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Posts tagged ‘Advice’


Dear Loch,

I’ve recently become obsessed with a television series called Friday Night Lights. I’m a little late to the party as the entire series has already aired, pilot to finale, but I don’t think it makes a difference. It’s an incredibly engaging show with compelling acting and directing, with a camera style that lends an authenticity to the show that makes you feel like you’re really in the room with these people. I was particularly taken with a recent episode called “I think we should have sex” in which the 15 year old daughter of the main characters plans to have sex with her boyfriend and her mother finds out. Connie Britton’s performance is nothing short of amazing.  She is truly shaken by the idea that her daughter is thinking of this and she expresses her feelings with equal parts grace and fury. Though I think it’s different if you have a son rather than a daughter, in no short part to the double standard known to all, it’s still something I’ve found myself thinking a lot about since I saw that episode. Where do I stand on this? What’s my take?

Baby, I realize you’re 4, but they’ll come a day when you’re not, and all too soon this will become a thing, and it’s a thing worth talking about.

First of all let me say I honestly debated not writing on this subject because…well, gross. These pieces of advice are supposed to come in small doses in casual conversation, where you can nod and leave the room immediately after so no one feels uncomfortable. I want you to be able to come to me with any question, have me answer clearly and susintly without judgement, and allow you to go on your way with both the facts, and very limited awkwardness. I also don’t want you to think I’m promoting sex, because I’m not. It’s a big deal and something that shouldn’t be taken lightly. But the truth of the matter is, eventually you’re going to do it, and whether you’re in high school or college or beyond, I think young people get into the most trouble when no one talks about it. If you feel you’re ready (and quite frankly you’re over 16 – because before that, I’m sorry you’re just too damn young) then I want you to be prepared.

The thing is, have no problem talking about sex, but I know that talking to your parents about sex is pretty hideous, no matter how cool the parent. So, I’ll give you the rundown as I know it, and try to keep my personal antidotes to a bare minimum. You should never be embarrassed about sex. It’s not an embarrassing thing. It is, however, a private thing. A personal thing. A not-for-mass-consumption thing.

Ok, so, before you start doing it with other people (preferably one-on-one) you will do it alone. That’s good. It’s an important step. It’s totally normal and everyone does it. You can just tell us one day that you think you need a lock on your door and we’ll get it. No one wants that moment of discovery.

But when it really comes down to it, don’t rush into anything. Not just because adding sex to your life stops your childhood in it’s tracks, but because there are lots of other things you can do before you burden yourself with that responsibility. Don’t feel the need to speed things along or rush to an imaginary finish line. Kissing rocks. When I was a teenager I could literally kiss for hours. I miss that. Really, truly, miss it. The make out years are the best. And once you’re past kissing, there are still tons to things to do before sex. Back in the day we used to say “Everything but…” I remember Granny asking me once what that meant. I was like, “Uh, everything but…pause for her to get it, she didn’t…sigh, Sex. Everything but sex.”  Because once you’ve had sex, it’s always on the table, and you tend to rush right to it and forget about all the other awesome things you did before it was in the game. And I’m not talking about awesome things like playing sports and hanging with your friends. I’m talking about sexual things you do with a partner. I’m just saying, master one set of skills before moving to another. Trust me, women your whole life will thank you.

That’s the thing babe, for the most part, life is long. There will be plenty of time to explore. Plenty of opportunities. Don’t feel like, “I gotta just do it now. I might not get another chance.” There’ll always be another chance, and if you can wait till you’re really in love for sex, then wait. Your dad had sex for the first time at 16 with his long term girlfriend. I was 19 and with my first real boyfriend in University. Had I made different decisions with the boys I talked about in Regrets, I might have been in High School too. But the point is, we were both in relationships. Committed, long term relationships and that’s what I’d advise for you.

Listen, you can have great sex with someone you feel nothing for – mostly because you’re uninhibited and don’t really care what they think – but it doesn’t feel so great after. Try and find someone you really like and trust, so you aren’t self conscious and you want to hang out with them the next day. I’m not saying never have a one night stand or hook up with someone just for fun.  I’m just saying don’t make it a habit. It’s like junk food. Great in moderation but mostly you want to fill your life with healthy stuff that really feeds you.

As you edge your way into sex or sexual situations and experiences, here are some things I want you to know:

First and foremost, if you are having sex, you are using protection. Period. And that protection must be condoms. Unless they have created something that surpasses condoms in ability to prevent the spread of disease and avoid unwanted pregnancies by the time you’re dealing with this, you will be using condoms. Not sometimes. All. The. Time. It is your responsibility. You are in charge. When you’re in a relationship and you know that you’re both monogamous and disease free, then other forms of birth control can be considered appropriate. But NEVER, NEVER just forget. Never. I can’t stress this enough. Sex can be a lot of fun. But it comes with responsibility, and if you screw that up it goes from a good time to a bad time really fast.

I want you to know that porn girls are not real girls. They are naked actresses who are bleached and pumped and waxed within an inch of their lives. Don’t expect real girls to look or behave like that. I think girls today feel the need to perform much more to keep up appearances. Trust me, real sex can be awesome but it can also be pretty funny and sometimes pretty messy. Respect the real girl you’re with. Don’t make her feel she has to be a tanned, gumby doll to please you.

Threesomes are overrated. I’m not saying don’t do one. I’m just saying they aren’t customary. They’re a sexual blip that somehow has become mainstream. When did one partner become banal? Why are we fixated on making it wilder? Different? Crazier? Plain old sex can be plenty steamy. You don’t need to add another person to make it better. Sometimes it just makes it confusing.

Don’t keep anything you tape. All must be deleted. I promise this is excellent advice.

There will come a time when you stop sharing every detail with your friends. That’s normal. It usually coincides with your first real relationship. But until that point, talk about it if you can. That’s how you learn – by combining your, minimal, experiences. I’m not sure if guys talk like girls, but I am very grateful to my friends for all their insight. I never went into any sexual situation blind. I was taught how to do almost everything by my more experienced friends so I never felt like I was floundering. Just be sure not to brag or say anything that might embarrass your partner. Talk, just be classy about it.

Before you add a partner to the mix you might want to consider what used to be called maintenance, and is now referred to as “manscaping”. Take the time to clean up the business. I’m not talking about waxing or anything extreme, I’m just saying, keep everything neat and clean.

Speaking from the other side of the coin I can tell you this. Stay in shape. Cardio, strength, agility and general esthetics all help in this department. Be careful with stubble. It’s sharp and it hurts. Don’t be the guy with too much saliva. Keep your tongue in your mouth until you get to the lips. I remember kissing a very handsome boy in high school who literally had his tongue out of his mouth 2 feet before he got to me. It was all I could do not to lean away. Focus on other areas of the body rather than just the obvious. It’s annoying to have someone come at you with just one thing in mind. It’s going to happen. Don’t be desperate about it. Also, don’t hesitate. It’s a little like driving. If you’re going to change lanes, change lanes. If you’re going to kiss her, kiss her. Pay attention, so you can tell what’s working and take her cues, but don’t waffle or second guess yourself. Make your moves with deliberation. And don’t hook up with someone if you really want their friend. It’s mean and it makes people feel used.

Finally, be open to learning. To having someone teach you the ropes. Really pay attention. A guy I once knew told me he’d dated an older woman who’d taught him everything, and felt she done him a major favor. Whether it’s an older woman, or an open and vocal girlfriend, bother to learn. Be the guy who knows what he’s doing. I’m not understating it to say that guy is remembered long past the others.

Wash your sheets. Make your bed (it’s more appealing to get in to whether you’re alone or with someone else). Be clean. Use hand towels not kleenex. Get to know your own body so it doesn’t betray or embarrass you. Buy good underwear. And for God sake, have fun. Enjoy your youth. Respect your partners and stay healthy and child free.

I’m not ready to be a granny just yet.

xo your mom

Friendship: An Overview

Dear Lochie,

Friends are one of the most significant things you can have in your life. For many, friends are even more important than family. I’ve heard it said that “friends are the family you choose for yourself” and I believe that to be true. In many ways it’ll be even more applicable to you because you’re an only child. You have no peers genetically linked to you. I know there lots of siblings that don’t get along, but at the very least, I always saw siblings as a built-in ally, if not a best friend. Even if they don’t see eye to eye, for the most part, siblings have each others backs. From having someone to talk to in the back seat of the car to weathering the burden of aging parents, people with brothers and sisters aren’t alone. Whether the relationship is cultivated or not is up to the individual. My sickness robbed you of a sibling so your friends will be especially important to you.  Your dad and I will do all we can to make sure you aren’t lonely. As an only child myself I always had friends around. Granny and Granddad went out of their way to include my pals as much as possible. I went on a trip with a friend (or friends) every year in high school. Parties were often at our house and my girlfriends had an annual weekend at the cottage for almost a decade. My parents made a real effort to know my circle and to make sure to include them as much as possible. As a result my friends remain close to my family today. I’m hoping to cultivate that same environment for you. I just bought a new car and the question arose of why I would need a third row of seats when there only 3 people in our family. It’s for your friends. I want there always to be room for them in our lives. I want them to feel as welcome at our house as my group always was at mine.

My 16th Birthday at the cottage with my girls. I'm the moon face in the front.

Right now Dad and I are your best friends. You tell us everything and want to be with us as much as possible. And as much as my heart hurts to know it won’t always be like that, it’s an important step in growing up for your parents to be usurped by your friends in order of importance. So, knowing it’s coming (sniff) here’s my advice. I want you to have killer friends and the only way you get that is by being one yourself.

To make friends you have to do two things:

1, BE YOURSELF– you can’t make real friends without putting your real self out there. People have to know you to befriend you. Don’t change to try and fit in. If you have to change, those aren’t the right people for you. You don’t have to be the same as everyone – lots of friendships are based in similarities but solidified by differences – you just have to stay true to yourself and the right people will find you.

2, CARE WHO THE OTHER PERSON IS – When I was little granny tacked a piece of birch bark on my wall that said, “You can make more friends in 3 days by being genuinely interested in other people than you can in 3 years by trying to make other people genuinely interested in you.” Take the time to listen and really understand people.  You are incredibly interesting but so are others. I’ve alway been a devoted friend, but when I was younger I was preoccupied with how I was perceived. I wanted so much to be “cool”, to be “accepted”. That’s pretty normal teenage behavior – self absorption and the need to fit in – but it’s not something I’m particularly proud of. What I am proud of though, is that I had, and continue to have, great friends. I cared about them and they knew it. I hope they still do. I also took the opportunity to be friends with a number of different kinds of people and that was a smart choice.

Here’s the thing, I’ve always felt that cliques had a bad rap. Some people click. Others don’t.  Essentially a clique is just a group of people that get along better than others. It only is classified as a clique when the folks involved are “cool”. A bunch of kids that let’s say, love D&D, and hang out with each other exclusively would not be considered a clique and yet, technically, they are. I think cliques are only bad when others are excluded maliciously. Exclusion itself happens organically. People with similar interests tend to hang with each other. That’s just how it is.

23 years old. Our first friend's wedding. Same group of girls. I'm the head on the bride's shoulder.

You will, in all likelihood, end up in some sort of clique. You’re a boy so they’ll call it a “group”. Enjoy it. It’s nice being part of a pack. I myself was part of a group internally dubbed SITC (after a game played on the original 90210 called Skeletons in the Closet, not after the popular TV show that took over my early 20’s called Sex in the City, though that’s not so far off) To this day, those girls remain some of my closest friends. At this point we’re more like family than friends, our knowledge of each other is so deep. We accept each others shortcomings as fact and have a vernacular that only comes from 25 years of friendship. Our relationships within the group – who’s closer to whom, who drives who crazy, who we’re worried about – changes from year to year. It’s a constantly evolving relationship. So, if I were to say “don’t be cliquey” I’d be a hypocrite and, I think I’d be advising you wrong. If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in a crowd where you feel you belong – whether there are 3 of you or 13 – respect and cultivate those relationships. They can be a huge source of strength for you throughout your life. When I was diagnosed, the first person I called was one of my girls. The one I knew wouldn’t cry. I gave her the facts and she relayed them to the rest of the group. She had exactly the right attitude to keep me from breaking down. Once I’d learned to handle the idea of being sick, I could then talk to the others without tears. To this day I wear the Tiffany’s bracelet they got for me (coordinating in 3 separate countries) to let me know they were there. It makes my medical alert look much more tolerable.

29 years old. My Bachlorette. Same girls. C&W theme to lovingly mock my solitary love of country music.

There’s a real intrinsic value in being part of a group, should you be blessed enough to find a good one, but I would also advise you not to segregate or limit yourself to only those people. I was a  joiner. The member of lots of teams and clubs so I took full advantage of mixing it up in the friendship department. I also went to camp and some of my dearest friends are still from those summers. I’d encourage you to branch out. Try not to get too caught up in who’s cool or not cool. If you’re not traditionally cool don’t write off the cool kids and vice versa. There are so many interesting people out there. I have a number of friends who, at first glance, I have little in common with and yet we adore each other. Their perspective is different. Their humor is divine. They give me insight I wouldn’t otherwise have and I’m a better and more well rounded for having them in my life. But keep in mind, with friends in different circles it’s very important that you stay consistent. If you make an untraditional friend, remain his, or her, friend no matter the circumstance. Your friendship should not be contingent on environment.

Friendship is also not perfect. Like any good relationship, it has it’s ups and downs. When I started a new school in Grade 6, I was accepted right away by a girl who was, for all intents and purposes, the leader of the grade. She took me under her wing and introduced me to a whole new world. One day in late spring our group went to an event called May Fair (a small local fair with a BIG social element if you’re 11-17). I arrived at her house in flowered boxer shorts and a bright fushia t-shirt (1987, lest you judge) and all the other girls were wearing cut off jeans and white shirts. That may not sound like a big deal, but for the 10-year-old new girl it felt like the end of the world. When my friend realized my discomfort she immediately went upstairs and cut a pair of her jeans for me to wear. She cut her jeans for me. I have no idea what her parents thought, but I’ll never forget that kindness. 2 years later, that same friend and I had a falling out and she ostracized me. The power she had used to bring me in, she used to cast me out. I would talk and she would pretend she couldn’t hear me. What was worse is that the whole group went along with it. I fought and cried and rallied against it, to no avail. No one would talk to me. I was dead to them. (For the record, girls can be a lot tougher than boys in the mind game department – kinda glad you can avoid that)  So, I dried my tears and, for the second half of the year, I got another set of friends. There was talk of Granny and Granddad pulling me from the school because I was so miserable, but I knew that was the wrong choice. I had to learn, if not accept, how to deal with the problem, and getting new friends was the first step to that.

The thing is, once I accepted it, it mattered less and less, and eventually it didn’t really affect me anymore. People only have power over you if you let them. That’s a hard thing to see when you’re in the middle of something, but still a good thing to know in the back of your head. Friendship shouldn’t be hard just as love shouldn’t be pain. Sometimes you just gotta let go. As it turned out, once I was over it, it was over. In the summer between Grade 8 and 9, my old friend called to apologize for treating me so badly. It was a nice call to get. One I had dreamed about getting all fall, but by August mattered much less. When we got  back to school – High School – no one person seemed to have the power anymore. New girls came in and I met the person who would be my best friend and closest ally for the next 8 years. We too eventually had a falling out and coming back together. Life is like that. Don’t write off a friendship because of a fight. Sometimes you need time or space to grow. Sometimes it’s just over. That’s ok too. Not all friendships make it. Not all are supposed to.

For the record, that jean short cutting friend/Grade 8 nemesis is now your God Mother so…you just never know.

What I learned in that year though, is that you can’t put all your eggs in one basket. Friends can let you down. They can disappoint you. And though I ultimately ended up back with my old group, I knew I had to remain branched out. You might ask yourself, why did I go back? Why after being ignored by this group of girls for a year did I return to them? Why didn’t I continue to hang with the group that accepted me when I was an outcast?  I just think it was an organic swinging of the pendulum. I’m not sure if there’s a lesson to be gleaned from my experience other than to be open and kind to people always. Things have a way of working themselves out.

Now, because I made a lot of dear friends early, I have few close friends from University or Grad School. There were plenty of great people I hung out with, but as far as retaining those relationships long term, it didn’t really happen. My dance card was full. I have a couple great pals from my days in New York but I don’t get to see them enough. You might find the opposite. Your close friendships might occur after your childhood/teenage years. Your Dad lived all around the world as a kid so most of his tightest bonds (with a couple notable exceptions) are from his adult years. There’s something special about old friends – who know your family, where you come from and who you were – but there is also something exceptional about the friends you make as an adult, as the person you are, not the person you’re perceived to be. Adult friends are, in some ways, less complicated. As time goes by you make less friends because you need less friends. Friendship takes time and commitment and as adults we don’t have a lot of either. So if you connect with someone as a grown up  it’s really special. You’ve chosen that person because they truly add to your life. They accept you for the person you are without the shadow of the person you were.

Some of my closest "Adult" friends. We don't see each other nearly enough. Grown up schedules are a killer!

Finally, as I’ve said before in my letter about Technology, you live in a socially networked world. Please don’t judge yourself on the amount of friends or followers you have on line. In my opinion, no one needs 500 friends. It’s too much work. However, you can sometimes reconnect with or get to know people you wouldn’t have otherwise using technology. It’s a brave new world for that. Acquaintances I had earlier in life have become friends on line. Sometimes the get to know you phase is simpler without the pressure of getting together. It’s often easier to share your feelings in the cyber world within the protection of a well crafted email or note. I know things about people that I’m not sure they would have told me had we been speaking in person. You can be more open on line. Plus, you can edit what you’ve said before you send it, a luxury so many of us wish that we had in real conversations. Finally you can be friends with people who aren’t in your day to day life. I can retain my friendships with people all over the world by remaining part of their lives on line. So when we see each other it’s not like we lost track. We can just pick up where we left off. And isn’t that, in itself, the definition of a good friendship?

Choose your friends wisely. Don’t cultivate relationships with people who are petty or cruel. Remember, if you can’t trust someone it isn’t real. Be the kind of friend you’d like to have and let people know how much they mean to you. Be loyal and forgiving. Everyone wants to be liked and accepted and ultimately everyone makes mistakes. Find common ground and build on it. Because friendships will carry you through life. They will be the life raft to your drowning man and champagne that launches your boat.

Never underestimate the power of a true friend.

Your best friend always,

xo Mom


Dear Loch,

So, obviously you are a genetic make up of two very distinct people, and there are things that I hope you get from me and things I hope you inherit from your father. Looking at you now you definitely seem to be a nice blend of the two of us but here are my wishes:

Eyesight: I hope you get mine. I have been blessed all my life with perfect, nay, better than perfect vision. 25/20. Granny and Granddad both wore and continue to wear glasses, so genetically I dodged a bullet. Enter eyesight joke here. Your dad on the other hand has been wearing glasses since he was not much bigger than you. Every school picture till he was in the 9th Grade is in these huge Navy issued coke bottle glasses. He was adorable but, with his glasses, he looked…nerdy. Now there is nothing wrong with being nerdy, it’s one of your father’s best qualities, but there is no need for you to look that way. If it comes around that you have your father’s visual impairment then we will find the coolest glasses available, and when and if you want them, we’ll get you contacts. There is no 4 eyes world anymore. Glasses are hot. Your dad got new glasses last year and we’re referring to them as “geek chic” as everyone from Justin Beiber to Demi Moore is sporting them. Personally, I think he looks so sexy in them. Really.

Sexy dad is gross you say? Fine, but my point is glasses can be cool. Find a way to make a statement and have fun with it. Or, have the future equivalent of lasik and be done with it. Just own it.

Teeth: Mine.  No braces per say. I was missing a 12 year old molar in the top left of my mouth and they had to do some fancy, never-been-done-before surgery to pull my one and only wisdom tooth into it’s place (In dental text books, I’m kind of a big deal). I had to wear 3 bracket braces to keep the new tooth from shifting, but over all, straight teeth right across the board with no help from orthodontics. Your dad on the other had braces top, bottom and all the way back. After that he wore a retainer (something I used to think was so cool that I tried on my best friend’s sisters all the time in grade 6) but not enough to stop his bottom teeth from shifting and now he’s 30 something considering braces again. Lesson here: WEAR YOUR RETAINER. In this case, don’t be like your father. If I’m around I’ll nag you. If I’m not, consider yourself nagged. Maybe you’ll need nothing at all, but if you do, suck it up. Get the strongest thing that will take the least amount of time and consider it an investment in your future face.

Look Ma, no braces!

Also: BRUSH. You’re not crazy about it now but I’m serious. Morning and night. And floss if you can. I never really did unless there was something stuck (strawberry seeds, what’s with you?!) but I should have. And if you’re going to ignore any of my advice let it be the flossing. I could go either way on that.

Skin: Dad’s. This is a big one for me and I’m very emotional about it. It has always been my hope that you absolutely inherit your dad’s skin. I think he’s had a total of 8 zits in his whole life. His pores are invisible. He has no dryness. No oiliness. His skin is as close to perfect as you could hope to get without being a porcelain doll or Nicole Kidman. Me on the other hand, I had a really tough time with my skin. I still do. From puberty on I had acne. Not horrifying Accutane before picture acne (my heart goes out to those people) but bad enough that it dictated a lot about how I felt about myself. I was also one of the only one of my friends with a problem, and that made it even harder. I can remember crying my eyes out in the dressing room of a store before my first formal dance because I couldn’t find a dress that covered my backacne. I was constantly self conscious. I learned about makeup really early (something you won’t be able to do as much) and got up earlier than most just to have time to put on “my face”. To this day I can’t leave the house without makeup. These days I still have acne and I’m starting to deal with aging too. It’s bulls@#t and I don’t want you to have any part of it.

If you do, deal with it ASAP. Even if you aren’t noticing anything, deal with it knowing that you carry half my genes. Wash your face every night if you can. With soap (or cleanser). Use sunscreen. That’s a given in today’s ozone world, but do it as a ritual so you never have to think about it. Sunburns suck. So do early wrinkles and don’t get me started on the statistics of men and skin cancer… If you have full blown acne or huge pores or blackheads, get a dermatologist. It is not lame to take this seriously. You don’t want to be the pizza face guy. Not when there are so many options in today’s world. It’s too hard. You don’t have to be bigger than it. It’s not a character builder, it’s an ego killer. Lots of things that didn’t go my way made me stronger. This is not one of them. If anything, I still can’t hold my head as high as I’d like. Be diligent. It’s no joke.

Side note on picking: I’m won’t tell you not to do this. Doctors will. Magazines do. It’s supposed to be bad and make things worse and potentially scar you and everything – but I’m abnormally relieved when I attack my face. I always thought it was because I got to kill things I hate (no matter how little), but I recently read that often A type people are often closet pickers. Apparently, it is a valid source of stress relief and that I am far from alone in partaking. Now if I find myself gouging at my skin, it’s a pretty good indicator that I’m stressed about something. And personally, picking is preferable to a whitehead any day. Dermatologists may not agree but they aren’t the ones walking around with my skin so they can shut it.

Your dad is in shape

Hair: Either of us. Dad’s is receding only slightly but overall, we both have big, full heads of hair. You are one lucky laddie.

Athleticism: Both of us. Dad played football till he found acting and then he danced and worked out. I was a track star until high school when everyone got taller and I got my a#* handed to me. After that I stuck to water sports almost exclusively  – swim team captain, synchronized swimming and diving – till University when I joined the Varsity ski team and ultimate frisbee team. After that, I too found my place in full time acting and became a dancer/gym bunny. Your dad is still in wicked shape. He kills the gym, surfs, golfs and plays competitive paintball. If this is not still true when you read this and his “sports” consist of watching the Ducks on television, kindly remind him of his athletic past.

I obviously can’t do what I used to, but I was in great shape when I got pregnant with you and still would be if the situation were different. Your granddad told me once that if you can exercise consistently till your 30’s it’ll never leave you. It’ll always be something your body loves and responds too. It’s easy when your young to be lazy. You can eat anything and never gain a pound and it seems like it’ll always be that way. It won’t. You gotta  put in the work. As the song says : Take care of your body. It is your most trusted friend.

As a great motivating bonus: if you exercise (in whatever form you love), you can eat. And eating is GOOD.

Attitude: Both of us, but for different reasons. Your dad’s for positivity and can do-ness. He’s a force for good your father. He sees the brightness and joy in the world. He’s a true optimist. He’s sincere in his best wishes for everyone and people love him for it. I truly believe he is enjoying life more than most and believe me, our life is far from easy. He believes it’s all going to work out and he lives that way. He’s wonderful and happy. I want that for you.

I am not what you would call an optimist, but I’m tenacious. I’m also someone who can make things happen. A go-getter if you will. I may have lost my way a bit, but it’s still who I am. It can be who you are too. It’s a good way to be. Just don’t forget to listen. I sometimes do and it’s not my best quality.

Work Ethic:  We both work our a*#es off. I’m a doer. I make lists and get things done in multiples of 4. I’d get an assignment in school and start it right away. I wouldn’t miss a party or anything, but I’d consistently work on something so what I handed in was my best possible effort. I still live like that. It can make me a bit…I don’t know, anal? rigid? perfectionist-y? But I deliver and I’m proud of that. Your dad is a work horse. Sometimes I literally don’t know how he does it. Trying to make it as an actor you have to do lots of other jobs. Your father has been known (on many occasions) to get up at 5am, work out, make breakfast, go to his job downtown with your Aunt Gerry, finish work, change, bartend till 1am, come home and start all over again the  next day. For 2 weeks last year he worked all day and then shot a movie all night – 8am-4pm and then 5pm-4am. We’ve had weeks where we’ve barely seen him and then when he is home he’s working in the office on whatever new project he’s gotten himself into – App Company, Card company, writing, producing…he’s unbelievable. I used to worry that without his “big break” he might be like a hamster on a wheel. Running and running without going anywhere. But he’s too ambitious for that. Too creative. You can’t go wrong having a work ethic like him.

Your Dad, however, did his homework on Sunday night before it was due. You’re not allowed to do that.

There are so many more things:

Fashion sense: Me

Joke telling/Circus stunts and all around Revelry: Dad

Cooking: Dad. I really try and I’m a better baker, but I’d still say Dad.

Business Sense: Me. Though all credit goes to your Granddad.

Dancing: For partnering no one beats your Dad. In Top 40 club dancing however, you might want to take after your mama.

And finally…

Relationships: I know this isn’t genetically predetermined, but how you love might be. Your dad and I are both full fledged, both feet in, Romantics. Your granny once told me (after yet another heartbreaking breakup) that maybe I should lower my standards a bit so I wouldn’t be disappointed all the time. I, of course, freaked out and told her that if someone like me existed – someone who didn’t do things at 60% in case something better came along or so they wouldn’t get hurt – then someone LIKE me had to exist too. I went on ONE date with your father and that was it. He was as 100% as I was. On our first Valentines he laid a path of rose petals from my front door all the way to the bed where they were scattered everywhere. He’d left me 3 gifts. One for our past. One for our present. One for our future. I cried that day  because I was overwhelmed with happiness and relief. I’d finally found my match and I didn’t have to settle to do it. I’d still advise you to play it cool. Don’t smother or stalk. Never stalk. But love 100%. Don’t hedge your bets. Believe in the happy ending.

You’re genetically predisposed to get it.

I love you.

xo Mom

Leah Lee Photography