Four years ago a friend posted this wonderful Mother’s Day letter from Mary Carpenter on FB. I re-posted it on Tumblr 2 years ago, and I just might keep posting it in perpetuity because it boils down what I consider the essentials of raising children. I hope it’s noticeable that there is no mention of what kind of job or study they should pursue, nor any insinuation that their success on a field or on a stage or in a classroom will garner more love from me. All I want, and maybe you too, is that my sons are good people.
So today, in honor of the mother that gave me these lessons maybe not so explicitly but most definitely implicitly, I am sharing Ms. Carpenter’s words. It just might be the best thing I’ve ever read (with emphasis added by me).
What I Want for Mother’s Day
Mother’s Day is coming up, and I thought I should tell you what I want. This way there’s no guilty panic or last minute purchasing of flowers at the closest gas station. So, this is what I want, this year and every year after; it’s pretty simple really.
I want you to be a decent human being.
I want you to be who you are, but don’t be an asshole.
I want you to work hard at everything you do, because life is too short not to give it everything you’ve got.
I want you to ask for help when you need it.
I want you to help others when they need it.
I want you to learn how to cook, do your own laundry, pay your bills and know how to clean a bathroom.
When you screw up, and you will, more than once, I want you to own it, because it’s the screw-ups that make the victories sweeter.
I want you to travel, because the world is huge and you are one part of it.
I want you to know that even when we hate each other, I will never stop loving you.
I want you to play nicely with others.
I want you to feed your curiosity.
I want you to find a way to do what you love, and realize that that might look different than you originally thought.
I want you to respect every human being’s right to be who they are.
I want you to sometimes be more interested in someone else than in yourself.
I want you to know that you are flawed and you are extraordinary. There is no one else like you.
I want you to know that I would lay down my life for you in Lily Potter fashion any day of the week.
I want you to realize how lucky you are every once in awhile even if only for an instant.
I want you to know love, even if it means getting hurt.
I want you to relax and not feel guilty about it.
I want you to know life can be brutally hard sometimes.
I want you to know that you can choose happiness even when the dark side offers you cookies.
And I wouldn’t mind breakfast in bed.