The build-up for the end of the world has been building for over the last year. Based on the end of one of the cycles in the ancient Mayan calendar, there are people who predict that Earth will cease to exist after Friday (12/21/2012.) So, here are the things I want all of my children to know… just in case:

Christina with Ryan (right) & Coleman at cub scouts in March 2002
  1. There is nothing I treasure more than you. Forget any frustrations, anger, disappointments. They’re just part of day-to-day living. Be secure in the fact that my love is with you regardless. 
  2. You are not perfect; nor am I. No one is. You don’t need to try for perfection, just doing your personal best. Be generous and forgiving of Yourself. 
  3. At the heart of all happiness is forgiveness. Resentment and bitterness only perpetuate unhappiness. 
  4. Trust is built by being trustworthy. When you demonstrate time after time that you are honorable, honest, and reliable, you create a foundation for trust. 
  5. The “Golden Rule” (treat others the way you would like to be treated) will serve you well throughout your life. 
  6. Don’t surrender to negativism, despair, or cynicism. Get help. There are people who love you (I’m at the top of the list) and will be there to support you with whatever you’re going through. 
  7. Be present. Listen carefully to what is being said (or unsaid) by others, rather than an internal monologue at the same time as when someone is speaking. Live life in the moment, rather than regretting or holding anger about the past or being anxious about the future. 
  8. Who we really are is our thoughts, words, and actions… they need to be congruent for true happiness. If you say you’ll do something, do it or renegotiate. If you’re thinking something different than what you say, your integrity is out of alignment. Hold yourself accountable to your promises and commitments. 
  9. When you make a mistake, acknowledge it, ask for forgiveness, and, if needed, atone for the failure. 
  10. You are responsible for being generous and loving in your close relationships with family and friends. Caring is shown by listening attentively, forgiving, having patience, granting dignity, showing interest in them and their endeavors, and consciously working towards being heartfully uplifting to them. 
  11. Choose to create your relationships through reconciling, being merciful and forgiving, being magnanimous, cooperating, easing tensions, being ethically persuasive and truly listening to others. When you are antagonistic, criticizing, tearing down, being petty, demoralizing, retreating from others to an internal dialog, or making meaning where it doesn’t exist, you damage both the relationship and yourself. 
  12. Be unique… there is no one else like you and your uniqueness makes you shine. At times, it’s a struggle to be accepted and it’s easier to try to fit in. Don’t give up your individuality… find people who accept and love you as you are. 
  13. Developing yourself as substantive person will give yourself freedom, happiness, satisfaction and peace of mind. Through becoming more worldly, learning to understand different viewpoints, developing marketable skills and cultivating interests, you’ll find your place in the sun, so to speak. Shallowness, immaturity, and ignorance will only lead to pain and needless suffering. 
  14. The primary place in my life that I expect perfection of myself is in my mothering. I suppose this is partially due to talking to myself over my disappointment that my marriage did not turn out successfully and the guilt I feel towards my children for this lack of providing them with the “perfect” (i.e. culturally accepted mean) family. Therefore, I strive to live up to my expectation of the perfect mother and consistently fall short. The times when I am closest to the ideal are when I am being the most autonomous—when I listen attentively, show compassion and interest, be empathetic and caring. However, I often feel my biggest regret in life will be the time I have missed with my children. (Refer back to #2- forgive yourself.) 
  15. Be empathetic. Put yourself in other people’s shoes. If you can’t understand and be compassionate to how someone else is thinking and feeling, you’re going to have difficulty with that relationship. 
  16. Don’t fear embarrassment! Yes, the feeling of heat sweeping over your body is uncomfortable, but it is fleeting. If you can free yourself from this fear, you’ll be willing to try more things and build a tolerance to the discomfort that accompanies embarrassing situations. Trying more things leads to being more substantive (see #13.) 
  17. Finally, don’t fear what you can’t change. So often we get ourselves worked up over imagined futures. Live your life to the fullest during the time you have. By the way, the world isn’t going to end on Friday. Just as our calendar ends on December 31 and it doesn’t mean that the world will cease to exist, the end date of the Mayan long-count period will just turn over to another long-count period. 

Well, if you haven’t checked out by now, know that I want the best for you. I have a deep longing for you to be happy in your life. I hope to always be a part of your life. Please be patient and forgiving with me when I make mistakes. All my love to you, Mom / Christina

I wrote this poem on June 24, 2001 and want to share it with you:

     Sweetly, sweetly, I gaze down upon your little head

     Nestled up to my breast

     I feel the love swell and know of nothing more precious.

     Tantrums, burgeoning independence,

     As you grow, we dance with closeness and pushing each other away

     Yet, I still feel the joy of just looking in your face.

     There are times that I struggle

     Times of disappointment, anger, worry-

     Yet not truly over you, my darlings.

     You’re growing so quickly – our time is so short

     How can I impart to you all that I wish – all that you’ll need?

     How can I be…?

Coleman and Ryan dressed up for “College Day” this year
Son David and his partner, Valori

Daughter Kayla (right) with her partner, Ryli