Brown-Wolf: An ode to my kids, and perhaps to yours (column)
Saying goodbye is hard to do.
No matter how much you prepare yourself — no one can truly anticipate being so damn sad. Grief flows its own river.
Like many, I’ve had significant loss — in addition to my grandparents, death took my two aunts, my dad, two brothers and a number of pets. I know how grief works. It grabs you, swallows you, spits you out and repeats until you crash and start to finally begin again.
This time, my loss is not so permanent; thus not so powerful. That said, good-byes are painful, and change is scary. My oldest child leaves for the University of Colorado this month, altering our family life forever. Ellie will be back, probably with a load of dirty laundry and a need for home cookin’, but she’s gone. Her place at the table will be vacant, her bed empty and her siblings lonely (Okay, maybe not all the time).
The happy news? She’s embarking on a grand adventure, starring herself. It won’t be long before my other two leave, too. I’m beyond proud of the people they’ve become and, yet, still sad.
To help me process and understand the tremendous change, I’ve written an ode to my kids, things I hope I’ve taught them. I’m sure I’ve messed up, forgotten things and have probably failed in some capacity. But that’s parenting. At least I made a list, outlining 25 things I want them to know. Who knows if they’ll heed the advice or grasp the full meaning, but I can hope.
I wish you a life of love and know that you are always loved by me
Find good company
Eat lots of fresh vegetables and don’t drink too much alcohol
Call me when you are hurting or happy — I’ll be there
Remember to breathe deeply and that it is enough
Brush your teeth
Be honest with yourself and with others
Know that life isn’t fair, but it is what you make it
Eat breakfast (more than a Starbucks’ latte, please)
Pay your debts (better yet, don’t have any)
Don’t post inappropriate pictures online
Take good risks (Don’t jump out a window, but do try a new activity/class)
Read for fun
Know that it is okay to let go
Don’t hold onto anger, guilt or resentment
See a doctor, an acupuncturist or a good healer when you are sick
Take your vitamins
Don’t leave a friend alone at a party
Don’t stay alone at a party
Trust your intuition
Meet many diverse people
Know this: I am forever grateful for the time we’ve lived together, arguments and all
Carrie Brown-Wolf lives in Silverthorne.
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