Lynn Anthony

As parents, we are never really ready to clear the path and allow baby birdie to take flight, whether you’re dropping your child at the first day of kindergarten or, in my case, dropping my 24-year baby birdie off at the University of Virginia.

After I pulled away, I thought of nearly a million things I should have said – things that I couldn’t leave unsaid – so I decided to write this note to my son, Evan, to continue to guide him as he works on his PhD so far from the watchful eye of Mother.

I compiled a list of things I know will be useful for him today, tomorrow and for the rest of his days.

Maybe you or some child you love can benefit from this advice: open your window; use your Brita pitcher; cut your hair; wash your sheets; introduce yourself to your neighbors; learn to identify some local flora and fauna; stand tall; be mindful of others when you play your music; drink more water; say “I love you” often –when you feel it; be yourself –you do it best; text your sister; call your mom; aspire to be a cat owner; wash your dishes; add less salt, then add more to taste; find three things each day to be grateful for; stay in touch with old friends; thank those who have helped you; recognize others’ – and your own –accomplishments; forgive; smell the roses; remember your grandparents; invest in good tennis shoes; don’t worry about what other people think; tip well; always, always, always be kind; text your sister again; call your mom again; support local artists; speak your truth; take out the trash every day; tell every dog he’s a “good boy” (because he is); carry an umbrella; tell her she’s beautiful; don’t leave a mess; acknowledge the good in your life; accept things you cannot change; change things you can; if you want to be loved, be lovable; call your mom; wear flip flops in the dorm shower; study hard; live passionately; visit local eateries; try new things; be fearless; remember you are loved; learn a new joke; hone your craft; be considerate in all ways; a goldfish is not a pet; never relocate a turtle – they live their entire lives within a mile of their own birthplace; everything is tastier fried, but do so in moderation; remember; change your socks; listen closely; eat more fruit; never touch an armadillo; call your mom.

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