Listen up, because I won’t always be around, and there are some very important things I need you to know before I wink out of time and into memory.
Remember that everything I’ll be doing for the rest of my time here, I’m doing for you and Sprout. I want you to be strong and beautiful and confident, to keep building that shelf of dream packages I’ve been working on the last decade or so. I have always had writing, and so will you. You will do so much more than I can see or even imagine. I believe that, I really do. There’s no sense in my ever having been if I can’t count on you to BE. And as for Sprout, that boy has saved my life many times, and he probably — no, definitely — will save yours. You keep teaching him to be strong and confident and brave and wonderful. I don’t know if I ever taught him those things, but he IS them, and you damn well make sure you’re there every day to remind him. Remind him too, how much we love him. How much we have always loved him. I don’t think children can ever hear that too much, especially teenagers.
Hey, you remember that shirt we won in a singing contest on the boardwalk? The No Fear one? It said, “I am not scared. I am not afraid. I am an animal, and I will eat you if I have to.” Maybe that’s not such a bad policy for you and me to follow, kiddo.
Don’t you ever hide from the world again. There’s so, so much to see, so much to learn from. Every piece of the universe is connected to some other piece. Life is a great big beautiful puzzle and don’t you ever stop trying to solve it.
Remember that the stars are there even when you can’t see them, and even if they go behind a cloud or something, they always come back.
Okay, because real love doesn’t die, there are some wounds even time can’t heal. You live with a hole in your heart that is never really filled. This is the ugliest truth life has to offer. But the most beautiful truth lies within it; that real love like that really exists, and that somewhere, someone loves you like that. And you love others like that, because I do, and well hot damn, that’s an amazing, wonderful thing about us.
Remember that there are no failures, only incentives to do better with what you are and what you have. I often forget that I can be pretty awesome sometimes. But don’t YOU ever forget. We deserve, at the very least, to believe in each other.
People always said I was strong, and I never saw it. Thought, in fact, that if I couldn’t FEEL strong, especially when I needed it most, then how could I possibly be? But kid, we ARE strong. We’re not just survivors. We’re fighters. We don’t just survive the monsters’ attacks; we fight them off and kill them. I could give you examples but the clearest, most irrefutable one is this: someday, you will be standing where I stood. Still standing. Remember, to the thinking world at large, that’s a pretty damn amazing feat.
Remember to drink a lot of water. It’s good for you.
Remember that in the end, it’s not the end. Whenever I’ve gone looking for an ending, I’ve found a new beginning. That’s how forever and ever works, no matter how mad and crazy that sounds. Always look forward — to something, to anything, the sunrise or sunset. It’s the start of something, and every moment we’re given a new start of anything, we ought to see it for the gift it is.
Remember the importance of comfortable shoes. Heels are sexy but sneakers will take us where we want to go.
Remember to spend more time zoning out thinking of good memories than bad ones. We only have so much time to think on this planet, so don’t waste it.
Lastly, remember me fondly, because my contribution to you, however flawed, was meant with the best of intentions, honestly and thoughtfully, loyally and kindly for so much as I was able. I would expect nothing less from you going forward. In fact, I suppose more.
I will always think of you as the very best part of me. Make me proud, babygirl. Make us both proud.