Things I Believe

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walking home after an evening baseball game on the last day of school, June 4th

There are certain absolutes that I believe, and that I hope to pass on to Grace and Whit.  I know they’ve got some of these already, and others are still works in progress.

These are some things I believe:

That you should write thank you notes.  For gifts, for experiences, and within a week (preferably within a day).  Always.

That most bad days can be turned around with a bath or a shower and climbing into bed with a book in pajamas.  Preferably together.

That you should wave to and acknowledge cars who stop and wait for you while crossing a street.

That everybody cries for no reason sometimes.  It’s ok and normal.  It might even be good.

That these foods should be made from scratch: applesauce, chicken stock, marinara sauce, chicken noodle soup, chocolate chip cookies.  As a bonus, they all make your house smell great.

That you should not talk on your cell phone while checking out at a store.  Ever.

That you should answer “how are you” with “well,” not “good.”  And that the difference between “can” and “may” is vast.  Try to use the right words at the right time.

That you wear a shirt with a collar (Whit) and clothes that are not athletic attire (both kids) when you go to a restaurant.

That there’s great value in saying yes.  I try to remember that, though I definitely fail a lot.  Try to say yes.

That Dumbledore is the greatest, kindest, wisest, most powerful figure in all of literature.

That you notice when I’m there, even when I’m quietly watching from the sidelines.  One of the most important things we can do for people we love is showing up and staying near.

That I haven’t irreparably damaged you by working throughout your childhood (first part-time, now full-time).

That it all begins and ends with sleep.  I’m not super fussed about food (the only vegetables Whit has ever eaten are lettuce/kale/spinach) but I take sleep very seriously.

That what matters is trying hard.  In school, in sports, in life.  I care much more about the effort than I do about the result.

What do you believe?


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16 Comments

  1. Posted June 15, 2015 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    Oh, what a great list! I’ll have to add a few onto mine 🙂

    I believe apologies matter most when, perhaps, after a little time has passed and they come from the heart.

    I believe in never blindly trusting a blinker – always keep in mind that car/truck/bus may not actually make that turn and drive accordingly.

    I believe that big belly laughter always always helps you feel better.

    I believe in the power of books, how they can transport you, offer shelter, and expand your mind and imagination. They can also be your friends.

    admin Reply:

    These are all so excellent. Yes. Laughter has such powerful properties, doesn’t it? xox

  2. mia
    Posted June 15, 2015 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    Love this list!

    I believe family dinners should be the priority of the week. This is getting harder as the kids get older.

    I believe a good outdoor run can cure any bad mood.

    I believe in the power of a smile. When listening to a friend, passing a stranger on the street or when you see your loved ones first thing in the morning.

    admin Reply:

    Yes yes yes – a run or even a walk. I forgot to include that and believe it fervently. And yes to the smile, oh such truth. And family time, too. We don’t have family dinner as much as I wish we did, but I try to do it a few times a week. It’s hard with the sports and work for Matt and me, but I realize those are excuses. xo

  3. M.A. Gallerani
    Posted June 15, 2015 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    love this! And a few more…

    That offering random kindness is great medicine for the soul.

    That people remember how you made them feel. (Thank you, Maya Angelou)

    That you must get outside every, single day, no matter what the weather.

    That love and grief are not linear.

    admin Reply:

    Such truth about going outside. I agree entirely. And the others, too. xoxo

  4. Isabelle
    Posted June 15, 2015 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    Love this list! Those added in the above comments are also great.
    I believe that your greatest power is your power to choose.
    Trust your body in both physical things like exercise, sleep, food and to tell you about situations/people.

    admin Reply:

    Oh, those are both excellent. Thank you, thank you. xox

  5. Posted June 15, 2015 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    similar to your “trying hard”, I’ve always stressed to “do your best”, and then accept the result.

    admin Reply:

    Exactly. I always tell the kids that I don’t care if their teams lose but I do care if they are paying attention and making an effort. Same with test results at school. And the flipside is that what I praise is the effort, not the outcome. Always. xox

  6. Nadine
    Posted June 15, 2015 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    I believe in consistency and routines. Meals and bath time at the same time etc. It makes me feel good and in control, although other members of the household seem to think it’s funny.

    I very much agree on sleep. Nothing that a good night’s sleep won’t make better. I remember you mentioning you were suffering from insomnia a while back. Would love to hear how you tackled that, maybe in a future post?

    admin Reply:

    Hi! Yes. Routines and consistency are the backbone of our life, no question about that. I’m finally sleeping but not really exciting answers … I just waited it out.

  7. Posted June 15, 2015 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    I love these kinds of posts. I’ve written a few of them over the years. Here’s my most recent: http://christineorgan.com/2015/03/06/talking-to-the-clouds/

    And this one: http://christineorgan.com/2014/06/06/i-believe-in-pink/

    And this one: http://christineorgan.com/2012/03/29/the-church-of-baseball/

    I told you I love “I believe…” posts! 🙂

    And yours is a great list. Sadly, I have to admit that I have been on the phone while in the checkout line once or twice. I cringe just thinking about it. So shameful. Live and learn, right?

    Christie

    admin Reply:

    Oh, I can’t wait to read these! Thank you!!!

  8. Posted June 15, 2015 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    These are great things to believe! I’ve never made a list like this, how fun! I love your homemade food rule and would add “use dried beans whenever possible”–if I get a compliment on a dish, it’s almost always because it started with butter and an onion or dried beans.

    Something I say to the girls a lot (probably too much) is that the only things you need to be are brave and kind.

    My grandfather always dispensed life rules whenever we were together. Sometimes they induced chuckles and eye-rolls (“The only beverages you need to drink are beer and coffee” being a memorable one), but I still use many of them often. Here are three I can think of:

    -Never let your gas gauge go below 1/4 tank.
    -If you have to turn left out of a parking lot, do it at the light (many of his rules were about driving)
    -Get everywhere 15 min early and bring something to read

    admin Reply:

    Oh, these are so good! I totally forgot always bring something to read. That’s definitely one of mine. One of my dearest friends in grad school used to bring a newspaper in the elevator because she didn’t like to have dead time. She lived on the fifth floor. xoxo

    admin Reply:

    And I forgot to mention that I wrote a whole chapter once about how I had never seen the gas light before the last few years. My husband gaped at me when I asked about it. I SO agree with the 1/4 tank rule!

  9. Posted June 15, 2015 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    I believe I finally found your website!

    I also believe that it’s never too late to start – something, anything.

    I believe that starting the day with an empty kitchen sink makes me feel so much better about the day ahead of me.

    I believe trips to the library transport the soul.

    I, too, agree with your thank you note belief. Big time.

    admin Reply:

    Oh, YES on the sink! I read a book once where the author talked about her mother’s voice in her head about keeping your sink clean and I laughed out loud because I so share that belief. And the library has more than once saved all of us from a terribly cranky afternoon. xoxox

  10. Posted June 15, 2015 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    In may, at the end of his sixth grade year, my son had an exercise/paper in his humanities class. It was similar to this in that they had to list 10-15 things that they believe. The exercise was called This I believe. But then they had to pick one, and only one, and write about it and tell why. My son is not a writer and only reads when forced… but he settled on, “I believe in persistence…. in continuing to work hard to get what you want.” The teachers posted all the kids essays and it was super cool, interesting, and fun to see what the sixth graders all believed.

    admin Reply:

    That sounds totally fascinating. And bravo to your son for choosing persistence – I’m impressed by that! ox

  11. Posted June 15, 2015 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Such a great list, and also the other beliefs popping up in the comments too. I fervently agree on the cell phones in line and acknowledging someone who let you pass/cross the street. Makes my blood boil when people are so obtuse about those two! One belief I’ve been trying to hit home with M lately is better to spend your money on experiences rather than things. Experiences might include (IMHO) books or a really great meal/bottle of spirits (shared in good company), in addition to trips and such. But a corollary and equally important belief is also to remember to share what you have to give (time, money, knowledge) and do so abundantly.

    admin Reply:

    I love that about experiences vs. things too. That’s 100% something my parents instilled in me. xox

  12. Posted June 15, 2015 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    I believe in thank you notes. Always.
    Working hard is always a must too. I love what Kristen said about experiences vs. things. I hope to teach this lesson to my daughter as well.

    admin Reply:

    So glad you can relate. xox

  13. Posted June 15, 2015 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    I love this! Sleep, sleep and more sleep. This is one of my huge beliefs too!

    admin Reply:

    Right? It’s where it all starts and ends, at least as far as I’m concerned…

  14. Posted June 16, 2015 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

    Love this and and cannot agree more re: thank you notes. I just heard a friend tell another friend that she didn’t have to do thank you notes for the gifts her 2-year-old got for a party. I gently disagreed! (Felt someone had to present the other point of view.)

    admin Reply:

    Amen to that! xox

  15. Posted June 21, 2015 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    I love your list, and I can feel your conviction, your elegance, and your intelligence in your words.
    I agree with so many of your beliefs, and yet I still say, “I’m doing great!” or “Good!” when people ask how I am. 🙂

    I believe in love, but I don’t believe that love can conquer all any more. I believe in truth, freedom, and kindness. I believe in the power of cooking the way to someone’s heart. I believe that being a mother is the best, best, best thing that has ever happened to me.

    I believe in friendship, even when you haven’t met someone in person yet.

    xo

  16. Posted July 2, 2015 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    I agree with all of yours, except I don’t know much Harry Potter. I believe in the power of choice (for attitude, responses, and life in general). I believe we have a say in whether we let someone hurt our feelings. I believe in the power of communication to resolve conflict.