You’re who I want to be. Every day I get the chance to be you. Every day I get the chance to be the most involved mama, the most gentle and loving mama who doesn’t yell or lose patience. Every day I get the chance to make gourmet meals, invent the most fun, educational games, and clean the house with the enthusiasm of Snow White and her forest friends.
But every day I fall short on one of those dreams. My house is clean and the kids are bored. The house is a disaster zone and the kids are happy. Amazing homemade food and DIY house products are whipped up, but then kitchen is a mess. I wish I could have it all. But in life, I realize, no one can have it all. Our time is so limited and just by the nature of choosing one activity, we are simultaneously choosing not to do something else. Seems obvious. But when you try to balance it all… it frequently leaves me feeling like a failure. The thing is, I’m not a failure. Nobody is making cook each meal from scratch and clean the house top to bottom and homeschool our kids and and and and. No body…except me. So how about I get my crap together and stop blaming myself for not accomplishing the impossible and focus on the possible? How about I set reasonable goals and stop obsessing over it all? How about I just enjoy the time I have with my kids while they are still “kids” and let the dust stare at me.
I now think that “having it together” is a frame of mind. Is my mind a peaceful place? Not when I obsess over what I cannot do in one day. I’m going to get my thoughts together and be a happy mama.
Because that’s who I want to be: the happy, joyful, carefree Mama that I know is inside of me.
I supposed I should've guessed there would be a letter to you. You were the reason I transitioned so well into life outside of my home. I was a shy little girl going to school, and you were the person who made going to school fun. You made me feel not alone. You were my first friend. That's a big honor for anyone. The first anything is always an honor and usually sets the bar high.
We were there for each for many moments: from big things like camping trips and playing baby dolls to the not-so-fun moments like trying to comfort me in 1st grade after a peeing of the pants incident at girl scouts. Yep. Mortifying. Yet, you stood by my side and that says a lot about a person especially in the cruel waters of elementary school. Throughout life you continued to demonstrate your integrity in all aspects of your life.
I'm not sure why we drifted apart. I know a part of it was my social awkwardness. You had big dreams and you didn't let anyone or anything slow you down. I'm so honored to have been your first friend and I wish you many happy blessings on your life.
There's so much to say to you yet I can't really tell you because you'd never listen long enough to hear what I'm really saying. You'd only hear judgment. And you'd be partially right. There would be judgment. I'm just being honest.
But you would fail to hear the part where I admit that I think I'm just like you. And it terrifies me to write that sentence for so many reasons. What is it they say? The faults we see in others are faults we often have ourselves. Scary. But let me tell you... it took a long time for me to come to terms with the truth in those words. It wasn't until I removed myself from the picture could I appreciate everything in a new light. We're not so different after all. In a way, I think I understand you more than most people. I get it. I really get it.
I'm sorry for not embracing you the way you hoped. Our paths crossed with unfortunate timing... or was it unfortunate? I supposed it happened the way that it was meant to happen, but I took out much hurt and frustration and fear on you. That wasn't right. It was easy but not right, and I'm sorry for that. I could've done a lot of things better. But mistakes are there for us to learn from them, and I did learn lessons: lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
I know that I wouldn't be here without you. I needed you and you were there for me. You were always there for me. That is a true demonstration of how to love - love when love is not returned. Love until it hurts.
Thank you. I hope you find the peace and love you so desperately need.
I've started and stopped this letter more times than I care to count.
Sometimes I miss the old me. I'm still obviously me, but I miss aspects of the old me. I know I've changed. People change. People grow up and mature, at least, they should mature. But that's another topic.
If I'm being honest, then I must say that I miss the carefree version of me before I had children. I miss not having to worry so much. Having kids changes you. That's hardly a new revelation. Everyone knows that. It changes everything: your body, your mind, your emotions, everything.
As a mama, it's all too easy for my mind to go to a dark place. When I listen to the news or read a story in the paper, I think in terms of "someone's baby." "Someone's baby" got in an accident or "someone's baby" did this or did that. People are not just people anymore. People from here on out are just someone's baby. That's it. At some point everyone on the planet was a just a crying baby in need of some lovin'. And for me... that was the end of a carefree existence. Which is not necessarily a bad thing. It just is the way it is now. It does open up new ways of thinking: empathy. Motherhood (and fatherhood) rips open your heart and makes you vulnerable in a way that cannot really be described. It's more than wearing your heart on your sleeve... it is ripping open your heart itself. What is love if not to be made vulnerable to pain or to sadness. Exposure and allowing yourself to be vulnerable is a true sign of love. If you're not willing to be open to being hurt, it's not love. (I do not imply physical abuse, if you or someone you know need help, go here.) Think about it... a baby cannot be born without pain. Even growing old with someone has the risk of pain of losing the other through death, even at the end of a long happy life. Love cannot happen without the openness to being hurt, because if we really love something, we are putting ourselves in the way to be hurt. But life without love, is sad and lonely. Love is worth the pain and sorrow that it's absence may cause us. Yes, that is it. Love does not hurt us. It is the threat of losing love that will hurt us.
But sometimes I miss being carefree. Having the weight of (someone's) world on your shoulders is a responsibility indeed, and it shouldn't be done lightly.
This was deep and real and raw. This is the reason I've started and stopped this letter so many times.
I cannot go back. I have opened myself up to unconditional love. It's scary. But I'd do it all over again.
Day 14: Someone you've drifted away from
I know why we drifted apart, and I know it's mostly my fault. But here's the truth.... I didn't let go soon enough. Yes, I thought we were awesome, but if you really liked me, you would've acted first. So I moved on and that's why we drifted apart. I don't regret it because I made the best decision of my life after that! So thanks for not making me all tied up!
Thought of the day: motherhood makes you more human. Caring for a little one allows you to truly love another unconditionally and selflessly.
Little man has a cold and I wish I could have it instead of him. My mama used to say that when I was sick but I never truly understood it until now. Real love is so very different from what the movies and tv show. Real love is sacrifice driven by the desire to will the good of another. You often hear of a "mother's love" but I never really got it until now.
Oh, how I love my little man.
To the person who has caused me the most pain:
You caused me to question the very meaning and purpose of pain and suffering. You made me contemplate which is worse: physical, mental, or emotional pain. Although, I suspect you caused me all three, rolled into one giant mess. Because you see, sometimes emotional pain is so great it feels worse than physical pain…. And then when you think it can’t get worse, it actually does morph and become physical pain. The three types of pain morph into one overall painful feeling. For some people, they just become numb, but not me. For me, I reached a point in my life – a type of unlocked emotional art supply. I wrote poetry like never before. I channeled my hurt and emotions into music, art, poetry, lyrics, and melodies. It was like my raw emotion held the key to understanding all art forms.
Anyway, you caused me to realize the purpose of this pain. That pain, while I would not wish to endure it again, made me who I am. I was like gold tested in fire. When I came out of the fire, I appreciated things – LIFE – in a way unlike before. You guided me to where I needed to be in life, and for that – thank you, my friend.
What would you say to someone who caused you pain? Can you take the 30 Day Letter Challenge?
Read more in An Open Letter to... available on Amazon.
Dear Grandma & Mum,
You were both such a huge part of my childhood, which helped shape me into who I am today. Even after you both died, you still helped to shape and guide me. I don’t know how to explain it…. But Mum, after you left, I would think “Would Mum like this type of music? What would Mum think if she saw me doing this?” So, in that way, thank you for being such important influences in my life. I wish I could bring Dana over to your houses for dinners. Dinner at your houses were both so different, but that odd mixture is who I am.
I hope you are up in Heaven, finally at true peace, watching over all of us.
I love you both.
I never saw your first smile or heard you take your first breath, but I held you inside of me. I never got to see your face with ice cream dripping down your chin, but I fed you life from inside.
I know you're in Heaven watching down on us. But sometimes my mind gets a little trippy when I think about that if you were here, your little brother wouldn't be. Did you have to go to make way for him? What does that say about your life ... or his?
We love you so much, my sweet baby. And one day in Heaven, I'll receive the gift of seeing your beautiful face.
A letter to someone who I don’t talk to as much as I’d like:
It’s funny (and sad) to see how much time and distance can change things. I miss talking to you as much as I did. In some bizarre fate of twist, I know that I would not be where I am without you. You see, we really are connected in a tangled and intricate web. The ripples we make in the water affect everyone. As the saying goes, “The fluttering of a butterfly's wings can effect climate changes on the other side of the planet” (Paul Erlich.) You may think we are not connected but we are. When I look back at pictures, I am happy. We needed each other. I know distance and time may only grow more, but never doubt that I am your friend.
You’ll never know how much it meant to me that you came to my wedding. Thank you, friend.
To Someone I Wish I Could Meet in Person,
I suppose this might be obvious for whom this letter is written. Anyway, when I was little I used to think that is was unfair that not everyone got to meet You in person. I remember I was in first grade and I wondered what it would be like to meet You – would You be intimidating or would You be so loving that it seemed like we were friends for a long, long time. What would our conversations be like? Old friends or new acquaintances?
I’m not in first grade anymore yet I still wonder – would it be like friends or like strangers meeting for the first time. I think the best analogy would be like when pen pals meet for the first time. You have this knowledge of the other person but something is different when you meet in the physical realm for the first time.
Anyway, one day, I hope, we’ll meet and I know it will be completely better than the first-grade me thought.
Wife & Mama with a passion for peaceful parenting, natural living, homeschooling... and my daily café au lait.