A Bit of Advice

Last summer, I watched my oldest child graduate and move out. Now, before I’ve even had time to catch my breath, I’m preparing to watch her brother follow in her footsteps, and it’s a lot harder than I expected it to be.

Sure, this one was my baby for ten years before their youngest brother was born. And he was my “difficult” child, the one who had me pulling out my hair and threatening to sell him on ebay by the time he was in second grade. We had a lot of rough years getting to this point, and it’s breaking my heart to realize that I have to let him go just as I’m finally starting to understand him.

But even more than that, there is the realization that I am also waving good-bye to all of the kids that are graduating with mine. I’ve watched some of them grow up from pre-school or even earlier; when so many of them tower over me or speak in deep baritones, it seems impossible that I once held them on my lap or dried their tears.

I wish I knew the right words to say, the right wisdom to impart to all of them. I wish I knew the secret of life so I could tell them all what to do to make everything turn out just right.

I guess what I’m really trying to say is . . . .

. . . sometimes it’s okay to ask for help.

. . . it’s all right if you hate Shakespeare.

. . . try a peanut-butter-and-dill-pickle sandwich at least once in your life.

. . . every once in a while, do something that scares the hell out of you. However —

. . . stop doing dangerous things that scare the hell out of your mother. Seriously, our hearts can’t take it.

. . . go ahead and cry.

. . . be nice to someone who doesn’t deserve it.

. . . forgive someone who doesn’t deserve it.

. . . eat dessert first once in a while.

. . . wait to say “I love you” but don’t wait too long.

. . . don’t mix peppermint Schnapps with pizza. Trust me on this one.

. . . give three sincere compliments every single day.

. . . let it go, whatever “it” is that’s hurting you.

. . . don’t be afraid to make the first move.

. . . understand that life is not going to turn out exactly the way you expect, and accept that it’s going to be amazing anyway.

. . . call your grandparents more often.

. . . read Slaughterhouse Five.

. . . don’t be afraid to say good-bye. Not everyone is meant to be in your life forever.

. . . find something beautiful about yourself every day.

. . . know that life is not a competition and you don’t always have to win.

. . . take the high road whenever possible.

. . . read a banned book at least once in your life.

. . . remember that there’s more to life than what you see on the internet.

And last, but definitely not least . . . .

. . .forgive yourself once in a while. You deserve it. 


This is a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence is “What I’m really trying to say is …” Hosted by Kristi of Finding NineeMardra Sikora, and  Vidya Sury .



Author: A.J. Goode

I am a romance novelist, single mother of three, and a high school lunchlady. To be completely honest, I have no idea which of those jobs is the most rewarding and which is the biggest challenge. I love them all. I write romance novels about the kind of people who might pass me on the street every day. My characters are often hurting in some way, and need to learn to trust others in order to heal themselves. I also blog about trying to focus on writing, and about my day-to-day experiences in small-town America. I write about life. The good, the bad, and the just plain odd.

25 thoughts on “A Bit of Advice”

  1. ” . . . it’s breaking my heart to realize that I have to let him go just as I’m finally starting to understand him.” It broke my heart just to read that. I just know that’s exactly how I’m going to feel when my oldest flies off. I’ve got a few more years, but posts like this just get me like a dagger, because I just can’t imagine the letting go. Wonderful advice for your son!


    1. Thank you! I really expected to be more emotional last year when my oldest graduated. This is my second child, and you’d think I’d be calmer this time around. But no, I’m a wreck already, and we’re not even halfway through his senior year.


  2. Such a great post! Except for the part that says, It’s okay to hate Shakespeare, because that’s my last name 🙂 haha no really, beautiful words.


    1. I love Shakespeare, too! my son is studying Hamlet right now, and we had a long conversation about Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet, and Macbeth just this morning. He’s so stinking smart, and I love the fact that he reads the plays before forming his opinion. He’s reading one my favorite books right now, most likely so he can argue with me about it when he’s done.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Such gorgeous advice for your son and for all kids (for all humans, really, because as old as I am, I could use a reminder for many of these as well although I’m good on the no schnapps and pizza combo I think). Thanks so much for linking this up – I love it.


  4. This is good! I needed it. My six and three-year-olds just went to grandma’s house for the weekend, and the little one was crying that he wanted to stay.
    So now I’m crying.
    But laughing as I think about schnapps and pizza.


    1. Oh, it’s so hard when the little ones go away for the weekend! It gets easier as they get older, but the house still seems empty without them, even when they’re teenagers. Hope you can enjoy your weekend anyway — I’m sure they’ll have fun with their grandma.


  5. It truly is like you are losing a whole community when the last one moves away. All their friends and the friends parents, and the activities which brought you together gradually are no more a part of your life, unless you are connected through some organization or church. One always wonders about whether as a parent you’ve prepared them for those things, who knows what, that they will face. I love your list.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow! These are wonderful. So true how we say goodbye to ALL the kids we’ve known since preschool… not just our own. That really struck me. Thank you for sharing your words of wisdom here A.J.


    1. That’s one benefit of having a ten-year gap between those two and my youngest: by the time he’s ready to move out, one of the older ones will want to move back in! I’ll never have to be alone.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m terrified of this day. My kids are 2, 4 and 6 and I’m hearing it’s everyone’s favorite season. But we all know there’s a slow leak in their youth…fantastic life list. Putting this in my back pocket!


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