18 Years Old! This is a big deal! Do you feel any different today than you did yesterday?
Time flies, as the saying goes. I remember how your Dad told me that he and your Mom were pregnant. He stopped by my house one afternoon, I thought to talk to your Grandpa, and as he followed me around the kitchen making small talk, our conversation went something like this...
YOUR DAD: You feeling okay, Mom?
ME: Yeah, I might be a little tired, but I feel okay. Why?
YOUR DAD: You're looking a little old.
ME: Gee, thanks, Mike, I feel better already.
YOUR DAD: Old enough to be a Grandmother.
Yes, I cried!
Your Dad was the child that made me a mother. You were the child that made me a grandmother. Those events are precious in my life.
The things I remember...
- When we lived in Vista on Pruett Drive, I had a kitchen drawer where I kept pans and utensils that could take whatever you could dish out. Every time you came to our house, you headed for that drawer and pulled everything out of it onto the kitchen floor. Banging a cake pan or small pot with a spoon was your favorite past time. You always loved music.
- Did you start talking the day you were born? I think so. And you've never stopped. You have talked non-stop about anything and everything!
- And you loved simplifying your words, i.e., Oklahoma became "Homa Homa," Hobby Lobby translated to "Lobby Lobby," and WalMart was "Mall Mart."
- You would talk constantly, even when you went to bed. Grandpa and I knew you had finally fallen asleep when you stopped talking.
- When you were about three or four, I remember a few days when your parents took a trip somewhere and Grandpa and I babysat while they were away. Your parents were supposed to return on your Dad's birthday and I took you shopping with me so we could plan something special for him when he returned. We bought the cake and stuff for his birthday dinner, but I thought decorations would be kind of fun, too. In the party aisle at WalMart, I asked you what you thought your Daddy would like and you looked over all the plates and cups and napkins, grabbed a package of plates in one hand and a package of cups in another and said, "Spiderman, Grandma. Daddy loves Spiderman." We bought Spiderman everything. It made your Dad smile.
- Fast forward to a little older, like nine or ten when Grandpa and I took you camping on the Carson River at Fort Churchill. You brought your bike. At dusk, you asked if you could go ride your bike on the road around the fort, we said yes and off you went. About 15 minutes later, you came back rather excited, huffing and puffing, because you had peddled so fast. Back so soon? we asked. You related the incident when you were riding your bike along the road and a cottontail rabbit ran across the road in front of you. As you stopped, a coyote ran across the road chasing the rabbit and you thought, I'm getting outa here!, and you peddled back to camp for fear the coyote would lose interest in the rabbit and come after you!
- Was that the same camping trip when Grandpa gave you permission to pee on the campfire to put it out? And you did.
- Then there was the trip to Disneyworld, Epcot and your obsession with the Japanese soda. By the way, we were wrong. We should have been patient enough to wait for you to go back to the Japanese pavilion and buy more soda. It was vacation!
- Swimming, cliff jumping and kneeboarding at Greers Ferry Lake.
And on and on...I couldn't possibly list every single memory.
And when you grew from an infant, to a toddler, to a little boy, to a teenager, I don't know why I just couldn't see beyond that, even though I had already raised two babies who became men. I think I will just chalk it up to being a Grandma thing and let it go at that.
But some things never change. Like life and living it. So here are 10 Rules for Living. I didn't write them, but I wish I had. No matter. They are still applicable.
- You have received a body. You may like it or hate it, but it will be yours for the entire period this time around.
- You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called "Life." Each day in this school you will have the opportunity to learn lessons. You may like the lessons or think them irrelevant or stupid.
- There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of trial and error, experimentation. The "failed" experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiment that ultimately "works."
- A lesson is repeated until it is learned. A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it, you can go on to the next lesson.
- Learning lessons does not end. There is no part of life that does not contain its lessons. If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned.
- "There" is no better than "here." When your "there" has become a "here" you will simply obtain another "there" that will, again, look better than "here."
- Others are merely mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects something you love or hate about yourself.
- What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours.
- The answers to life's questions lie inside you. All you need to do is look, listen, and trust.
- You will forget all this.
But, I didn't think that covered everything, so now here are a couple of my own.
- Take every opportunity to travel. You'll regret it later if you don't.
- You can do or be anything you desire, but no matter what you choose, it takes hard work.
- Always stand up for what you believe in. Just remember, you will probably get a lot of flack for it.
- There is nothing wrong with being nice. In fact, it often gets you further in this world than being mean and critical.
- Get outside of your comfort zone. Try new things, even if you don't think you will like it.
- Don't expect life to be fair. It never is, no matter how much you think it should be.
- Karma's a bitch. All that you do will come back to you, good and bad.
- You will find that most of the subjects you will study in college are useless, except for abnormal psychology, which you will mercilessly apply to dealing your family.
- But, always remember, life's too short not to laugh.
- Love without giving up who you are.
- Always remember where ever you go, whatever you do, you are loved and treasured by your family and you will always have a soft place to fall.
Happy 18th Birthday Zak!