The value of being lady-like. How to braid hair. How to nurture a baby. How to clean a house, and cook a whole meal, and bake cookies. To take care of myself, usually for the wrong reasons. To be self-critical. How to swear like a sailor. That a mother’s love sometimes cannot be felt. That there is beauty in old age, and it’s far more profound than the idiotic beauty of youth. That men will leave you, but children are permanent. That you should keep your last name, if only as a reminder of a time where you were an individual with selfish needs and goals. That men will only go as far as you let them, but sometimes you won’t even remember where to draw the line. That sometimes you will erase the line for them. To put everybody else first, only to resent them for it. That high school doesn’t end after graduation, and if you were the quirky, weird, odd girl out back then, you will probably be that person the rest of your life. That you do catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, but in the end you might end up with more insects than you originally wanted. That heartbreak can kill you, but your death certificate will read something inane, like leukemia. That there is a difference between acquaintances and friends. That no, can sometimes mean yes. And vice-versa. That we are our own worst enemies, first, last and always. That sometimes, only a woman will understand where you are coming from, and exactly what you are saying. That we change our minds often, but our hearts are resolute. That a mother’s kiss, can cure a boo-boo. That too often we equate beauty with perfection, forgetting that our imperfections are what make us unique, and therefore beautiful. That sometimes we hold on to the immature, childish dreams of youth, blinding ourselves to the wondrous present available to us now. That I don’t need permission to be who I am, but I yearn acceptance and recognition, just like everybody else does.