What I won’t do.

So we all know by now that we need a celebrant to make the marriage official. And there are a ton of us around, most of us do an amazing job, and it’s really important to choose the exact right celebrant for you. It’s important to choose someone who gets your vibe, if you want serious, choose a serious celebrant, if you want someone who can speak French then choose one who can speak French, if you want a male, then guess what choose a male!

We are all there to perform your ceremony, and there are a million different ways that that can happen, because essentially in New Zealand there is a very small part of the ceremony that has to be done to make it all official, so really the sky’s the limit with how you want your ceremony to look and feel.

I thought I would make a list of things that I won’t do, to give you an indication of what I will do for you in the process of getting you both hitched.

  • I won’t tell you what to do – That’s not really my job, I see my job as providing you with inspiration, ideas and solutions to help make your ceremony the best ceremony ever! So I will never tell you what you have to do.
  • I won’t leave you hanging – I’m pretty good at communication, I will get back to you promptly if you have any questions (not at 3am, because that is sometimes when you’re awake stressing about wedding stuff) I will give you a timeline for the process and give you updates and deadlines when things need to be done.
  • I won’t let Great Aunty Fanny bully you – If you’re a long time listener of me, then you know who Great Aunty Fanny is, but it can also be your Mum or your Mother in Law or your sister etc. It’s that person who always puts their two cents in, and thinks that they are always right. I will be clear on what your vision is, and make sure that that is what is executed in the day, regardless of what Great Aunty Fanny wants.
  • I won’t make you do anything in your ceremony that you don’t want to do – Usually the first thing people say to me is “We don’t want any religion in our ceremony” but they say it in a pensive way, like they are not sure what I’m going to say. Truth is the reason why you choose a celebrant over a church is because you’re not religious, so no drama. Don’t want to say vows? No sweat (I’ll probably tell you to really think about that option, just because vows are so special, and one of my favourite parts of the ceremony) Don’t want to walk down the aisle, then don’t.
  • I won’t be boring, stiff and cold – I want your ceremony to be the best part of your day. I want you to look forward to it, not dread it. I want your guests to be engaged, active listening, laughing and crying if they are really feeling it. So I work hard at making your ceremony fun, personalised and full of all the feels, right from the word go.
  • I won’t freestyle it on the day – You will know exactly what I am going to say during the ceremony, except for a bit of ad libbing. It means you can relax that you’re not going to get any surprises (especially bad ones) and why we usually do a rehearsal, so you know exactly what is going to happen.
  • I won’t be late – I will be at your ceremony space at least 45 mins before your ceremony. Usually I’m the only one there at that time, but that’s ok, because it gives me time to set myself up, help with any last minute prep and calm the groom down.
  • I won’t be inappropriately dressed – One of the questions I ask when we are planning your ceremony is what are your colours and your theme, that is for me to ensure that I am dressed appropriately. If your bridesmaids are wearing one colour I don’t want to turn up wearing the same colour, and blend into the bridal party. If there is a particular colour you want me to wear then I’m happy to accommodate, and rest assured I will leave my neon pink leopard print mini dress at home.
  • I won’t be creepy – One of my extra skills as well as being a kick arse celebrant is also a ninja, that means that I will slowly ninja my way out of your first kiss photo. Because no-one needs my face creepily watching you kiss!
  • I won’t drink all the champers and eat all the food – I generally ninja my way (see ninja skills come in handy) out of your wedding shortly after you have walked back down your aisle. Because I know how much a wedding cost, and I don’t want to drink all your wine, and eat all the yummy food, that you have paid for your guests. I know you want to get on with hanging out with all your friends and family, not me.
  • I won’t be disorganised and forget the important paperwork – Your marriage licence is printed off as soon as you email it to me, and put in your file with all your other wedding items and that will always be with me on the day, as well as vow cards, readings, music playlists, my PA and microphone, and there will always be tissues in my pockets too.
  • I won’t sing you down the aisle – For good reason, although I sound amazing in the car with the stereo cranked right up, I can’t sing, and it would totally ruin your wedding. There are some celebrants who can sing, and who I know sound amazing, so choose one of them. I will stick to creating your a spotify playlist and using that instead.
  • I won’t copy and past your ceremony – Your ceremony should be about you, your personalities, your story and your love, so of course it’s going to be different to any one else’s ceremony.

Sound good? Then feel free to hit me up and lets have a chat about your plans.

Groom’s processional song? Say what?

Now if you’ve followed me long enough you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of you celebrating your wedding day your way, whatever that looks like. I love sitting down with a couple to discuss their plans, and helping them to consider all the options. Sometimes they have no idea about what they want, and sometimes they’ve been to a few weddings and have a good idea about what they don’t want. I consider it my job to give you all the info and inspo for you to mix and match to make the ceremony exactly what you want.

One area that I’m excited to give options on is the processional (walking in) of the bridal party. Traditionally it has been the bride (with or without her parents) and the bridesmaids/ring person/flowergirls who walk down the aisle to be greeted by very nervous smiling groom and his groomsmen. Which is amazing and can be one of the most emotional parts of the ceremony for the bride and/or groom. But …. what if we have a little fun, and invite the groom and his boys to walk into the ceremony space, before the bridal party to his own piece of music?

I’ve had three grooms choose this option so far, and they have all absolutely rocked it! It really created a fun vibe right from the word go. Each groom chose a different piece of music, which was fun and reflected him and his personality, and the smiles on their faces changed the feeling in the space. In all three cases the guests cheered and clapped and whopped it up as the boys strolled in. The guests knew they were in for a ceremony that was going to be fun.

I love this option because it gives the groom a chance to say “Hey, it’s my wedding too!” Most times I have suggested it to a couple the bride has totally been behind it, supporting him to make a decision, and also knowing that it will not take away from her walking down the aisle. Logistically, how it works is, the guests are moved into place with about 5 mins to go, the boys hang around towards the back of the space, I introduce myself and let the guests know any housekeeping and the couples wishes regarding photographs etc, then we hit play on the music and the groom and his boys stroll up the aisle and take their place to my left, there is usually a short time space and then the brides processional starts, the guests stand and the bridal party arrive.

It’s a way of acknowledging that the groom’s role in the wedding is just as important as the bride, it’s a way of having some fun, and making your ceremony all about you, your story and your personality. I love this option so much I have created a “Grooms Processional Songs” on Spotify, so head over there and take a look. I’m also completely open to suggestions for songs to go on the list so let me know if you have any ideas.

Grooms Processional Songs on Spotify

I’m married AF

I’ve been married nearly half my life, coming up 20 years July 2019, so I feel somewhat qualified to talk about marriage. I can actually only really talk about my own marriage, because I have no idea how other couples navigate their own relationships, and quite frankly that really has nothing to do with me.

If you can’t be silly with your husband, who can you be silly with?

So what does marriage mean to me?

To me it means sharing my life with someone who I love.

To me it means that I will share the great experiences, the fun stuff, the adventures, the travel, the life-changing stuff (like the kid arriving and the raising of him) and the silly conversations, it also means that he’ll be there for the not so great things too, like sickness, like grumpy days, like depression, like those times when things don’t turn out the way you wanted them too. He’ll be there for those times, when I can’t make up my mind what I want to eat, when I really want to figure out how to do something myself and get frustrated when I need to ask for help, and when I make less than stellar decisions, and I need him to help me pick up the pieces. For me it doesn’t mean that I become one with him, because literally I’m not sure how that would happen, and I’m my own person, always have been, always will be, just like he is. It also doesn’t mean that I love everything little thing about him, because there are definitely things about him, that absolutely drive me up the wall, and I’m sure there are things that he is not so enamoured by me either, but it does mean that I love his vibe, I love his values, and his outlook on life.

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For me it means that we’ll dig in deep when the sh#t hits the fan, because we’re both committed to making this work. It means that we always love hard, but that we love harder when things are not quite as amazing as they can be. It means that I can be completely honest with him, about how I’m feeling about all the things, because that is what he signed on for. It also means that I will stop and listen to him when he needs to off load. It means that I can’t promise to fix all the things that are wrong, but that I will always be there to help him figure it out, and then cheer him on. It means that I honour and respect myself, and know that occasionally I need time to myself to work on myself, to help me grow into the person I need to be and that I know he needs time to follow his own passion, whatever that looks like.

It means knowing that I will continue to love him, in all the different forms he will encompass throughout our lives together, just as I hope he will for me. Because we are definitely not the same people we were when we stood before each other, and our friends and family and promised to love each other on our wedding day.

And frankly I can’t think of a better person to share this crazy thing called life with!

Banish the word should from wedding planning

The word “should” it’s quite a small word, quite simple, but it has the power to make you reassess your ideas about what you and your partner want your wedding day to look and feel like.

It has the power to create arguments and resentment between you and your family and/or bridal party.

It has the power to make you spend way more money than you actually need and/or want to.

It has the power to make you feel like you’re not good enough, or your wedding isn’t going to be good enough.

So let’s remove the word ‘should’ and give yourself the freedom to use the word ‘could’ instead!

How to be the most awesome wedding guest ever.

How to be the most awesome wedding guest ever!

To be invited to a wedding is an absolute honour and privilege, it is absolutely not a give in, just because you’re the bride’s best friend’s mother’s brother, and it should be treated as such!
There are some things that will make you the absolute best wedding guest ever!
*Never assume you will be invited (and don’t hassle the bride) there are so many factors that go into planning a wedding (budget, venue, location) that not everyone will be invited.
*Always RSVP, this is one of the hardest parts of planning a wedding, co-ordinating the RSVP’s, so make the brides day by yes’ing or no’ing as soon as you can.
*Don’t ask to bring a plus one, if it hasn’t been stipulated on the invitation for you to bring one.
*Adhere to the dress code – there are only two occasions in life where dressing up is required, weddings and funerals, so honour the occasion, by leaving the tracksuits and crocs at home and donning a suit or appropriate dress.
*Arrive on time – don’t make the bride wait because you’re late, don’t be the person creeping in at the back late. If you’re not sure where you’re going beforehand, google it and download the map!
*Don’t take photos, especially if you’re told by the celebrant etc not to. Some occasions in life don’t need to be seen through the lens of a phone or ipad!
*Don’t think that you’re the funniest person alive by mentioning to the groom when he’s waiting for the bride “it’s not too late to run” it is possibly the most disrespectful thing to say at the wedding.
*Don’t get stinking drunk and hit on every one with a pulse.
*Dont spend the whole wedding reception on your phone, not engaging with the other guests.
Be excited to be in a space where love is honoured and act accordingly.

How to fight.

Any one who’s been in a relationship longer than five minutes knows that you will inevitably have an argument at some point. I mean of course you will because you are expecting two people to come together and share their lives together, two people who come from completely different backgrounds, have different relationship role models and have different personalities, it’s a wonder any relationships make it at all!

Yes, you’re going to fight, but how are you doing it, and is your style of fighting a help or hindrance in your relationship.  Here’s a few things to think about before that little petty, nagging argument turns into WW3.

Agree that fighting is normal and a sign of a healthy relationship.  If you didn’t fight it meant that you didn’t care enough about your relationship, and it’s completely normal to disagree, but it’s how you argue that’s going to make or break your bond.

Don’t go for the low blow.  Don’t resort to name calling or playing on your partners insecurities, it’s not cool, and it’s not really going to do anything in helping you resolve the issue your arguing about.  This is the person that you love, do you really want to hurt them like that?

Be honest.  Don’t say what you think your partner wants to hear, instead of what you actually think.

Don’t read your partners mind.  You don’t always know what’s going on in the other person’s head, and it can be a dangerous game to assume.

Take responsibility for your own part.  Successful partnerships require both partners to take ownership of their own stuff, their mistakes, assumptions, and not blame everything on the other person.  As the saying goes “It takes two to tango!”

Don’t run from the fight.  It’s definitely easy to walk away from a fight, and bury your head in the sand and pretend that everything’s hunky dory but … it won’t go away, it will continue to show up in your relationship over and over again, until you deal with it.

Don’t fight when you are hungry (hangry) or tired or distracted. These three scenarios are the perfect storm for a fight to escalate to the next level, and sometimes the very reason that could be arguing in the first place is that you are hangry, tired or distracted.

Acknowledge the other’s feelings and point of view.  Just because you acknowledge the other’s feelings, doesn’t mean that you are agreeing with them.  All anyone wants in an argument is to know that what they are saying and feeling is being heard by the other person.

Fight about one thing at a time.  It’s so easy to go from fighting about spending money to move on to why the other person is never home, to how they don’t pull their weight around the house to how they always leave the toilet seat up.  You need to stay on track and if you go off on a tangent then rein it in back to the original issue you started with.

Don’t text fight. Or email or DM or any of today’s modern ways of communicating. Texting is possibly the easiest way in the world to misconstrue the meaning behind a message, because there are no facial expressions, or tone of voice to help frame a message. Keep it to face to face or phone.

Take turns talking, and let the person finish what they want to say before you start talking.  Listening with out interrupting or mentally thinking about your response is one of the hardest skills to master, but one of the most important.  Each person needs to have the opportunity to state their case.

Ultimately you need to remember that it’s completely normal and even healthy to argue, it means that you are passionate about your relationship, and feel safe and secure enough to share how you feel with your partner.  One thing that sticks in my mind is the thought that in the big picture we are a team, and that we both need to feel happy, fulfilled and content with our relationship.

How not to be a dick!

All you need is love … and to not be a dick when planning your wedding.

Weddings are stressful, and expensive and hard work. There we said it! The process of planning a wedding will probably be one of the biggest, most expensive  things you will ever do in your life, and because you’re only planning on doing it once, you absolutely want to do it right the first time.

But … that doesn’t mean that you get to be a dick!

How not to be a dick to your vendors: Yes your wedding is super important to you, and you want it to go perfectly, and you want to get the most bang for your buck, and weddings are expensive. Vendors all know this, and most vendors have been around the block a few times so will definitely have advice and maybe even tips and professional tricks to help you make your day the absolute best. The old saying “You get more flies with honey” or something along these lines, definitely rings true here. Vendors are people too, who have lives and kids and sometimes other jobs too, so they will not necessarily be at your beck and call all hours of the day and night, to answer those 3am questions that you just have to ask at 3am! All vendors ask is that they are treated with respect, that you respect that they are people too, and should be treated with courtesy and like the professionals that they are. Building a relationship with a vendor starts from that very first enquiry.

How not to be a dick to your bridesmaids: You’re excited about planning your wedding, and are just as excited that you’re going to have your girls beside you to enjoy the journey with you.  Sometimes your girls are not as excited (and/or consumed) about the wedding as you may be, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t be a tremendous support and help to you, leading up to the wedding and of course on the day. Weddings can make or break some friendships, usually because the bride has very high expectations for the level of involvement they require of their bridesmaids.  You need to think carefully before you choose your girls, especially if you have friends who have high flying careers and work alot, or friends who are planning on getting pregnant or have small children, or friends that live on the other side of the world. In my honest opinion when asking your friends to be bridemaids, have a very honest conversation about the level of involvement, and cost of the wedding. If you require your bridesmaids to attend weekly planning meetings and pay for an overseas hen’s weekend and a very expensive dress (that they probably won’t ever wear again, let’s be honest), then lay that out on the table before it becomes ugly and friendships are strained.

How not to be a dick to friends and family: Sometimes your family wants to pay (or help pay) for the wedding, sometimes they don’t. And sometimes if they want to pay or at least contribute, then they may impose some conditions on their offer. They may feel as though that entitles them to add some extras to the guest list, or decide what alcohol will be provided. Once again communication is key when dealing with these issues, you need to be able to stand up to the family (as a united front), if you need to, and you need to be able to walk away from any offer if it feels like you’re going to be held to ransom. I think the most important thing is to have a clear idea of how you see your day going, stick to your guns, if you need to and be polite but fair with well meaning friends and family.

How not to be a dick to each other: Just because you’ve finally snagged your partner and promised to marry them, doesn’t give you licence to be a dick to them. After all this is the person you’re choosing to spend the rest of your life with. Weddings, and especially the last couple of weeks, can be incredibly stressful for a couple. You have friends and family giving you their two cents worth, you may have different priorities and ideas about your wedding, and there may be huge financial pressure on you both. So it’s incredibly important to communicate and be kind to each other. I’ve seen many a bride go off her nut at a groom at the rehearsal because he didn’t do what he was supposed to do when he was supposed to do it, or usually it’s because he just didn’t know what he was supposed to do.

Being a bride doesn’t mean you get to be a dick too.

 

Why the nerves? You’re only getting married!

All you need is love and … to remember why you’re there.

It’s pretty common knowledge that weddings bring out the nerves and stress in almost everyone, and if they say they’re not nervous they’re normally lying.

But, why are we nervous? There are normally two reasons why a bride or groom are nervous of their wedding day.  They are freaking out about  the actual act of getting married, because OMG I’m committing to spend the rest of my life with one person, or it’s OMG I’m standing up the front of 100ish people and they are all looking at me!  In my experience it’s door number two 99% of the time (the OMG I’m standing in front of everyone reason)  In most cases a really really jittery bride or groom (like full on cold feet, I don’t know if he’s really the one for me, can I do this for the rest of my life) will have resolved those feelings before the wedding, or they should have.

So let’s break down some of the reasons, you may be nervous on your wedding day.

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“I’m worried I’m going to trip over, because I’m not used to wearing this big puffball of a dress or these heels.”  In this case you practice, practice, practice walking in that dress with those shoes until you can do it with your eyes closed, you walk slowly, and you lean on the arm of who ever is escorting you. And if you trip, then you shake it off, laugh and keep going. In my experience I have had one bride trip (not fall over) and she laughed, and the guests laughed and it broke the ice, and you could visibly see her relax.  And of course there’s no rules that state you have to wear heels under that puffball of a dress, flats, chucks, sneakers or even jandals will all be perfect if no one can even see them.

“I’m worried because everyone’s going to be looking at me.”  If you are one of those people that get in a cold sweat and break out in hives at the thought of having to walk down the aisle and have everyone stare at you, then maybe a big wedding isn’t how you should celebrate the start of your marriage, maybe you should go with a small intimate wedding and then have a big party with all 200 of your family and friends.  If you’re worried about the actual walk down the aisle, then feel free to mix it up and not walk, but just appear at the altar from the side, or ask your partner to meet you from the car and then walk down the aisle together, or even just mingle with your guests before the ceremony and then come together when you start.

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“I’m worried that something won’t go according to my schedule, and the whole day will be ruined.”  In essence a wedding is about two people who love each other the mostest and are committing to spend their lives together, and it’s also about friends and family, it’s not about centerpieces and place cards and chair covers, they are all nice to have, but your wedding is about all the feels, and your chair covers not matching your place cards matching your centerpieces should not affect the feel of your wedding day.  Once you have done everything you can leading up to the wedding day, on the day you need to relax and let it go and enjoy having everyone you love in the same room.

“What if I stuff up my vows?” Take your time, everyone there at your wedding, doesn’t have any where else to be, otherwise they wouldn’t be there in the first place. You are standing in front of your friends and family, and the reason they’re all there is because they love and support your and your partner, so what if you stuff up the lines? A good celebrant will make you feel relaxed (well as relaxed as you can be, considering) and help you if you stumble.

Just remember that it’s completely normal to be a tad nervous on your wedding day, but don’t be so overwhelmed that you forget why you’re there and actually enjoy yourselves.

 

 

 

 

Different is good!

I love what I do, and I’m pretty sure that’s no secret to anyone who knows me or has been married by me. I have a really incredible job (and if you love what you do then it definitely doesn’t feel like a job, right?) I’m lucky enough to have the opportunity to meet couples, all different types of people, from all different backgrounds and jobs and lifestyles and income brackets who all have one thing in common.

They have found the one person, out of all the billions of hearts in the world, who they love and who loves them, and they want to tell that person “I’m  all in!”

New Zealand Wedding Photographer
Photo provided by Acorn Photography

I believe love and our love stories should be treated with respect and delicate hands, they are after all, our stories, the narration of our journey as a couple. I believe our stories should be listened to, and commented on, and sometimes I shed a tear over the good or the hard, or the unjust of the story, and usually we laugh over the fun, the awkward and the miscommunication of feelings, and a lot of the time I have to coax extra ‘stuff’ out of you, like ‘how did you feel about that’ because more often than not talking about all the ‘gooey’ feelings is hard. It’s not the usual Friday night activity of anyone to sit around and tell your loved one, ‘this is what I want to promise you in the future’ (maybe it should be, but that’s another story)

One of my favourite parts of the journey to get you married, is to find out more about you, your personalities and your relationship. I aim to find out as much as I can about your story so I can honour that and write you the best damn wedding ceremony I can! The more ‘gold’ you give me the better the ceremony will be! That’s why every wedding ceremony should be different, because every bride and every groom is different, every story is different, every relationship is different, every family is different,  so in theory every ceremony should be different.

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Photo provided by Kerry Hodge Photography

I have had a lot of guests come up to me after I’ve performed a wedding and say  ‘wow, that was different’ and ‘that’s not what I was expecting’ and ‘that ceremony was so them’ and the first few times I was a little taken aback, thinking that there was something wrong with my ceremonies being ‘different’ or ‘not the norm’ but the more I reflected on it the more I agreed with the statements. Yip my ceremonies are different, and they should be different, because every love story is different, and yes they are different, because I’m aiming to create a ceremony that you will remember, that the bride and groom will remember and the guests will remember, because two people have decided they’re in it for the long haul, people! That’s huge, and we should remember it! A ceremony should bring all the feels, it should take you on a journey, it should represent and narrate a love story between two amazing people who want to share these feelings with you, their loved ones. I believe a ceremony should be interactive, guests should feel comfortable sharing their feelings, they should feel comfortable laughing when they hear something they like (like when the bride shares her first impression of the groom and that hipster moustache he was trying to grow) applauding when they see something epic (like that first kiss) they should ugly cry if the mood strikes them (like when Dad is wiping tears away when he hands his little girl over at the altar) and they should be comfortable making some noise and waving their hands in the air (like they just don’t care) when the new Mr and Mrs (or Mrs and Mrs, or Mr and Mr) walk back down the aisle!

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Photo provided by Simone Jackson

For many many years, wedding ceremonies where ‘one size fits all’ there was a certain way you got married, with the same ceremony that was preformed for all the other weddings that took place , and it was boring as! If that’s how you want to get married then ‘go you!’ you do you, and more power to you! There are definitely people who are happy with that, and there are definitely people out there that will happily oblige you, but if you want a ceremony that reflects you and your relationship, one that is actually part of the day, one that sets the tone for the celebrations (not just the boring bit that needs to be done to get to the good stuff, like the cake and the champers) one that is fun, and personal and relaxed and different, then let me know I’d love you help you out!

 

Letter to my little boy

All you need is love…

I am the lucky mother to a loud, rambunctious, gorgeous, funny, smart 10 year old boy. And I know every mother thinks their child is the best thing since sliced bread, and I of course am no different. Everyday he delights me, makes me laugh, frustrates me and amazes me, and I thought I would take this chance (because I can and it’s my blog) to reflect on the last 10 years and to share some of my dreams for him going forward.

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Max and his Dad (Tristan) have been some of the greatest teachers in my life, they have both made me question my thoughts, my upbringing, my opinions, my beliefs and made me see what is truly important in life. I’m not saying that everything I thought was wrong, but when you choose to spend your life and start a family with someone then that’s when the fun really begins.  But shh don’t tell Tristan that he was occasionally right. I’ve found that having a life partner and child who challenges and questions you is not a bad thing, it is in fact how we grow.

What others think of you is none of your business Max has for the entire time he has been able to dress himself, not cared whether his pants have been on forward or backwards, and it absolutely drives Tristan crazy. I on the other hand have just learnt to live with it, ‘hey it’s not my pants’ and one time I said to him when I was taking a photo of him, ‘Hey Max, why don’t you put your pants on the right way, people will think you look weird?’ and he replied ‘Mum I don’t care what other people think!’ Boom, mind blown! Lesson learnt for me anyway.  Why do we care what others think of us? Don’t ever lose that, ever! One of the benefits of having a boy, is that he doesn’t give a monkeys butt what he wears, as long as it’s comfy and he can run, and climb and kick a soccer ball around he’s happy. Of course I am not so naive as to think this won’t change as he gets older, but I’m just going to enjoy it for as long as I can.

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Walk to the beat of your own drum There is no one else in the world exactly like you, and what a great responsibility that is. You were put here to share your gift with the world, and everyone has that one special gift that is uniquely you, and must be shared. Don’t let the world beat you down.  I believe that part of my job as a mother is to build you up and fill up your self-confidence bucket to overflowing. Because life is hard and people can be dicks, but if you are so full of confidence in who you are and that you are awesome, it won’t matter what people say or do to you.

Find your lobster There is no better feeling in the world, than finding that one person who lights you on fire. That person who makes you want to be a better person. That person who sees both your strengths and weaknesses and loves you anyway. All I want is for you to  find that person. Frankly I don’t care whether that person is a girl, a guy, black, white or red if you love them and I can see that in your eyes, I’ll be a happy camper.

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Treat everyone with respect Life is hard, and we have no idea what everyone else is going through so treat everyone you come in contact with, with the same level of respect and kindness. You are no better than anyone else on this planet, and no one else is better than you, but if you leave everyone you have contact with a little better than before then you are winning.

Travel as often and as far as you can. The world is a huge, fun, colourful, mind expanding place and you should enjoy as much of it as you can. Your little corner of the world is so different to almost every where else, and there is so much to see and do and eat. You will come home with a new appreciation for where you live.

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Find your passion I don’t really care what you do for a job, all I care about is that you find something that you are passionate about and work out how to make a living out of it. I don’t care if you make $500 or $5,000,000 as long as you can support yourself and be a productive member of society then I’m happy. We spend so much of our lives at work, so it makes sense to do something that we love, not just tolerate.

Make fun a priority Life is definitely way to short, so don’t get stuck in a rut of doing what you have to do and forgetting to do what makes you come alive. Mix things up occasionally, think outside the box, bring your family and friends together as much as you can.  Sometimes it’s ok to just be silly. I’m pretty sure that no-one looked back on their life from their death bed and wished they had way less fun in their lives.

Feel the fear and do it anyway Some times you need to push through the fear and like Nike say “Just do it!” Life is full of scary situations, and if it is big and scary and pushes you out of your comfort zone, then it can be a great thing to try. Of course that doesn’t include dumb things that could kill you! I am still your mother!

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Love Hard When you find your lobster love hard, make sure that your partner knows what they mean to you and how they make you feel, all the time, not just on special occasions. Treat them with respect, and always put them and your relationship above everyone and everything else. Know that there will be times when they will need your strength, but that it’s ok to need their support too. It’s OK to be soft and vulnerable and loving and still be a man, that is what in fact makes you a man. Know that all relationships require work, and marriage is no different. Communication is key. You will both need to learn how the other communicates and that will probably be one of the hardest lessons to learn but one of the most important.

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And know that you will always be my little boy, even when you are taller than me, smelly, hairy and eat like a horse. And that I am immensely proud of you and will love you forever. And that all you need is love.