This was written back when people used pay phones. And calls cost .10 cents.

November rots. Rots like the jack-o-lantern decomposing on my porch. Or as my 7-year-old daughter would say, it sucks eggs. I know I’m *supposed* to be all grateful and thankful for each and every particle of air I inhale like everyone else seems to be in November. But November brings out the spoiled brat in me, the me that wants to have a tantrum fitting a 2-year-old when they aren’t getting their way or want something, complete with throwing myself on the floor, pounding my fists and kicking my feet. My family has experienced great loss and trauma in November, and as rational and positive as I can be about the cycle of life, sometimes I care as much about being rational and in control of my emotions as I do about why oh WHY Jennifer Aniston isn’t married yet.

That being said, sometimes I come across an item or get a “sign” that reminds me the people we have lost, whose bodies are no longer here, are still with us in our memories and our hearts and in my case, in a house full of 40 years worth of their stuff. I was sorting through some of it over the weekend and I came across a piece of writing I completed in college. I went to college in 1990. No one had computers in their rooms. No one had phones in their rooms. We had a pay phone on each wing of our residence hall and we took turns calling our families on Sundays like convicts. There was BIG excitement when my roommate’s family gave her a word processor for her birthday. A *word processor*. So that is the context in which the following was written. If I had to guess, this was my Senior year in college, when I was a sociology major and all up in the grill of feminism because it was submitted for an assignment labeled “Girl Project.” I called it “My Mother’s Daughter”, and I share it here today because it’s some darned good advice, and because sharing my Mom with others makes the fact that I can’t pick up the phone to talk to her right now to hear her voice rot a tiny bit less.

My Mother’s Daughter

Always keep a dime in your pocket in case you need to call me. There’s safety in numbers and remember to leave me a note when you leave so I know where you are. Go at your own pace, don’t let anyone push you around. Throw plates against the trees in the back yard when you are mad; never discuss anything when you are angry. Don’t take trips down memory lane by yourself. If you really love it you should have it, if that’s what you really want to do then you need to do it. Do whatever you need to do in order to survive, make the best of a bad situation, don’t make promises you can’t keep, be ready to sacrifice yourself for someone else, protect your children. Take in strays, be prepared to be able to live independently, learn from experience, teach by example, use your best judgment. Let music give you goose bumps, grow flowers around your house. Celebrate difference, don’t grow up to be just like anyone else unless you want to. Appreciate the spiritual side of life, don’t hide your scars, never say good-bye, only see you later and always do wonderful things for people just because it’s wonderful and if you do there will be stars in your crown in Heaven.

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