Dear Lily June,
I once lived down the street from a church whose sign perpetually read “Spoiler Alert: Love Wins.” In reading the letters people have sent to you, I feel like I’ve seen that sign come to fruition, becoming more and more moved each time that strangers from across the country and even the world have taken to writing you well wishes for your birthday. And with a face like this, who wouldn’t want to wish you well?!
Of course, I also lived down the street from a Taco Casa whose sign randomly queried, “Who doesn’t love a camo hat?” So when trying to read the messages the universe is sending, you pays your money, and you takes your chances. In the meantime, I’ve put out a call to anyone (seriously! anyone!) who stumbles upon this blog to write you a letter for your upcoming first birthday on May 13. Below is the fifth of these I received, with my introduction to the fellow blogger who sent it.
According to Janey, Janey likes talking about Janey in the third person. According to Janey, Janey is a, and I quote, “snarky bitch.” According to Janey’s once upon a time computer screen background, a fifth of Jack can get you through any bad day working at a law office. And Janey would know. Janey’s had to take on the load, sometimes, of several Janeys, all working simultaneously, just to wipe the sweat off the original Janey’s brow as that Janey handles the additional stress like a wise-cracking pro.
Sometimes, what Janey has to say breaks my heart a little, like when Janey’s mother (in law?) suffers major medical setbacks, or when Janey shares a rare glimpse of her difficult childhood. Sometimes, what Janey has to say mends my heartbreaks, like when she posts cookie fortunes or cat-vacuuming memes or a list of jokes meant to boost the morale of the entire internet.
What keeps me coming back to Janey’s blog, Janey Does Blogging, is that, like the sign of a church or a Taco Casa, her words make me stop and think. What keeps me coming back to Janey’s blog is that she’s the kind of person who shares what she loves when she loves it, knitting the blogging community together with her reposts. What keeps me coming back to Janey’s blog is that with Janey, what you read is what you get.
Janey reads as real and as raw and as overwhelmed. Janey reads as snarky and witty and sassy and sensitive. When Janey does Blogging, Janey does Humaning. I like that I can hear the snappy laughter of the human behind behind the computer screen, whose face I can only imagine (though whose butt size I know quite a bit about!)
I don’t know, Lily June, if Janey is THE ONE who doesn’t love a camouflage hat. All’s I know is that, if she wrote about that kind of thing on her blog, she’d have me laughing as much as she had me pondering the meaning behind wearing them in the first place. So I give you a taste of her wit and her wonderment below in the letter she part borrowed, part tweaked, and part wrote for you all about how to live. And trust me, honey, she’s someone whose lessons you want to listen to.
Dear Lily June,
When your mama invited anyone (and everyone) to write you a birthday letter, I thought it was a brilliant idea. I started wondering what I would write – what would I want to read if I were a young girl growing up today? Hell, what would I have wanted to read back when I was growing up? Better yet, what would I have actually listened to back then? To be completely honest, I have no idea whether I would have listened to anyone or anything.
Hmm, where does that leave us? Back at square one, that’s where.
But then I remembered that a few years ago a blogger I follow posted a letter to her children for Mother’s Day. She invited her followers to use it, with or without revision for their own families. I loved that idea and tweaked it here and there to more aptly fit me. Why not take the revised version and build on it for your birthday? I thought. There was a lot of good stuff in there. So that’s what you’ll find here; a version tweaked a tiny bit more just for you. (Sorry, it is way long and you don’t have to read it all at one time. Or you can; I’m not the boss of you.)
First, this may seem obvious but you will always be your mother’s and father’s child. No matter how many birthdays you celebrate, they will always see you first as their little girl. That isn’t a bad thing. It means they will always be there for you, no matter what.
What most parents want is pretty simple really. They want their children to be happy. I don’t pretend to be an expert on happiness. Hell, I blog as my therapy because at times happiness eludes me. But I know some things about happiness.
Be a good person. This does NOT mean you aren’t already a good person. It only means keep it up. When you treat other people with kindness and dignity it comes back to you, warms you in ways nothing else can.
Work hard at everything you do, because life is too short not to give it everything you’ve got. I haven’t always done this and now I find myself occasionally regretting that choice, because it is a choice.
I want you to ask for help when you need it – because everyone needs help sometimes.
I want you to help others when they need it – because everyone needs help sometimes.
When you screw up, and you will–more than once–I want you to own it, because it’s the screw-ups that the make the victories sweeter. I know something about screw-ups; I’ve made my share of truly bad decisions. But I’m still here; still trying; still hoping for better.
I want you to know that even when your mom and dad are angry or disappointed with you, they will never stop loving you. Let me emphasize this point – YOUR PARENTS WILL NEVER, EVER STOP LOVING YOU. EVER.
Follow your passion – whatever that is, wherever it leads you. Find what you love and then find a way to do that, while realizing it might look different than you originally thought. That doesn’t mean you have to make a living doing what you love; I know that isn’t always possible (says the legal secretary who would much rather be a librarian but didn’t figure that out till recently). If you love something though, find a way to fit it into your life somewhere. If animals are what you love, volunteer at an animal shelter or a pet hospital. If art is your passion, find a community college which offers art classes.
I want you to know that you are flawed (we all are), AND you are extraordinary. There is no one else like you. Don’t forget that.
I want you to know love, and understand sometimes it means you will be hurt. Depending on when your mom gives this to you, you may already understand this. My real wish here (and that of your parents, too, I’m sure) is that you don’t let the possibility of hurt keep you from experiencing love.
I want you to relax, and don’t feel guilty about it. We all need a break now and then, you included.
I want you to know life can be brutally hard sometimes. You may or may not have experienced this. Do not let the difficult times keep you from hoping, from enjoying the pleasures that life offers. There is so much good in the world, embrace it, welcome it, and revel in it.
You deserve to be happy.
Janey of Janey Does Blogging
- By asenat29 – https://www.flickr.com/photos/72153088@N08/6510934443, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org