So, to eliminate Big Sister's need to ask any of us experts for tips we had all the guests take an opportunity to write down their best pieces of parenting advice.
We're hoping that Big Sister will keep them handy or preserve them in an album to pull out when she needs a boost of encouragement or a reminder that she has such a huge supporting cast behind her.
Here's a few of the parenting advice highlights....
From Aunt CoCo: "When they hit middle school, always have long talks when they cant see your face- when driving, walking at night, or after the lights are out....they won't know how shocked you are!"
From Grandpa (Baby's Great Grandpa): "Love that baby and spoil it. Give it everything it wants, or that's what grandfathers and great grandfathers do."
From Grandma Maddie: "Ask for help when you are feeling frazzled."
From Hailey: "Go with the flow. You can't predict what is going to happen and every child is different. Books can freak you out."
From Auntie Em: "Remember to let her surround herself with people from different cultures and backgrounds so she can have a better understanding of individuality. It will help her to find herself and where she fits in."
From my mother-in-law Mary Lou: "Always kiss them goodnight."
And this is where the tears start... not from Big Sister but from moi.
For some odd reason, that bit of advice struck me, it was totally unlike the normal advice that you hear for new moms.
It was simple.
It seemed like a no-brainer, but to me, it was such a beautiful thought, that a mom wouldn't allow their baby, no matter how old, to go to sleep without a kiss goodnight, a reminder that they are loved before they drift off to sleep.
And I lost it.
I quietly left the room to wipe away my tears, before anyone else saw me, but when I returned to my seat, Big Sister looked up and said "are you crying?!"
"No," I lied, but she could see right through me, she began to pout, her face screwed up and just like that, she started to cry too.
When I stood up to get her tissues, Mom was also crying.
It's no secret my parents broke the parenting mold, and it's evident in the way they treated us kids, the constant reminders of how proud of us they are and making sure we feel loved. Now that we're older, it's evident in the advice they pass down to their children who are preparing for children of their own.
A few pearls of my mother's wisdom, that never fail to make me cry:
- "Read aloud to them - they love to cuddle, even in their older years." (You'll remember this is true from this post about my dad)
- "Take pictures of the naughty things they do- someday it will be funny!"
- "Hug & kiss them often, even in high school."
- "In middle school, remember that you might be the only one that talks nice to them that day."
And finally, what really makes my parents good ones is this: "Love their father! And the daddy needs to love you a lot. It's the best gift to give your children."
It was Mom and Dad. It was...