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Things My Daughter Taught Me
by Amy Kenneley

This is a love letter to my daughter. I want her to know how much she has meant to me through the years, and how much I have learned from having her.

If you have a daughter, why not write a "love letter" to her, and reverse Mother's Day. You won't regret it!

Moms don't always know best, honey. You know the old joke about the first child being the practice baby? Well, it's true. You were it. I had read up on mothering, but that was like reading the instruction manual for riding a rocket ship. Nothing compares to the experience itself.

The very thing I did was to fall asleep with you in bed, and you rolled down the covers to the floor, both you and I peacefully slumbering. So you see, I didn't really drop you on your head, as your brothers teased.

Adventure is Fun

You walked so early, and you have been journeying ever since. Remember how you waited for the milkman's truck so you could follow him to the next house and then return? You always came back reluctantly.

I thought it was me you didn't want to come back to, but later I realized it was you, longing for adventure. You always wanted to see the other side of the mountain, and you have. You taught me to want to see it, too.

Work on Your Friendships

A card, a surprise gift, a phone call, an email, a drop-in guest for overnight or weekend-you always seem to be open to finding and keeping friendships. Somehow you tuck away a notation about a person that produces a gift or a word that is "just right."

You taught me how to be open and welcoming-and I am really working on it, too!

Prioritize, Organize

"Some things aren't worth worrying about, others are. Keep a day-planner handy and a cell phone or blackberry nearby and you can keep what's worth worrying about on the front burner and the "forgetaboutits" on the back burner."

I learned that from you, but my to-do lists are more often than not on little yellow Post-It notes. (I do number them, though.)

Organize

With a mother who had to find her car keys under a pile of dirty laundry before I could rush a sick child to the emergency room, you must have learned organization in self-defense. Remember when you organized my junk closet into neat boxes all marked with: Fabric Stuff, Vacation Stuff, Club Stuff? A final collection of oddments not worthy of identification went into a box you labeled "Stuff Stuff."

Slowly I learned what Great Grandma had tried to teach me long ago: a place for everything and everything in its place. Great Grandma told me the what, but you showed me the how.

The 15 minutes a day plan

"Why can't I ever finish my projects?" I complained to you one day. "I just don't have the time to spend on them." That's when you explained the Fifteen Minutes a Day Plan: If you spend only 15 minutes a day on a project, you will eventually get it finished.

Allotting a small amount of time on a daily basis to anything-spring cleaning, creative crafts, gardening, repairs, decorating-will guarantee that you will move along from point to point, and the finish line seems easier.

Thanks to you, I now ask myself: how long to straighten this drawer? Five minutes? I can do that! How long to write out that get-well card, stamp, address and mail it? 15 minutes? Piece o' cake.

Perseverance Beats Genius

Not everyone who aces the SATs succeeds. Sometimes the average guy or gal has a better idea, more get-up-and-go, more of something that escapes the geniuses. Maybe the smart kid has to work just a little harder to get past the SMARTER kid. Whatever the reason, genius alone won't catch your dreams.

You kept your head pointed to goals, even when you couldn't quite see what the goal was. You need to throw yourself into whatever you do with enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is catching. It stimulates others. You taught me to look past the obstacles and to keep plugging away.

"Go for it, Mom!"

Your zest for life is contagious. You always have a plan brewing. Fun doesn't just happen; it is a combination of thinking of a good event to have, plotting out the necessaries, and throwing in a surprise.

When I hesitate over a trip or a project, filling my objections with"what ifs?" you always say, "Go for it, Mom!" You see past my foot-dragging.

When I first made your Green Giants corduroy cheerleading skirt, I should have realized that you were always going to be a cheerleader. A cheerleader about life, a cheerleader about family.

That is why, for all the ways you taught me to be a mom, and a person, today I am cheering you!



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