My Dearest Abigayle Elizabeth,
I’ll never forget the moment your Mom called to break the news that she was pregnant with you. We were both so overjoyed, we were laughing and crying at the same time! Her and I had always shared so many moments in life, and I was ecstatic that she would now know the joy of being a Mother. When she learned you would be a girl and settled on your name, I was both humbled and honored that you would be named after me. Then, you came into this world practically overnight and I swear, time stood still. It was as if the entire universe paused in a collective awe of this angel sent to us directly from Heaven. Suddenly, we were complete. I am once again honored to have been asked by your Mom to compile this list for you. These are things Grandmom taught your Mom and I, things I taught my children, things my children taught me, things I learned from your Mom, and things I learned in life that I want to share with you. You are an amazing and special human being, a gift from God. He broke the mold when He made you. I love you with all my heart and soul.
1. Your Mom used to come home from school and teach me everything she learned. She taught me how to read when I was 4 years old.
2. One of the most important things Grandmom taught us, “Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize!” Oil of Olay is your best friend.
3. Always open at least one gift on Christmas Eve & make sure you leave a plate of cookies and a glass of milk for Santa, no matter how old you are.
4. It is important to stay physically fit, but it is equally important to stay mentally fit. Do crosswords, word searches, sudoku puzzles, etc. to keep your mind primed.
5. Make your bed every morning.
6. “Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and pull yourself together.” ~Elizabeth Taylor
7. When getting dressed in the morning, match your underwear with your outfit. Nobody else will know, but you will and that’s all that really matters, right?
8. When I was 6 years old, a kindergartner, I got stung by a bee and your Mom physically carried me to the nurses office at school, even though I was only a tad smaller than her. (She was 8.)
9. You started taking dance classes right around your 3rd birthday. Whether you continue with classes or not, always, I repeat ALWAYS continue to dance, even if it is just around your kitchen when nobody is watching.
10. A smile is the prettiest thing you can wear.
11. Don’t find yourself trapped in gender roles. You can do anything a man can do and you can probably do it better. If you want to grow up to be a mechanic, engineer, or trash”man,” than do it!
12. “You Light Up My Life”
13. If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always “no.” If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.
14. Your Grandad “Dub” used to sneak me packs of M&M’s after I went to bed.
15. Your Mom and I may be the last two people on earth that still use the word “dude” incessantly. Your Dad will point that out to us regularly.
16. Even though there are 1100 miles between us, you are right here in my heart every single day.
17. Learn Grandmom’s recipe for “Louisiana Yummy” and “Fudge Pecan Pie.”
18. Your cousins Dallas and Mikayla have this thing where every time they see something adorable for a little girl, they think of you and squeal, “Abbiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!”
19. “Look like a girl, act like a lady, think like a man, work like a boss.”
20. Leave surprise “love letters” around the house for your Mom to find from time to time. (Under her pillow, behind the cleaning supplies, in her recipe box, or on the seat of her car are good places.) My kids do this for me and let me tell you, finding an “I love you” note will absolutely make her day!
21. When you get a new CD from your favorite band, don’t listen to the first track. Save it. When they haven’t released anything new for a long time, you will always have a “new to you” song to listen to.
22. Make sure you make a Valentine for EVERYONE in your class. You may never know how much it means to someone else.
23. Be confident, not conceited. Be classy, not cocky.
24. Keep a journal on your nightstand and record all the dreams you can remember.
25. Learn all the words to “Texas When I Die” by Tanya Tucker.
26. Make sure to wave your “Terrible Towel” on game day, except when the Steelers play the Cowboys!
27. Be sure to watch every film John Hughes ever made. That man was a genius.
28. “I urge you to please notice when you are happy and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.'” ~Kurt Vonnegut
29. Can you touch love? Can you see it? Can you hold it in your hands to gaze upon? No, you can only feel it, give it, receive it, and know that it is there. When someone questions my faith in God, this is the argument I give them. You should do the same.
30. The difference between a good haircut and a bad haircut is two weeks. You can always wear a hat in between.
31. Whenever you feel trapped, ask yourself this question, “If there’s no way out, how did I get in?”
32. The dot above the letter “i” is called a tittle. This always makes me giggle.
33. Always over-deliver and under-promise.
34. Take a role in a school play as soon as you can. The younger you are at facing “stage fright,” the easier it will be to overcome.
35. Watch “Steel Magnolias” with Grandmom and a box of Kleenex.
36. There is no shame in being a “nerd” or “geek,” but don’t get stuck on labels. You can be a cheerleader and a mathlete at the same time!
37. Sometimes you have to be your own hero.
38. Have your Mom teach you “Bo-Bo Ski Watten Totten.” She’ll know what that means.
39. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. It’s true. Uncle Brett taught me this and it has served me well.
40. Make sure you find yourself on both sides of the camera.
41. Don’t feel bad if people only remember you when they need you. Feel privileged that you are like a candle that comes to their mind when there is darkness.
42. Ask your Dad to show you pictures of all your “Family Days.” Your parents work hard to have these and have done a great job of recording them. From zoos, waterparks, pony rides, and carousals, there are already so many with more to come!
43. Open your mouth only if what you are going to say is more beautiful than silence.
44. “People will stare. Make it worth their while.” ~Harry Winston
45. Don’t save your gratitude for Thanksgiving Day. Be thankful every day.
46. Have your Mom teach you how to french braid. She is so good at it!
47. It’s nice to watch “A Christmas Story” marathon on TBS every year, but also watch “It’s A Wonderful Life” because it truly is a wonderful life.
48. Read the book before you watch the movie. The book is always better.
49. My advice for girls with natural curls: Don’t fight it! All the perms, rollers, and curling irons in the world can’t make straight hair as beautiful as yours. God gave you this gift for a reason.
50. Don’t buy a coffee table you can’t rest your feet upon.
51. Read every book Jane Austen has ever written.
52. Return your library books on time.
53. Know who Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy are.
54. Believe in soul mates.
55. I cannot stress to you enough the importance of music. It relieves stress, makes you happy, and changes for your life. Listen to it every day and see live music as often as you can. MAKE music.
56. Make a wish in a wishing well every time you cross ones path.
57. I made a list like this for your cousin Lyric, but every single one of these “100 things” are different, special, unique, and original because that’s what both of you are. Take the time to read his list here.
58. A good cry is great therapy.
59. Breakfast for dinner is always a good idea.
60. The amazing thing about becoming a mom is the new appreciation you gain for your own mother. My children did that for me, you did that for your Mom, and one day your children will do that and you will look at her in a completely new light. You will understand the sacrifices she has made for you. When that day comes, it will hit you like a bolt of lightning. Once we became mothers, your Mom and I gained a new respect for Grandmom.
61. Visit the “Four Corners” and know which 4 states they are.
62. Bury a time capsule and dig it up on your 18th birthday.
63. Don’t be afraid to go to the theater and see a movie by yourself.
64. Being “apolitical” is a cop-out for people that don’t want to take the time to get involved. Study and learn politics and be firm in your beliefs. I urge you to discuss this with your Mom and I. You CAN make a difference and you should make your voice be heard. Vote.
65. Once upon a time, the “M” in MTV stood for music. True story.
66. For the most part, cover versions of songs are worse than the original. The exception is Johnny Cash’s rendition of “Hurt.” You should listen to this song often.
67. Be a Patriot. Be proud to be an American. Be thankful for the freedoms you were guaranteed in our Constitution and for the lives lost to preserve those freedoms for you.
68. Your Mom and Grandmom are amazing cleaners and organizers to the point of being borderline OCD. I did not inherit this trait, I hope you did.
69. Although we don’t get to see each other very often, I would love it if you would Skype or Facetime me so I can see your gorgeous smile.
70. Be the kind of friend you wish you had.
71. Play dress-up in your Mothers closet. Get her permission first!
72. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in this world, (my friends and children can attest to this as well) I cannot stress to you enough, “Everything always works itself out.” This is my mantra.
73. If there is no one around to encourage you, encourage yourself. Grandmom taught us that. Just keep telling yourself, “I can do this, I can do this,” and soon you will find that you did it!
74. The word “listen” contains the same letters as the word “silent.”
75. Ask Grandmom to make you cheese toast in the broiler and a snack plate with sweet gherkins and crackers.
76. If Hollywood ever decides to re-make the movie “Pretty In Pink,” you would make the perfect Andie Walsh.
77. I hope you love the water. I want you to raft a raging river, kayak the rapids, water-ski on a lake, sunbathe in a swimming pool, tube the springs, learn the “butterfly” like your Mom, dance in the rain, and take long relaxing bubble baths.
78. I don’t like tea, whether it’s hot or iced, but I sure can make a mean pitcher of sun tea or sweet tea because a proper southern lady should know how. I can teach you.
79. “And though she be but little, she is fierce.” ~Shakespeare
80. Before you leave the house, make sure you have a tube of lipstick, tissue, a Sharpie, gum, your keys, and a toothpick in your purse. You never know when you will have to “MacGyver” yourself out of a situation. (Plus, the Sharpie is great for autographs and bathroom graffiti art!)
81. Emergency Box #1 (for the trunk of your car) ~ Make sure there is a quart of oil, a roll of paper towels, a roll of toilet paper, a flashlight, blanket, first-aid kit, jumper cables, bottled water, and basic tools. Be prepared.
82. Emergency Box #2 (by your front door or in the coat closet) ~ In case you need to evacuate due to weather or fire, you should have copies of important documents, a current photo of every family member, batteries, petty cash, pet food (if you have a pet), first-aid kit, a list of emergency numbers, and a roll of toilet paper. Customize these lists to fit your needs.
83.”Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” ~Joshua 1:9
84. When I was young and had the chicken pox, your Mom rode her bike all the way to the grocery store to buy me a coloring book and crayons even though we weren’t allowed to leave our street.
85. Every girl should have “THAT crazy Aunt.” Aunt Loree was THAT for me and I am THAT for you.
86. Your Daddy has loved you better and longer than any boy ever will.
87. Learn sign language.
88. Wash your face and brush your teeth every night before you go to bed. Kneel before you climb under those covers!
89. If you don’t know what to get your parents for Christmas and birthdays, make them a coupon book! Offer to wash the car, do the dishes, take Casey for a walk, clean out the fridge, or give a foot massage. They will love it!
90. Read the book ‘The House With A Clock In It’s Walls’ by John Bellairs.
91. Don’t be offended if you have to sit at the “kids table” during holiday dinners. Trust me, the conversation is almost always more interesting there than at the “adult table.”
92. Learn to make a bow with curling ribbon. I still haven’t mastered that art. Maybe Grandmom can teach us together.
with someone who makes you happy.
94. Keep a few books of ‘Mad Libs’ on your shelf for when you are bored. Your parents will do these with you and I promise, you won’t be disappointed!
95. When you look at a field of dandelions, you can either see 100 weeds or 100 wishes. I always see the wishes. You should too.
96. I hope you know I am here for you day or night. You can call, my door is always open, my ear is ready to be bent, and my shoulder is available to cry on.
97. Chocolate. Need I say more?
98. The best day of the week is TODAY!
99. It is yet to be determined if you will have a brother or sister. If you don’t, that doesn’t mean you can’t still make an impact on someone else’s life! “Adopt” a younger sibling. Help guide them, mentor them, be there for them, and teach them. I still have friends to this day that tell me what an influence your Mom was to them. You can do the same.
100. Last, but certainly not least, I want you to know that friendship means so much. You can choose hundreds of friends, or only a select few. They will come and go out of your life, but you will always have your family. We may make you scream and cry at times, frustrate you to no end. You may be positive that we don’t understand you, and sometimes we may not. But we will forever be here for you. We won’t go away. We won’t give up on you. We will catch when you fall (not every time) and we will pick you up and dust you off. We will support you and guide you and stay with you until the bitter end. We will fight for you. We will die for you.
It has been my pleasure to put this list together for you. I hope you refer back to it throughout your entire life. I am blessed to have you, sweet angel. I love you more than “100 Things” can ever express.