Celebrity blogger Jenna von Oy is a new mama!
Best known for her roles as Six on Blossom and Stevie on The Parkers, von Oy is also a musician who has released two albums and is set to publish a book, The Betweeners.
In her latest blog, von Oy — inspired by an article she read — shares her own words to love by.
Cherish and nurture love – Mimosa Arts Photography
Growing up is a brutal and beautiful journey. Succeeding in being graceful while doing so is an entirely different beast altogether!
I recently read an article on the Huffington Post, titled “10 Things I Want My Daughter To Know Before She Turns 10,” by author Lindsey Mead Russell. It really struck a chord with me, and I was inspired to begin documenting some of my own thoughts for Gray.
Although it’s a full decade before my daughter turns 10 years old, I am already making mental lists of the things I hope to teach her. Life lessons present themselves daily, and I long to impart every bit of wisdom I’ve ever absorbed. I wish I could transmit it all through osmosis, salvaging her from any future agony.
This is, of course, an impossible and impracticable task. Gray is bound to take tumbles, to get scraped and burned along the way, and to boast a few scars when it is all said and done. But don’t we all wish we could spare our children the struggle nonetheless? Call it a bittersweet symptom of parenthood.
Since most of the monumental lessons in life occur outside of the classroom, here is the start of Miss Gray’s “home-schooling.” By the time she is 10, I suspect I will have a comprehensive, epic novel-worthy volume for her to peruse!
People will expect you to behave badly – Mimosa Arts Photography
1. You won’t be liked by everyone and that’s all right. I won’t insult you by suggesting you always let that roll off your back, as it’s bound to hurt from time to time. However, I strongly encourage you to be yourself even when others don’t recognize how special you are. Combat their ignorance with your exquisite individuality. It may mean you aren’t popular for a while, but you’ll learn that sometimes there’s no rhyme or reason for popularity anyway. One only needs to reflect on the success of Hammer pants, Jersey Shore and lingo such as “chillax” to prove it.
2. “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friends.” Dumbledore voiced this in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and truer words were never spoken. Don’t be afraid to fight for what you believe in. That said, let kindness be the punch you throw. I’m a firm believer that true strength is in rising above the battle instead of dealing its final blow. The unfortunate reality is: there are folks who just plain love to stir the pot. You can’t keep them from stirring it, but sometimes you can take away their spoon!
3. Do your part to protect those who can’t protect themselves. Rescue animals. Stand up for the little guy. Defend the underdog. Loyalty can be a man’s best friend too.
4. Keep smiling. It’s a cure for the common scowl.
5. There is almost always someone a little better than you out there, and someone who isn’t quite as good. The former can be disillusioning; the latter can make you too proud. Remember that there is nothing quite so charming and endearing as humility. Because of this fact, never quit writing “thank you” notes.
Foster the funny – Courtesy Jenna von Oy
6. Don’t do favors or charity with the expectation of gaining acknowledgement for them, or having the favors returned to you. Extend them because that’s what is in that lovely heart of yours.
7. You’ll have your heart broken at some point, and you’ll inevitably break someone else’s. Pick up the pieces and let the hope of more love glue them together again. Don’t be afraid to throw yourself back in with reckless abandon the next time around. Your heart is only truly broken if you refuse to honor the love in it. All of the heartache allows you to appreciate the real thing when you find it!
8. If you kiss a frog expecting it to turn into a prince, you should anticipate coming away with slimy lips instead. Love is not meant to be a fairytale; it is meant to be a work in progress. Cherish it, nurture it, embrace it, and let it lead you.
9. Don’t be afraid to color outside of the lines. Some of the most stunning masterpieces are abstract. I learned that from your extraordinary Great-Grandmother, and I’m passing it along to you. You may, consequently, be labeled a risk-taker, rule-breaker and fool. Thoreau once said, “Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it.” Feel free to make THAT a rule you live by…
10. Your dad and I will embarrass you in front of your friends. This is inescapable, and otherwise known as a parental phenomenon called “Trytoohardosis.” In other words, the cooler we think we are, the better the chance we’re making you want to hide behind a paper bag. At some point in your life you’ll appreciate the fact that we were “geeks” or “freaks” or whatever choice word you’ll adopt for us in your teenage years. Until then, please try to exercise some patience. Every idiotic thing we do or say is, ultimately, because we unequivocally and unconditionally love you.
Keep your family close – Mimosa Arts Photography
11. Keep your family and your true friends close, and surround yourself with phenomenal women. Right about the time you turn 13, you’re going to feel like you are having a mid-life crisis, and no one can possibly relate to what you are going through. If possible, refrain from dyeing your hair chartreuse and piercing everything in sight. It gets better, and I promise you aren’t alone. Having strong women to guide you through this time is imperative. They will carry you, be honest with you when you lose your *@?!, and offer you much needed advice over a pint or two of Ben & Jerry’s.
12. You are beautiful inside and out. You won’t always feel that way when you stand in front of a mirror, look through magazines, watch TV shows, try on clothing or wear a bathing suit in front of your friends. This was often a source of difficulty for me too. The world can be cruel and relentless about appearance, and there’s a ton of pressure to be “perfect.” Be your own version of perfect. You may not feel totally comfortable in your own skin until you are in your thirties (if at all), but own it anyway. One day you’ll wake up and realize you’re no longer just pretending to be confident … you’re wearing it as a badge of honor.
13. Don’t swear just because everyone else is doing it. Sometimes we all need to metaphorically wash our mouths out with soap. (I’m sometimes guilty of cussing like a sailor, so don’t be afraid to remind me of these particular words down the road!) Similarly, don’t do things to impress anyone other than you. Your dad would like me to add that if you DO choose to do something to impress someone else, let it be for those you love and who love you in return. We will appreciate your efforts either way, and our support won’t hinge on whether you succeed or fail.
Dream big – Mimosa Arts Photography
14. Keep asking questions. Never let yourself think you’ve done all the learning there is to do. The old saying goes, “Just when I thought I had all the answers, they changed the questions.” In reality, they don’t change the questions, there’s just an endless supply of them out there. Ask away.
15. Master the following three things: another language, how to whistle, and how to handle your own finances. Then, if all fails, you can whistle while you work (or retire, for that matter) … in Italy.
16. Dream big, because there’s nothing more satiating than being hungry. One of the most eye-opening experiences will be the moment you realize there’s a big world out there that’s just waiting for you to make your indelible mark on it. If you believe in yourself even half as much as Dad and I believe in you, you’ll be unstoppable.
Your dad and I will embarrass you – Mimosa Arts Photography
17. Do what you love and love what you do, because passion begets more passion. I don’t care if you want to dance the Hokey-Pokey or raise hamsters to play the glockenspiel for a living. If it’s the road your convictions have led you down, follow it. (That said, here’s hoping you don’t take that Hokey-Pokey thing seriously. It may be the most abysmal earworm in existence.)
18. Foster the funny. Laughter truly is the best medicine, and should be consumed in high doses. If you find a partner who you can laugh with for the rest of your life, you’re a giant leap ahead. Beauty fades, but wit is forever. Don’t forget to have a healthy sense of humor about yourself too … Benign self-deprecation is a gift worth giving!
19. More often than not, people will expect you to behave badly … Disappoint them.
20. Never forget that you were literally the answer to our prayers. All of the dirty diapers, lack of sleep, drool, vomit, tantrums, scrapes, scars, tears, snot, and dollars spent are more than worth it, just to see you smile. Your dad and I know you may not fully appreciate our efforts until you have your own children, and we don’t expect you to. Every time you say, “I love you,” it will be a reminder of why we wake up each day trying to be the best parents we can be. So please don’t be afraid to express that sentiment often. We will never tire of hearing those words, nor will we tire of telling you the same.
21. Take solace in the fact that I will forgive you, even in the moments when you aren’t willing to forgive yourself. I have no doubt that I’ll make my share of mistakes with you, so I implore you to forgive me too. One of my favorite quotes goes like this: “Just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want them to, doesn’t mean they don’t love you with all they have.” Rest assured, I love you with all I have. When you are exceedingly angry with me, and all other reasoning is out the window, please know that fact is true above all else.
You are the answer to our prayers – Mimosa Arts Photography
To be continued …
Until next time,
— Jenna von Oy
P.S. As always, please feel free to leave me a comment here, or follow me on Twitter! Please also visit my newly-launched blog, The Cradle Chronicles, where I dispense even more of my motherhood anecdotes!!