Thank you Jody McKitrick for sharing these wise words and beautiful photos with us! From Jody, to her daughter Stella:
Here’s a bit of advice: when you are in a class and your instructor asks you to sit in a circle, never ever sit right next to the instructor. Inevitably, the teacher will ask a question and will want everyone to go around the circle and give an answer. If you are sitting right next to her, then you are either going to be first or last. If you are first, you’ll find yourself caught off-guard and struggling to come up with an answer that doesn’t make you sound like a bafoon. If you are last, by the time it’s your turn, all of the good answers will have already been taken and really, no one is listening to you at that point anyway. I know this from experience. Being the goodie-goodie that I am, at your father’s and my first parenting class, I, of course, sat right next to our instructor (apparently I hadn’t learned my lesson). Sure enough, she begins the session by asking, “What trait of your spouse, do you most want your child to have?” Panicking (because I was first) I blurted out “His lips!”…
That was the best I could come up? I’m sure at that point all the other parents-to-be were thrilled because, come on, any answer after that had to better than mine. To be fair, your daddy has very nice lips, but there are so many other qualities your father has that I hoped you would have. For example, his ability to always know the location of his car keys and iPhone (unlike your mother who will lose them 30 seconds after frantically tearing apart the house looking for them). His dedication to exercising regularly no matter how late he stayed up watching Archer and eating Thin Mints. His grammar skills (minus his tendency to correct me—unless I’m asking him to proofread this and then yes, please correct me). His pro-activeness; when your dad makes up his mind to do something, he GETS.IT.DONE. This can drive me crazy but it’s a good balance to my procrastinating ways. He would have had this letter written weeks ago and the next one already drafted. I hope you have his brains (but my common-sense please), his idealism, his dance moves (definitely not mine!), and his laugh… well not exactly HIS laugh because that would be weird coming out of your tiny body but how about his love to laugh?
Mostly though, I hope you inherit your dad’s love of family. I realize that this isn’t exactly a trait, but when I watch your dad with you, I want this for you and your children too. We had no idea at this parenting class what we were getting ourselves into. How you would change our lives. How you would make us better. And no idea of the amazing person you would become—how could we ever?
I guess if I could go back to the parenting class I would say the exact same thing: “His lips!” because I wouldn’t want you any different than you are today.
P.S. I think you may have gotten your Dad’s lips after all."