#75 On Loving Villians

This isn’t so much a piece of advice, as it is something you (Karrigan) have taught me.

I love Disney movies. The vast array of lovable, hilarious, sometimes inappropriate, and often brutally honest characters that fill their movies leaves me intrigued every time. Karrigan, you love them too – but with a twist.

You, my sweet daughter, are in love with villains. Those of us who love you came to this realization slowly. It started with you quoting villains, singing their songs, and then continues with us having to repeatedly explain that you can’t act out the scene from The Lion King where Scar announces that he killed Mufasa while mock choking another child. Other parents don’t find that funny. For good reason.

You are the only child who watches the movie The Lorax and then proceeds to sing the 10 seconds of villain lines in the final song that go “Let it die, Let it die, Let it shrivel up and die…” in regards to a defenseless Truffula Tree  repeatedly or who sees Gaston parading around in chauvinistic glory and states enthusiastically, “I LIKE that guy!”

To say that this revelation left me a bit disturbed..is an understatement.

Then I began to study the villains in our movies. Some of them are downright hideous. They are sly, have self serving motives, and know how to raise a raucous. However, there is something else I noticed.

These characters are passionate. They are driven. They are focused. They are bold. They are perfectionists. They are emotional. They don’t change who they are because someone simply tells them they should. They are goal driven – and so my dear daughter..are you.

You have a passion that burns in you brighter than almost anyone I have ever met. You throw yourself fully into everything you do. Temper tantrums included.

Despite their off-kilter motives, their ruthless tactics, and their shenanigans..the villains you feel so drawn to have a lot of killer (pun intended) qualities. Things that I want my daughters to have. Skills that will push you ahead in life. Skills I’m proud that you can recognize in someone else, even when they aren’t designed to be the most lovable person in the world.

What I’ve learned is that you have an amazing ability to see past the bad (seeing past murder as in the case of Scar, might be a bit extreme) and into the good. To find the pieces of yourself that are hidden in others and to latch on to it.

You love the villains because you relate to their boldness, their extremes, their passion. Life will give you plenty of time to learn to hate them – and right now I’m just going to enjoy you sharing the love of some the brightest, show stealing characters in film.

Here is to the villains who have shown you what it means to passionately pursue a goal, to express emotions, and to live on the wild side.

(I would like to say that we both agree that Cruella D’Ville is plain crazy.)

Karrigan’s movie crush
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#66 On a day-to-day basis..keep the makeup simple!

Though I don’t even come close to wearing it every day — I love makeup. I think it is fun to apply and play with. As you grow I’m sure you will discover it to some extent as well.  My number one advice to you is that no matter how much makeup you have on, keep it simple. I understand that there are times where you might get a bit “edgier” — with purpose — but looking like this:

Photo from fork.com

Is rarely conducive to one’s professional development or every day life in general. You are young and you are beautiful. Use your make up to accent the features you have that you already love. Never use it as a way to cover up the beauty God gave you naturally. You won’t be wearing makeup for quite some time but when you do, make sure to take a moment to look in the mirror. Make sure that under that layer of lipstick or eye shadow that you still see YOU. If you ever come to me looking like a clown instead of my beautiful and fresh faced kid/young lady — I will be the first to let you know! Leave the clowns at the circus.

 

#44 Just Take The Picture!

I take hundreds of pictures. Without exaggeration. I am not a professional. Nobody is going to be paying your mom to take pictures any day soon–but I do it anyways.

Your father hates being in pictures–but I snap photos of him regardless.

Pictures tell a tale. They can tell it from many view points. Pictures mark history. Pictures keep our history rich and alive. Pictures remind us of what we love and what we value at any point in our lives. Take pictures and store them away. Make crafts from them. Hang them on your wall or share them with friends. Take pictures that you keep only for yourself. Take pictures of things you find beautiful and things you find ugly. Use pictures to mark life in brief moments.

There is a time and a place for professional photos. Thank heavens your father and I know two great photographers or else we might not have many of the beautiful portraits, the pictorial memory of your birth, and a great record of our wedding day like we do. However there are many times where it doesn’t matter what camera you have, what skill level you are, what you are wearing, or if your hair is done. What matters is that you take the picture. You capture the moment and you freeze it. Just like a song you truly love–a good picture is one you can look at over and over again and still have the same feelings you did in that moment of taking it.

I hope that some day you will look at the photos I take of you and your father together. That even though he hates having his picture taken–you two will get to sit together and reminisce about the memories you have created together that I do my best to capture. That you will blow the dust off the ones I printed or load the ancient files onto whatever device is hip at the time and share the moments–the memories–the day to day actions of your parents and yourself with your own children and maybe even grandchildren.

When I snap the photo and your dad ducks or uses you as a human shield from the forces within the camera I laugh and keep going–knowing that one day he will squeeze my hand as we turn the page in our album and say thanks for the memories.

Whatever you do darling, Just Take The Picture.

Your Dad and I playing Piano in 2006 When He Came to Visit me in Florida and I Knew he just might be The One.

#34 Chase Those Dreams

This advice is so…cliche. “Chase your dreams..” “Follow your heart..” ETC ETC ETC. However, I mean it. Run at your dreams head on and when you come to a wall in the way smash through it. If you don’t smash through it at least land on your back side (if you are at all like your  mom it has plenty of cushion) and bounce back up.

I battle with this piece of advice because sometimes I feel like I have let things get between me and my dreams. Usually it is a lack of confidence that gets in my way and then I logic myself out of taking the risk that is naturally involved with any dream chasing. However, before I sell myself short on this, I must say I reached my dreams of traveling abroad, going to college, finding the love of my life, and becoming a mom. However, part of me still feels hypocritical in this advice until I reach one major personal goal which involves my career. Thankfully I’m taking steps towards that goal and while I can’t go into a lot of details now, it has left me realizing how much I want you to achieve your dreams.

Dreams are bigger than goals. Dreams are the things you do because they make your heart and soul happy. Fulfilling dreams can give you elation beyond words.

You can have different dreams throughout your life. When I was younger my dream was simply to raise my very own puppy–which I did! Now it’s bigger things. I hope that you will share your dreams and aspirations with me as you grow. I hope you know that while I will support you in them, I cannot obtain them for you. You have to have the will and determination to reach your goals.

I promise that I will chase my dreams as long as I live, as long as you vow to do the same. This was me the day your father and I got engaged however I had no idea what was coming! I’m working hard right now to chase some dreams baby girl that involve kids laughing, hard work, and thundering hooves. I’m lucky to have support from your dad and a smile from you every step of the way!

#30 Take Care Of Your Feet

Yeah I know that sounds weird. This may also be advice that I am passing on to you from your Ba-Pa. He always reminds people how important our feet are, and when you stop to think about it–he is right!

Your feet walk you around, allow you to drive, allow you to stand and balance, allow you to horseback ride, snowboard, skip, stomp in muddy rain puddles and many other great things. They also tend to be very taken for-granted.

How do you take care of your feet? Well there are a lot of ways..

– Wear sturdy shoes (when you aren’t wearing the heels I previously mentioned). You need to wear shoes that are appropriate for the activity you are involved in. When I horseback ride I wear boots, if I go running I wear supportive tennis shoes, when I snow board I even have special boots to protect my feet and ankles! Shoes are important so its OK to spend a little extra money in that area to keep your feet well prepped!

-See a chiropractor. In my personal opinion Chiropractors are great. They keep my skeletal and nervous system lined up and ready to go. They can check to make sure that all the bones in my feet and ankles are in their proper places and function at their best.

– If you hurt your foot or ankle seek medical care and follow doctor’s orders. If the doctor says rest–REST. Don’t over do it.

– Get pedicures. The massage that many pedicurists give will support proper circulation to the legs and feet and who doesn’t love pretty toe nails?

Please realize that your feet are an important and over worked part of your body. Take care of them!

#29 Appreciate, Appreciate, Appreciate

Some day long from now it will hit you how truly lucky you are. You have food when you need it, clothes on your back, a roof over your head. Realize, oh young one, that this is not a luxury that all people have. I watched a video today that while at first made me laugh, on second thought it made me a bit sad. In the video you have children who have all of their needs being met who are a bit more than upset about not getting some of their wants. I understand that a large part of this is their natural child nature. It is the only way they know how to act. I also understand you may throw a similar fit some day. However, I hope to teach you to appreciate the things you have and make you realize that every gift–no matter big or small–should be appreciated.

Please have a laugh…and never let me record you getting this upset…

Jimmy Kimmel — Terrible Present

I guess part of me laughs at this because my grandma (your great grandma) gave me a porcelain teapot for easter when I was seven–and told me not to break it. She also gave me a pack of batteries for Christmas one year. On another occasion she gave me a 4 pack roll of film which would have been thoughtful considering I love photography. However, after wrapping the gift she realized she had no film and proceeded to unwrap the gift, take out one roll of film, and then repackage and wrap the whole box. I got 3 rolls out of a 4 pack for Christmas. All in all I think I handled it pretty well because truth is, no matter what she gave me as gifts, she was my grandma and I loved her.

Maybe I should just get you Christmas lights for for your gift this year…

 

 

#28 Know You Always Have A Home With Me

After you take advice #27 please know that you can always, always, always return home. Home might not always be the same physical place, and should we ever move out of our current tiny abode it might be awkward for the next owners if you showed up requesting to sleep in your old nursery. I believe though that home is anywhere filled with the love of those you consider family. No matter where life takes either of us, you will be able to call wherever I am home. You are always welcome by my side.

It doesn’t matter the circumstances under which you left home–good, bad, or somewhere in between. I can tell you RIGHT now that we won’t always get along, I won’t always like your choices or attitude, my rules may infuriate you, I WILL embarrass you more than once..but I will always love you and as a mother want to care for you.

Do I want you to grow up, spread your own wings, and create your own nest? You Bet! Especially since by that time your dad and I will hopefully be thinking of our own kid free adventures. I just want you to always live in the security that no matter how far you go, how bumpy the road, how high you climb, you can always return to me to find open arms and a place to call home.

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