Prudent Advice

My parents are givers of books (see yesterday's post). Just a few months after I had Viola, my mom gave me Prudent Advice by Jaime Morrison Curtis. A little hardcover all done up in tiffany blue and silhouette, it is one of my favorite books on motherhood. Ms. Curtis calls it "a collection of lessons of questionable importance to share with my daughter before we grow up." I don't suppose I can describe it (or motherhood in general) any better.

I am growing up right alongside my girls and so many of the lessons I hope to teach them, I am still learning myself. It is a beautiful, star shaped thing and this morning as they run around in their pajamas and spill cheerios from living room to bedroom and back again, I am so glad I am a part of it.

Some of my favorite pieces of Prudent Advice:

3. Don’t  underestimate your father’s ability to understand you.

Or any man’s for that matter. Set high expectations.

147. Don’t be afraid to use prodigious words.

Words are important and beautiful: so don’t dumb down your thoughts because you think people will regard you as pretentious. There is nothing wrong with big words. Just make sure you know what they mean.

187. A woman can run a country (not just be a princess).

See: Wu Zetian (China), Benazir Bhutto (Pakistan), Mary McAleese (Ireland), Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (Liberia), Angela Merkel (Germany), Golda Meir (Israel), Aung San Suu Kyi (Myanmar, Burma), Pratibha Patil (India), Gloria Arroya (Phillipines), Tarja Halonen (Finland), Michelle Bachelet (Chile), Helen Clark (New Zealand), Margaret Thatcher (Great Britain), Janet Jagan (Guyana).

208. Your sexuality is not a bargaining chip in the negotiation of life.

Don’t trade on it; it is something specifically and only yours to explore and enjoy with someone you love. If you treat it as anything more or anything less, you’re just gambling away your shot at true intimacy in pursuit of a false sense of self-worth.

381. Go ahead and frown if you need to. Your face won’t freeze that way.

426. Keep your eyes open during the scary parts.

If you close your eyes your imagination fills in the blanks; then it’s even more terrifying.

482. Doubt is a by-product of conviction.

You will waffle from confidence to confusion. Your faith in what you believe will be tested. You will wonder if you are on the right path and consider turning back. Know that, inevitably, a way forward appears. Use these moments of doubt to strengthen your purpose and gather your strength. Savor them.

Far, Far Away

Ray Bradbury died yesterday. Riley called me from work to tell me. After we hung up I cried into my bowl of Zany Froot Rings. (A grown woman crying into a bowl of off brand children's cereal. I know. Pathetic.)  On the face of it my reaction was ridiculous. Mr. Bradbury was ninety-one years old, he had been sick for some time and the love of his life had been gone since 2003.  I am sure that he was ready to move on. I am sure I will consider myself blessed beyond measure if I die having lived the life I wanted to live. I am sure there were ten things happening within 1000 feet of me that deserved my tears more than his passing.

And yet.

Ray Bradbury was the first person that taught me worlds could be spun out of words. Places full of wonder and fear and courage. Foreign lands and strange people that felt familiar and true. I spent a summer with him in Green Town, Illinois, laid in bed wide eyed and haunted by Cooger and Dark's Pandemonium Show, and learned that the human condition remains the same, even on far off Mars. I still visit his novels and short stories like old friends. We are comfortable together.

And now their creator is gone.

And all those worlds feel so much farther away.