"Have fun. Be careful."
For as long as I can remember, with almost Ground Hog Day consistency, as I would wave good bye to my Mom, she would say these four words. So consistently, it is almost meme worthy. So consistently, it made it into my high school graduation speech. So consistently, I now say these words to my Mom and Dad when they, as recent empty-nesters, leave for their next trip or adventure.
I was thinking about the gift of those four words this morning while sitting with my Mom having coffee in my childhood home, celebrating Mother's Day. What an unfair advantage those four words gave me in life! When peeled back from the humor of their predictability, they carry with them so much about who my Mom is and how lucky I am that she is my Mom.
HAVE FUN - My Mom doesn't believe in doing things unless they are fun. There are countless examples growing up when non-fun things were necessary and Mom made they tolerable with a little bit of Mary Poppins-espue Spoons Full of Sugar. When it comes to fun, she lead by example and gave feedback on when my siblings and I were on the right track to having they kind of fun she has been a lifelong spokesperson for. And as a mantra yelled out as I left the house, she was saying, "Have your adventures, just like you were taught!"
BE CAREFUL - I will never forget seeing my Mom break Carl Lewis' land speed record on the beach in Oregon in 1995 when a sleeper wave snuck up on my younger brother and started to pull him out into the Pacific. There was not anything in heaven or earth that was going to get in her way or prevent her from preventing harm coming to one of her kids. As a mantra yelled out when leaving the house, she was actually saying, "Don't break my heart by hurting yourself while on your adventure, come back with stories, not broken bones."
HAVE FUN. BE CAREFUL - Together, they say everything about what my Mom wishes for me and my siblings: "Have your adventures, laugh while you do, come back in one piece and tell me about it." But more so than anything said with those four words, the absolute unfair advantage that I have had for my entire life is the consistency that my Mom has shown and that has been a constant I've always known was there for me. There is no greater source of confidence than knowing without question, without guessing, without wavering, that no matter what happens in my life, no matter how many times hard things are hard, there is someone who wants to know every detail and will love me no matter what.
Adventure with wisdom, consistently with love.
Happy Mother's Day Mom! I love you.