This post originally appeared on Man, Wife and Dog.
Unfortunately, I lost my mother to breast cancer at a very young age. I try to focus on my future rather than what wasn't in my past but sometimes I do wonder what it would have been like to grow up with her by my side, sharing her love and wisdom.
She was a woman who fell in love, married her college sweetheart and handled many of life's ups and downs -- including the dissolution of her own marriage -- with the utmost pride and grace. I'd give anything to know what advice she would have shared with me when I had my first heart wrenching, I-can't-go-to-school-ever-again high school crush. Or, the moment I met the man I knew I loved like no other. Would she have had any gems to whisper into my ear as I prepared to walk down the aisle on my wedding day? I've imagined many different versions of how the conversation would play out. My favorite is the one where she tells me to love fiercely and fearlessly with all my heart and to pour our faith in God and our efforts into our marriage. It's my favorite because although I don't yet have any kids, I know it's what I plan to tell my unborn daughter or son when the time comes. I know I'll be overjoyed to have the honor of being the one to introduce them to the world and to hold their hand as they learn all of life's biggest lessons -- especially the tough ones.
This is where the boys come in. My daughter will have lots of questions. I'm sure I won't have all the answers but I know exactly what messages I hope to convey.
I wrote this letter for my future daughter to read the day she's old enough to ask me about what I write on my blog...
Dear (Future) Daughter,
You're going to hear a lot of things about love and marriage before you're ready to understand them. That's okay. That's what you have me for, kid. There's more to tell and teach you than one letter could ever hold, but to kick off your lessons in Boys 101, here are a few things I need you to remember most and understand early:
1. Love is going to knock you down long before it ever helps you back up.
2. Not every man who says he loves you will mean it. In fact, most of them won't. But, when he really, really does, you'll feel it.
3. The first time you think you're in love, you probably aren't. (Sorry!)
4. If he doesn't know what he has, please don't wait around until he realizes it. You could be off living another life with a better guy by then.
5. Marry the man who loves you as much as he loves his mother. He knows the meaning of respect and the value of a woman.
6. If you don't respect yourself, he won't respect you -- period.
7. Sex can wait but one day (like when you're older and married, ok?) it will feel like the most important thing to you. It's not, so please handle it with care.
8. If your friend is notorious for dating jerks, she is not the one you should ever take advice from.
9. If he loves you he'll want the best for you -- even if it means he loses.
10. If he asks you to marry him and you feel any hesitation before you answer, say no. Marriage is a lifelong commitment you don't want to enter with uncertainty. Trust your gut.
Below, photos of Charli and her family: