A wonderful present

Sometime back I received a book “Prudent Advice – lessons for my baby daughter (a life list for every woman) by Jamie Morrison Curtis from a dear friend, Van. It’s a list of 500 lessons, observations and knowledge originally compiled for the author’s baby girl. I loved the idea of it.

Mother daughter relationships are most exceptional and can sometimes be a love hate relationship. I have made an interesting observation. Most daughters deeply admire and love their mothers but yet many daughters’ greatest fear (when they are younger) is that they will turn out like their mothers. But when they become mothers themselves, they suddenly see everything from their mothers’ perspectives and understand why their moms said the things they said or did the things they did.

Interestingly, although my mom is a typical Asian mom, she has taught me a lot of things which are stated in the book. Maybe this just goes to show that moms will always be moms, whatever background.

I’ve read a couple of quotes from the book today and these are a few of my favorites:

1) When something tragic happens to someone you care about, do not ignore them because you don’t know what to say. Just offer your support and listen.

2) A simple “No, thank you” is enough. This is something I am not good at, so I don’t know how to put it into words for you. I think women, and especially mothers, share this feeling of self-imposed pressure to perform no matter what is asked of them or to provide a rationale for declining. You will inevitably learn that you can’t give everything to everybody all the time, even if you want to. Whether it is your time, your work, your money, your energy, or your space, the only obligation you have when someone makes a request is to consider it thoughtfully and reply with honesty and kindness. Sometimes that means saying no, and if you can learn to say it without any excuses, reasons, or apologies, you will be a happy (and unique) woman. (I’m still working on this)

3) Resist the urge to chop your hair off. Short hair is completely adorable, my point is in the “urge to chop” part. Usually the impulse to chop your hair off is about wanting a change in your life that has morning to do with your hair. Then you wake up the next day and everything is exactly the same…except your hair. That’s when the tears start. (this has happened to me a few times)

4) Learn how to take a compliment. Gracefully. Although being self-deprecating can be humorous, a genuine compliment deserves a genuine thank-you. Brushing off a positive observation isn’t being humble, if speaks to an inner security. Brush off enough compliments and you’ll find you stop getting them. (this is something I’ve been working on… And improving on)

5) not everyone is going to like you, and that’s just fine. (i wish I understood this earlier).

6) have a firm handshake. The advice isn’t just for boys. No reason to be limp-wrist just because you’re female. (this is something my mom instilled in me since I understood the meaning of a handshake and to date, has served me well and remains one of the best pieces of advice my mom has given me)

7) I love you. Your grandmother, my mother asked that I share this with you here above all of her other gems. I can guarantee you, daughter, looking back on the relationship that she and I shared, that there will be times you just don’t believe it. But it is, and always will be, an absolutely unwavering certainty that I love you. (My mom has never told me this but I know it. A mom’s love is truly unconditional)

I should compile my own list one day.

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