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To my children: Hoping for the 'best'

Sometimes, when I look down at you while you're sleeping, your faces so peaceful, your bodies curved up in that oh-so familiar slumbering pose (how funny that you both sleep the same way -bum in the air, hands warm and cozy tucked under your tummies)

Sometimes, when I look down at you while you're sleeping, your faces so peaceful, your bodies curved up in that oh-so familiar slumbering pose (how funny that you both sleep the same way -bum in the air, hands warm and cozy tucked under your tummies), it's hard not to feel the enormity of being your parent.

In that moment, when I lean down and kiss your forehead, pull up the blankets and make sure (for the 100th time that night) that you are indeed still breathing, I realize that these years, these sleepless, tantrum-y years, are really the easy ones.

Right now, you're too little to argue about more than whether or not you can eat cereal in the living room, and you're too young to storm out of the house after a fight. But before long, you'll be old enough to go where you want, and be friends with whoever you choose and probably break curfew a few times along the way. Those years frighten me already.

And someday, beyond the teen years, our little nest will be empty again.

Is there possibly enough time between now and then for all the things we hope you'll learn before you're out in the world on your own?

We hope, for example, that you'll learn, even when doors are being slammed and "I hate you's" being screamed, that your sibling can be your best friend, a true constant in an ever changing world.

We hope you don't let the drunk guy drive, no matter how short the trip home. We hope you realize much earlier than we did that, in fact, smoking doesn't look cool and stinks really badly (and yep, we'll still recognize the smell even if you drove home with the windows down).

We hope you lose sometimes. In sports. On a test. At a job interview. Not because we'll enjoy watching you suffer a defeat, but because getting back up and trying again will be more valuable to you in the long run than easy success. Cliche, but true.

We hope you remember that what you see is not what you get: outer beauty does not equal honesty, kindness, goodness or loyalty. Choose your friends based on values that last; judge yourself by your actions and the way you treat others. In a world that tells you otherwise, listen to your mother: the brand of your clothes, the type of car you have and how "cool" you are means very, very little.

We hope you get a part-time job when you're about 16, and we hope it's hot, sweaty, thankless work at minimum wage -because someday, when you're standing on the other side of the service counter looking at an underpaid worker, you'll remember to treat them the way you wished you'd been treated: with respect.

We hope you find true love, not too young, not too old, but when the time is right. And, news flash: we don't care who you love, if they are the same colour or a different colour; the same nationality or a different one; the same gender or the opposite. Here's what we care about: that you love them well. That they love you well. That, above all else, they are your best friend.

We don't care if you become a doctor or a lawyer or a plumber or a mechanic. Do what you want to do; make an honest day's work of it, be happy.

We hope you'll learn to care as much about the planet as you do about your hairdo; that you'll spend as much time learning about the world's religions and cultures as you do talking about teen heartthrobs and video games.

We hope you both find the strengths in your genders, and leave behind the stereotypes. You can be a girl without being a drama queen, a diva or a beauty queen. You can be a boy without being aggressive, a bully, or a jock. See the opposite gender as friends, not enemies; as teammates, not opponents.

Most of all, we hope that you remember, when you are utterly convinced that we don't care and can't possibly understand, that we do. We really, really do. Because all we've ever wanted for you is the best -not the most perfect, or the most wealthy, or the most picturesque, or the most cool -but the best life that the world can offer.

Christina Myers is a reporter with the Burnaby NOW. She has two children, aged 13 months and four years. Follow her at www.twitter.com/ChristinaMyersA or send her e-mail at cmyers@burnabynow.com.