I hope this isn't too impersonal, I write when emotions are raw (so like 2am- ha). I mean every word of this in the most loving manner. I'm not implying you guys can't do this because I know you can, but I wanted to give you words of encouragement.
Love you all so very much.
Perhaps this will be filed under "unsolicited advice" but I hope you each get to take something from this.
You're both starting new chapters in your life, chapters that I started years ago. My adventures have been less than perfect, but I've survived thus far. As kids, dad always said since I was the oldest "I stepped in all the holes first" and the two of you got a better fighting chance because you saw what I did and could reroute your "walk". For the most part you both did, not because you saw what I did but most likely because you were better kids (haha).
For my beautiful sister. You've got the marriage thing down pat, I don't ever see you asking for or needing marital advice from me :). You've been an amazing aunt for almost 15 years, so I'm pretty sure you'll have this mom thing down to a "t". Here are the things I would tell myself if I could go back, and what I want you to know.
-Don't rush anything. Your babies will talk, walk, roll over, eat real food when they are ready and at some point you'll wish for those days back.
- time moves so slow, yet so very fast. There will be days that you're so exhausted you'll beg for your child to sleep. Then one day you'll look back and think "remember when we thought he/she would never stop crying/sleep" etc. and you'll want that time back. When in doubt 2 Corinthians 4:17 "for our present troubles are small and won't last forever!...... "This too shall pass", dear sister.
-99.99999% of the time, our parents were right.
-you'll become our Mother, embrace it, She is an amazing woman. It's shocking the first time you hear Mom come out of your mouth, but eventually, it's normal.
-you have a mommy gut instinct, use it, trust it, sometimes you'll be wrong, that's ok, always rely on it.
-Doctors aren't always right.
-kiss your boys as much as you can, one day, they'll not want your kisses in public, but don't worry, it doesn't last long. :)
-being a Mom is the most amazing feeling. There's no love like the love of a Mother for her children. They will try your patience, be patient anyway. They will test your sanity, breathe, it's only temporary. You'll be exhausted, mentally, physically; smile, you'll survive.
-you'll receive more unsolicited advice than you thought possible (like this), accept it with grace and a smile then forget the crazy ones, the good advice will resurface in your mind when you need it.
-Vicks vapor rub on bottoms of feet with socks. Trust me, this is probably one of the only old remedies that I will swear by. (I mean I'm sure whiskey on teething gums works, but here stateside, I believe it's frowned upon :-p)
-these are your children, you get to decide what's best. Sometimes a family member may disagree with your choice, it's ok, do it/allow it anyway.
-most importantly, I've been there, three times. I am ALWAYS here, I will listen and not judge, I'll do my best to offer advice only when asked of me, you can cry, laugh, scream, whatever. Just know- I'm here. I LOVE YOU and miss you more than you'll ever know.
- Be patient with me, this long distance Auntie thing is hard. My intentions are always out of love.
My dearest "widdle brudder", my how time has flown. With our huge age difference, you basically grew up with 3 mothers, sorry about that. You and I are probably more alike than we care to admit. We are "Humphries" through and through. (sorry about that Anna. :-) ). Some of these I'm still learning:
Both of you:
-Set goals, don't settle, always compromise and work together to attain those goals.
-Don't go to bed angry, it's old and perhaps cliche, but it's true. Don't do it.
- You're going to argue, do it with grace, patience and love.
- life is hard, but it's easier with God.
- Read "The Love Dare" and "5 love languages" when things get hectic, revert back to them without telling your spouse, they'll follow your lead.
- Don't smother each other, keep the spark there, but leave some breathing room.
- respect each other, always.
- Balancing a marriage and in-laws is tough. You're going to screw up, you're going to think you're failing- you're not, you're learning.
- Read Corinthians 13:4-7, replace the word "Love" & "It" (referring to love) with your name. This is what you should strive for.
-We can drive by a 5 million dollar home and see the window is off-center, yet we forget to see our own flaws, don't worry with age you start to realize it. Be patient and loving.
- We are weird, I mean there's no better way to put it, we are quirky- embrace it, it's a strong gene.
- we go on the defense, fast. Both of you must acknowledge each other's feeling without going into defense mode.
- Continue to grow in the Lord, everything else will fall into place, even when it's controlled chaos.
- don't be afraid to tell him your needs. He may scoff, but deep down, he heard you.
Ashton: (you'll always be Ashton to me)
- When in doubt on how to react in a situation, think about the Men in our lives (Grandaddy, Pawt, Daddy) and how they would have reacted. Our Father is patient, loving and loves our Mother with all of his heart, be like him.
- She's going to make you mad, react calmly.
- Don't yell or curse when you react. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.
- be selfless in all you do.
- One day, you'll have children of your own, but, for now think to yourself "Am I setting a good example of the type of man I want my niece to marry?" If you'd be upset with Avery's husband for something you've done, you should probably change that way. She's watching, and so will your children.
- It is ok to cry.
- Don't stop "dating" her.
- Embrace your inner Melonie, she's there, she's the most loving, selfless person I know.
- I am ALWAYS HERE. Anytime, no matter what. I LOVE YOU very much!