When you were little, a toddler and a baby, respectively, I sat one afternoon in the living room to record a video of things I thought would be important for you to know as you grew. I choose to write it now, not out of a fear I will not be here for you, rather out of a deep love.
As all the Christmas gifts of years passed are forgotten, I hope one day you will look at this as something I gave you that is a part of me, who I am, how I see the world, and part how I hope you will see the world. It is something to keep with you always so if time fades the day to day details, you will have this to remind you.
Most importantly; I love you. I so wanted both of you, as I did the baby between you that I miscarried at five months. I didn’t plan my entire life for you, but as my child bearing years waned I felt an indescribable desire for you. Not just a baby, but each of you, as individuals who I have the privilege of bearing, raising and knowing. I connected with each of your souls and loved you long before I saw your faces.
What ties us cannot be severed. I feel honored to have been chosen to be your mom. You were created by something beyond our limited imagination, and are much, much more than a scientific mass of cells. I am faithful and a believer a higher being, God, is in you and surrounds you. Respect it. Respect yourselves.
As I write this you are teenagers trying to find your way in the world, where you fit, what works and what doesn’t, taking risks, pushing the limits, looking at others to find yourselves; all the while fighting against the emotional upheaval and enormous loss that violence inserted into all our lives. You think I am over-protective and don’t let you experience the world. As your mother I want to soften the jagged edges until you are mature enough to take it on. Some edges simply cannot be softened, so I work with what I can.
It is a condition of youth to believe it goes on forever, but then you know differently, which saddens me greatly. There are no guarantees in life. It is best lived fully, yet reverently. It is too big an opportunity to waste or abuse. It was given you for a purpose and with a responsibility not to squander it.
You can make different choices, but you can’t change or undo the choices you’ve made. Make them thoughtfully. Choose happiness and joy as much as possible. Sadness comes as part of the package. Just don’t give it too much power. It changes with time. Like the tide, it can be destructive eroding everything around it as it pulls, or it can flow out gently to expose beautiful things you have never noticed before.
It’s okay to be sad and cry when something hurts. Fighting the process prolongs the pain. Keep your eye on the other side of it though. All things pass.
Life is neither fair nor unfair. There will be times when you feel you hold the world in your hand. Be humble. There will also be times you will feel the pressure of all the world on you.
Believe in yourself. Do your best. Believe your best is good enough. If it doesn’t feel good enough to you, you probably aren’t doing your best. Try again. When your confidence waivers, believe in yourself, again.
Care for others without losing yourself. Care for yourself without losing others. Give and love generously and without expectation. Be open to receiving and allow love to come back to you. What comes to you may take a different form and may not look like a gift initially, or look like the same love you gave. It is not always from who you wished it to be, but trust the universe in the process. Love will find you.
Be kind. I am challenged with impatience, shortness, and frustration and continually work on that. But at my core I have no malice, no animosity towards any person. When people are unkind to you, it is not about you. It is about them. Focusing on what is positive doesn’t leave room for negatives to flourish.
Respect other people. Disagreements are not a license to roll in the mud. Keep your end of things clean.
Play. Laugh a lot. Smile, at yourself, at others. Even strangers, which you know I do. It is the quickest way to make a friend, even if only for that brief moment. Smiling is a bridge from isolation. Connection is life.
Learn to cook. I cook as a language of love. Besides nourishment, it is comfort and you can extend yourself to others through it. Take time to sit and eat with others.
Take the right path which is many times the hardest path. You will sleep better at night.
Admit and apologize when you are wrong; don’t insist when you are right. You will sleep better at night.
I hope you will choose your partners, whoever they will be, wisely. Be whole in yourselves and come together with the idea of building something joint between you, but remain individuals who complement each other. You will never find something missing in you in someone else. Bring it with you. Honor one another. Focus on their best attributes, let them bring out yours. Be willing to do the work. It doesn’t come easy. The reward is worth the work.
I have not been perfect in any of these things. I accept my humanness is a terribly imperfect state. All the same I try to be a good person. I don’t look down on people, I don’t judge. I try to offer cheer and help as needed.
Remember you are never alone. You just think you are. Along with God, you are unaware just how many people love you and want only peace and happiness for you. I have been fortunate and grateful to be surrounded by people who lift me up when I am low. Despite periods of sadness, overall my life has been a happy one. I am stubborn and have not let anyone take what is mine. Sometimes that has required fighting for it. I consider happiness very much something I will gladly share but not give away.
Of all the things I have experienced in my life, being your mom has been the sole most awesome, rewarding, fulfilling and surprising… and sometime challenging…part of it. I am not your average mom, rather quirky and stubborn; sometimes irritable, most times yielding. I am just me.
I will leave you with the final sentiment my own parents left in a letter they wrote to my sisters and I: Be happy children, and live long and joyful lives.
Bless you and love you,