Dear Annalise, Wear Your Retainer

By Alicia Courtney

Dear Annalise,

Oh there are so many little lessons I want to teach you.  But instead of being nebulous and saying things like “reach for the stars”, “make good choices”, etc. I want to give some clear advice today.  Although, I will give you vague advice sometimes like “don’t stress about your failures” because it just gets you to the next step or new direction.  Like this example:

buttcookie

Here I was trying to make your dad some cookies after we were first married. Problem was I didn’t read the recipe and thought I could just make it up as I went along. But my failure resulted in hysterical laughter and this awesome photo circulating the internet.

Okay, now back to that solid advice I promised.

#1. Wear your retainer!

Okay, you don’t have any teeth yet.  Like zero.  Just all gums here at the 11 month mark.  And while we hope for straight perfect teeth, your father and I both understand it is inevitable that you were have some funky, crooked teeth.  Mine were a mess as a kid and so were your dad’s.  The good thing is that while you may have some challenging years with those crooked teeth, know that we promise to get you all the braces and palatal expanders you may need.  But there is a catch. YOU MUST WEAR YOUR RETAINER afterwards.  Your dad didn’t and his are all back the way they started.  I started to get loosy goosy with mine and only wore it on occasion thinking my perfect teeth were invincible.  False.  I know have a slightly crooked front tooth and wearing my retainers at night are killing me.  So here is the lesson – wear your dang retainer girl and keep on smiling.

#2 Don’t burn your skin, dang it!

In 2009, I was driving  from lunch back to my job when I heard a radio DJ talking about her mom having skin cancer.  Hearing the daughter’s version of it had me in tears.  I didn’t even know if I would have a daughter someday but I silently made a vow to never, ever get in a tanning bed again.  According to skincancer.org, Just one indoor tanning session increases users’ chances of developing melanoma by 20 percent, and each additional session during the same year boosts the risk almost another two percent.  HOLY SMOKES! I remember hearing that fact on the radio that day and realized no matter how much I loved looking tan and enjoyed those 20 minutes of relaxation, I just couldn’t justify it anymore.  From there on out I was an SPF 30 girl.  By the time you read this I bet tanning beds are outlawed like they are in many other countries.  But hopefully you protect your precious skin that I just love giving kisses to.  I want you to be as happy and healthy as possible so cover up and embrace your Irish roots.

#3 Never, even make fun of someone!

I can already see kindness in your heart so I’m sure this isn’t a revelation or going to be very difficult for you.  But no one ever deserves to be made fun of.  You have no idea what makes a person do a certain thing, act a certain way, wear a specific item, etc.  And the key to being happy is doing whatever you want that makes your heart sing.  So if someone wants to chop off all their hair in 7th grade, tell them it looks beautiful.  If a person is dancing while they walk around the block, think “they know what’s up”.  I recently started to follow someone I respected professionally on different social networks.  I love seeing the personal side of professionals because it makes us all real.  But amongst all the good posts there were a few where this person videoed people just to post and laugh at them.  Really?! Seriously?! And the posts were of people dancing to music or adding some spirit to their workouts.  Definitely not worth internet shaming.  And it made my heart sad because I really liked this person until I saw where his/her heart was in these posts.  SOOOO this weekend on our way to the lake we stopped for lunch and saw this guy totally getting it!  He was having an absolute blast performing tricks on his bike at this intersection.  I asked him if I could take a video and gave him the thumbs up and a smile.  This is how I want you to live your life, dearest Annalise.  Be the man on the bike… not the one making fun.

daddyatlake

Here is you and daddy at the lake this past weekend. You sure loved picking up leaves carefully by the stems. Make your heart sing little one.

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