. Let your teacher know. Write him a letter. Stop by her classroom and tell her in person. It’s different in college. You might have a professor that you really like, but there might be 80 other students in the class with you. There is a chance you’ll go four years without ever connecting to a professor like you connect with a high school teacher. High school teachers know your name–they know what sport or instrument you play. They had your older brother and will someday teach your younger sister. It’s different in college. High School teachers put in way more time than they are paid for and are often overlooked when it comes to praise. Go ahead and thank one. Thank them all. They will appreciate it far more than you realize.

Enjoy Your Weird Family Traditions.
Okay, so maybe it’s a little embarrassing that your dad makes everyone in the family listen to Jingle Dogs while decorating the Christmas tree. Maybe you hate the fact that every Super Bowl your mom insists you dress in the team colors of the team you are routing for. Do you want to know a sad truth? This is the last year you will have to do it. I know that doesn’t sound sad–it probably sounds awesome. When you graduate though, there is a good chance your parents will have to decorate the family tree without you. If you’re lucky, your roommate and you will agree on a small 2-foot fake tree that can fit on your dresser. When you are sharing two bags of chips with 20 other freshmen at your first college Super Bowl party, you’ll miss your mom’s homemade buffalo wings. Here’s another secret: there are weird family traditions in your house that you don’t even know about. Like the fact that your mom makes you say the high and low point of your day every night at dinner. No one is going to ask you that in college. So humor your mom for one more year. Answer with something more than “High point was hanging out with Chris” and ” Low point was taking my history test.”

Make Amends With That Friend.
I remember tensions were running high my senior year between my friends and I. Maybe we were stressed with college admissions and final grades, but I seem to remember a lot of bickering between us. I’m thankful that we never let that bickering get the best of us. I graduated with amazing friends. Though today most of them are merely Facebook friends, I don’t harbor any resentment for things said in high school. Apologize. Forgive. Do a little of both. Don’t let friendships go bad over a few harsh words said in the heat of the moment.

Don’t Stress Too Much.
This next year is going to be stressful at times. There will be college applications that will keep you up at night. There will be days of waiting for an email from your top choice school. You might receive great news. You might be accepted into your dream university. You might be offered a big scholarship. But you might receive bad news. The school you’ve been dreaming about since you were 7-years-old might reject you. You might have to attend your safety school. It’s going to be okay. No matter what life throws at you, you will survive. Lift that chin up. You have come too far to let this get you down. Despite the pressure you are feeling from your parents, they will still love you if you tried your best. I bet they’ll even love you if you didn’t try your best. They are your parents.  It’s their job to love you.

Celebrate Your Birthday With Your Family.
I get that you want to go out to dinner with your boyfriend for your birthday. I’m sure he’s awesome. He’ll probably even take you somewhere extra nice. But you need to tell him no. Go out another night and celebrate your birthday. Celebrate with your family this year. Depending on when your birthday falls, this could very well be the last time you celebrate your birthday with your family on your actual birthday. Family dinners will be replaced with a phone call and a card sent in the mail. If you’re lucky, your parents will figure out a way to deliver a cake to you in college, but it won’t be the same. You’ll miss the look on your parents’ face when they marvel how you’ve grown another year older. So this year, celebrate with them. They are the reason you have a birthday to begin with.

I don’t know what the future holds for you. But I do know this is your last year living at home. (Okay let’s be honest, we know that’s not true. In this economy, you’ll be right back under your parents’ roof when you graduate college. But it will be different.) This next year marks the final chapter of your childhood. Do me a favor, enjoy it. You’ll spend the rest of your life buying your own groceries, paying your own bills and making adult decisions.

People will tell you that these are the best years of your life. I think they are wrong. I think the year I married my soul mate was pretty awesome. The year I held my first child for the first time was pretty great too. The year I gave birth to twins was crazy, but still amazing.

But there is something about your childhood that you will always reflect on. Good or bad, your childhood is what has made you the person you are today. You don’t forget the moments that define you.

You have one more year. Make it a good one.

No pressure.

There Are No Socks in Heaven

Yesterday the thermometer in my minivan read 87 degrees. In case you are reading this blog months from now, I’d like to point out that yesterday was March 15. While I’m slightly concerned that this summer will bring days of 140-degree heat and fire raining from the sky, I was very excited to experience an 87-degree day in March. I was excited because it reminded me that it’s only a matter of time before winter is over for now and the warm weather will become the norm.

Why does the warmer weather excite me? Not for the reasons you think.

Warmer weather means my kids can wear sandals. When my kids are wearing sandals, do you know what they are not wearing? Socks. I hate socks. Jesus never actually said it, but I’m pretty sure there are no socks in heaven. He probably didn’t mention it because the people of His time weren’t really sock people. He probably saw how confused they were when He taught in parables and decided to skip the part about no socks in heaven. No need to confuse the disciples even more.

There are no socks in heaven because socks are the single most irritating clothing item ever invented. There is no way God is going to allow such things to be running amok in heaven.

My kids go through roughly 180 socks a day. If you are new to my blog, I am not Michelle Duggar. I do not have 19 kids. I have three kids. A more appropriate number of socks to dirty would be 6. But no, my kids use socks the way most people use tissues. Every time they return home from somewhere they take their socks off. When it’s time to leave the house again, the socks have gone missing. By the end of the day, they’ve worn a lot of socks.

I don’t need to mention that every time I do laundry I end up with more unmatched socks than matched socks. That’s to be expected in a house with three little ones, right? What scares me most is how their behavior has begun to rub off on me. Lately, I’m noticing more of my socks missing. My bounty of matched socks is diminishing. This wouldn’t bother me so much except that my husband’s socks remain perfectly matched 99.9% of the time. I don’t even think he tries to keep his socks together. I see him casually toss his socks in the hamper the same way I do and yet his socks stick together. It’s hard to not covet his perfectly matched socks.

That’s why the warmer weather is so wonderful. No more socks to wear and no more socks to covet. Don’t even get me started about how awesome it is that we don’t need to wear jackets anymore.  That’s a completely different blog post.

Stop Chasing Perfect

I’m currently reading a book called Quitter by Jon Acuff. I’m not done with it yet, so I’ll save the book report for another post. But there is one thing that he wrote that has haunted my thoughts for the past few weeks.

Stop chasing perfect.

Sometimes you read something and it so accurately speaks to your situation that you wonder if the writer was secretly spying on you when he wrote the words. That’s how I felt when I read the phrase stop chasing perfect.

You see, I’m very good at chasing Perfect. I mastered this skill at a young age. Because as a child, my definition of perfect was a report card filled with A’s. For 16 solid academic years I chased Perfect. Most years, I caught Perfect and I held it in my hands and gazed triumphantly at it with a smile. My parents hung Perfect on the refrigerator and gave me money for catching her (of course this ended when they realized that they were losing a lot of money and I would still chase Perfect even without the monetary incentive).

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Happy Birthday to My Favorite Set of Multiples!

I’ve spent all week trying to decide how to write this post.  I struggled with whether to make it one post or two.  It doesn’t seem fair that you would have to share your birthday post with your twin sibling, but it also didn’t seem fair  to post two posts on one day. But then I remembered how awesome the two of you are.  I remembered how you have had to share most everything from the moment you were born. It’s not always fair, but it’s the only life you’ve known.

To My Wonderful Baby A:
Do you know how amazing you are? You are so thoughtful and caring to those around you.  When your brother or sister get in trouble, you regularly apologize for them.

You are constantly wanting to run around and play, so when you ask to cuddle with me, my heart melts.

You are the most independent two-year-old I’ve ever known.  You literally potty trained yourself. Keep Reading…

When You Were Four

When you were four you were hilarious.

You picked up on conversations that your father and I thought were over your head.

You were obsessed with infinity though you couldn’t quite grasp whether it was a number or not.

You learned to spell your last name.

You learned your phone number.

You were really brave and didn’t cry when you got your flu shot. Keep Reading…

Peter Put His Wife WHERE?

The other night I was reading to my children from a book of Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes.  I know what you are thinking.  How very Norman Rockwell of us.  And for a while it was.  Until we got to the one about Peter the pumpkin eater.

I’d heard it before, it wasn’t new to me.  When you read from a book of Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes, you come across some that clearly never caught on. Maybe they just weren’t catchy enough.  Or perhaps they were filled with too many British references to be relevant in the United States. Keep Reading…

Rookie Santa Mistakes

I would have thought Santa would know better by now.  I mean, this Christmas was his fifth visit to our house.  We even had Peanut Brittle, our Elf on the Shelf, helping him keep tabs on the kids.  And yet he messed up big time. It’s as if he didn’t have a clue.

Parents of babies and toddlers, listen up. You are currently in the ‘Santa warm-up’ phase. Don’t waste these years.  Figure out your Santa grove now.  Scout out the best spots for hiding gifts.  Decide on whether Santa is going to wrap or not wrap his gifts.  This is your time to iron out all the kinks.  Because when your oldest child reaches age 4, you better be ready to bring your A game.  You might have gotten away with a few slips this year, but I can assure you that there is no room for error when dealing with a 4-year-old. Keep Reading…

Can We Call a Tim Tebow Truce?

Photo by Jeffrey Beall
Photo by Jeffrey Beall

I’m not a football fan.

Heck, I’m not even a sports fan.

But you don’t have to be an ESPN junkie to know about Tim Tebow.  He seems to be everywhere in the news.  If he doesn’t make the morning show, he’s on the evening news.  He’s a top story on any internet news site.  And if I had a dime for every Tim Tebow related social media comment I read, my Christmas shopping would be paid for by now.

The part that is confusing me is, why? Keep Reading…

Chasing Dreams

When I was little, I wanted to be a couch. Not a couch potato, an actual couch.

I remember the day my brother and I were standing outside and he asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I’m still not quite sure what came over me, but in that moment I could only think of items in my house.  Nothing seemed that exciting.  Until I thought of the couch.  A couch got to sit and watch TV all day.  In one of my most regretted statements of my life, I quickly responded “I want to be a couch.”  Big brothers don’t forget statements like that.  To this day, he teases me about my first career ambition. Keep Reading…

Talking With My Dad

There are some conversations with my parents that I will always remember because the content of the conversation was so memorable.  The day they told me they were getting a separation.  The morning my mom asked if I wanted to go buy a new car. The day they told me I couldn’t go to Japan like I had planned. The phone call when I told them I was engaged.  The two times I told them I was pregnant.  The conversation I had with each of them during my second pregnancy when I found out I was having twins.

Those conversations are memorable because the content was so important.

There are other conversations that seemed so common at the time, but years later when I look back on them, I realize how significant they really were. Specifically, I remember a conversation I had with my father. Keep Reading…