If you died tomorrow, what advice would you leave your kids? Spinoff Parents editor Emily Writes reflects on her life in typically melodramatic fashion.
I was on Willis Street, holding a coffee, waiting for the lights when I tripped. I tripped in my lovely new boots from The Warehouse. This is not a sponsored post – The Warehouse didn’t pay me to mention their near-death-knee-high boots – but I mention them because it was the boots that almost did me in.
It really did happen in slow motion, like they say it does. I tripped very slowly and then very slowly my head went into the space that a bus was about to hurtle through. Everybody gasped and the man behind me reached out. I don’t know if he pulled me, or I just regained my balance, but the bus took a bit of my hair and I very nearly almost shit my pants right there outside Unity Books.
The man behind me said “Holy shit.” And “Are you OK?” And I nodded and we walked across the lights together and he took my arm and I said “Oh I lost my balance or something” and he looked at me and blinked a few times and said “yeah”. And then he said: “Have a nice uh day.”
And I walked two more steps and then burst into tears.
My life had flashed before me – Dwayne The Rock Johnson running along a beach, the bartender at Ivy winking at me as she gave me a “big pour”, Zac Efron and Alexander Skarsgård helping each other put baby oil on their muscles, Jason Momoa emerging from a body of water. Idris Elba saying “I am aware of the effect I have on women”. Then my children. My favourite first and then the other one. My husband. The 1968 Alice Cooper Sunset Strip tee shirt that my uncle has that still hasn’t been passed down to me. A spa pool I would never own. Lemmy at the gates of Hell holding a bottle of Jack and a packet of Marlborough Reds.
And then it was over.
And I was alive.
And thankfully I wouldn’t be buried under a headstone that said “she wrote that thing about Tarzan”.
For the rest of the day I felt shaky. I picked the kids up from kindy – gave them extra kisses and then sat them in front of the TV and ignored them so I could write about how much I enjoy parenting.
What lessons would I pass on to my children? I thought. Is it too early for a glass of wine? I also thought.
Did I have some wisdom to leave my children? When I die, will they search for answers and find in my drafts folder barely comprehensible Octonauts erotica? Will they look for lines for my eulogy and instead find 15 different comprehensive arguments including citations into why Ben Affleck is the superior Affleck?
I realised I had to do something. I had to get all of the important things I know and put it into one blog post – for my children, for my legacy. So here it is: all I have learned in my 31 (32 on Sunday Hey-Oh!) years on this Godforsaken planet (jokes kids, it’s a good planet even though it probs will be under water by the time you’re my age. Thanks Donald Trump you fetid orange wilted penis).
OK here it is.
Don’t get tattoos until you can afford good ones. Wait until you’re 30 at least. Don’t look at me like that. I know what I’m talking about. I almost got Blink 182 as a knuckle tattoo OK. Oh you want real examples now do you?
Well, your mother got an entire back tattoo of Pink Floyd. Yes, you heard me right. Yes, I’m well aware that nobody likes Pink Floyd that much. I was 18 alright. I was very committed to making poor decisions when I was 18. It was almost a hobby.
That’s not all. You know Latin? Yeah, neither do I. Which is why I have a Latin tramp stamp that doesn’t say what I thought it says. See I thought it said “Through Hardship To The Stars” which is very romantic don’t you think? But actually it’s the Hamilton Boys High motto. Through Hardwork Comes Success. Yes, I know, I don’t like hard work.
And yes, you heard right – your mother has the Hamilton Boys High motto across her ass. If that doesn’t upset you enough, your father calls it “The Scenic Route”.
I wish I could end there but I can’t. Do you know the worst song on the planet? Imagine it. Yes, Imagine – John Lennon. Guess who got the lyrics tattooed onto her when she was 19? Yes, your mother did. Add in there a tattoo from Bangkok that probably says “Cracker Tourist” and are you starting to get a picture now of why I am giving you this advice?
Tattoos are great, but you need good ones, and you need money. If you can walk in off the street – it’s not a good tattoo. If it costs less than $100 – it’s not a good tattoo. A good tattoo isn’t cheap and a cheap tattoo isn’t good. A good tattoo artist is booked a lot – they should have a bit of a wait list. Think about whether you’re OK with having colour and black and grey. At 32 I am dead-set committed to being a goth soccer mum but I have coloured tattoos and I only want black and grey tattoos. And I can’t fix that children. I just have to deal with it. Life is that hard for me OK. Do you want that to be your life?
So that about sums up all I’ve worked out in my time as your mother. I would add just one thing:
Be like your father.
Be like your father.
Be simple like he is. People say people are simple like it’s an insult. It’s not. Simple is good. Be wary of people who think being complex and complicated is a sign of intelligence or superiority. It’s not.
It’s OK to crave a simple life. It’s good to be a simple person with simple needs. Your father’s only want in life was you both. And now that you’re here, he just wants you to be happy. That’s it. Each night he kisses you good night and he lingers by your door. I watch him, watching you – and I can see his happiness in what he has.
You will see that some people chase wealth, fame, success and status. Some people only want bright and shiny things. Be like your dad – find happiness and joy in creating something lasting. A life well lived. Love well and you’ll be loved.
Be a good partner.
You should know that when you are asleep your father always gets me dessert – it’s different each night. Sometimes it’s a caramel cookie, some expensive chocolate, or a smoothie with ice cream. He makes me sit on the couch, he puts my feet up and as he hands me dessert he says “relax”. He kisses me on the forehead and says I love you. Every night he does this. Be like your father, be a good partner. Let them know that you are always there for them no matter what. Cherish them.
Be like your father. Let go of grudges. Don’t hold on to pain or sadness. Serve. It’s a special thing to be able to serve others. People would have you believe that the only way to be in this life is to lead. You don’t have to do that. Service is a gift. The strongest men are those who find ways to help everyone, regardless of whether they gain anything from doing so. Serve from your heart and you’ll show the way for others.
You will know by now that your father is a kind and gentle man. And this is the type of man you should aspire to be. Like him, I hope you find joy in the little things. I hope like him you forgive easily and show love often. I hope you’re patient like him because then you’ll see in time that things work out as they’re meant to.
Listen to him, he’s wiser than your mama is. When he says show respect for everyone – garbage man or doctor – remember that he says this because he hasn’t always been treated kindly, fairly, or with respect. He has worked many, many hard and long days for you. But ask him – and he’ll tell you that it was always worth it for you.
Respect Papatūānuku like your dad does. Look at his rough hands and know that he can teach you so much – make sure he does. Tikanga Māori will guide you. Listen to your dad talk about the home of your tīpuna, Rēkohu. Never forget in all that you do that you are children of Nunuku-whenua. And you carry peaceful resistance in your manawa.
If you have children, be like your father.
And I know your life will be beautiful as mine has with you.
Love, your mama x
P.S Don’t watch MMA though, it’s violent and it will rot your brain.
This content is entirely funded by Flick, New Zealand’s fairest power deal. In the past year, their customers saved $489 on average, which would buy enough nappies for months… and months. Please support us by switching to them right now.
The Spinoff Daily gets you all the days' best reading in one handy package, fresh to your inbox Monday-Friday at 5pm.