Be excellent.

That’s the advice I gave my eldest son recently. He’s about to apply for his first job. He’s not quite out of school, but he is an adult. According to his birthday and legalities. Not quite so in my heart.

I shared my experiences. I’ve worked for minimum wage. My first jobs came when I was much younger than him. But I never worked for minimum wage for very long. I tried in all ways to be excellent. And it paid off when I was able to.

I made mistakes, but I always learned.

I aspired to be excellent.

I suppose I got that from my step mom. She got me my first jobs. And I know I didn’t want to let her down. I didn’t at least when it came to the jobs she opened doors for me to get.

But when I was almost 19? I’m not sure if I was remembering to be excellent then. By then I was living with his father and things weren’t going so well by then. Such a different life my child has than I.

And isn’t that what I always wanted?

I gave him a life mostly without violence. Instilled a love of reading, of writing, of knowledge. He is kind and thoughtful and he has a beautiful laugh.

What more could I ask for?

Except that he continue to be happy. And that he finds a way to balance happiness with being grateful.

As long as he remembers to be excellent. I do think he’ll be okay.

I have two more. I haven’t talked with them like this yet. But I think when I do, I think I’ll find that they’ll be okay too. And if not, I can at least rest in the knowledge that I did the best I could. When I knew better, I did better and I never let a day go by that I didn’t say out loud that I loved them. Well, until they weren’t here every day. But I got my strength to let go without breaking down by knowing I had done it every day leading up till then.

I remembered to be excellent.

I hope that is a trait they’ll all take on and pass down.

To be excellent.

Not a bad legacy. Even if it does invoke memories of people named Bill and Ted.


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