Day 29: A Letter To My Son

Hello There Boy,

This is your letter. It’s a special one. I’ve been baking it, pondering it and at times wrestling with it for a few weeks now. I knew I would get it here eventually, it’s just been a process. One day you will understand what a process is, for now don’t you worry about it.

A decade, that’s how long you’ve been around, and from the moment you entered our lives you have been loved, treasured and cherished, that won’t ever change, no matter what the future holds, your place in our hearts is secure and safe and growing daily.

Some days I catch myself looking at you and just shaking my head because I cannot believe how fast time has flown! My memories are so fresh that I can still smell the powder and wipes scent of your nursery.

I love it that you remember special things too! Like the time I imprinted you with the scent of lavender!! I guess it was a form of brainwashing – making you smell the crushed flowers as I smothered you with kisses and hugs, telling you to remember how much I love you every time you smell lavender – but I don’t regret it, not when you still bring it up every now and then when you find a lavender bush!

You also remember some of my less stellar parenting moments… For all of the times I have let you down, or not done the right thing by you I am so sorry. I promise you I am trying to do the best I can, I am learning and growing every day just like you.

I love how complex you are, and you have been since the day you were born! One of my most vivid memories is of pushing you through the hospital corridors in one of those plastic tubs they put all new babies in. I had just given you a bath, and I looked down at you and there you were; this little bundle with black  spiky hair and dark blue eyes, peering up at me as if questioning my ability to pull this whole mothering caper off! Well, you’re still breathing, so I guess for the most part I’ve done okay.

You’ve walked alongside me through some of the darkest and most traumatic days of my life, and they have  revealed in you a tenderness that takes my breath away. I will never forget that morning when you awoke to me crying, you climbed up into my lap  as I explained that the baby in my tummy had died, you looked into my eyes with an understanding I would have found surprising in a grown man. The feel of your little hand in mine through that long day of hospitals and despair was an anchor that I may never be able to fully explain, but if I suddenly lost every memory I ever had, I am sure that the feel of your hand within mine would anchor me once more.

I love that you have a beautiful respect for life, all life. Especially those without a voice, those who cannot defend themselves, you are a brave defender. There is no cruelty in you, no viciousness or darkness that I see in so many other boys your age. You are an example of what real strength can look like. Kind, genuine, caring, brave and strong, don’t be afraid to be different from those around you, often they are just waiting for the right person to follow. That person is you, be the leader I know is inside of you. Anyone can pick up a weapon and bring death – but it takes a very special person to inspire people to live. It is all within you – keep letting it come out.

You are growing into a wonderful young man, I want you to know just how proud I am to be your mother. While there will be many things that will change over then next few years I want you to know that there are some things that will never change – no matter how much time goes past:

  • I will always be your mum
  • I will always try to kiss, hug, touch, pinch (in a teasing and loving way) and generally show affection at every opportunity
  • I will always see the best version of you
  • I will always try to help you
  • I will always want to talk with you
  • I will ALWAYS know best
  • I will always love you
  • I will always have other things to add to this list!

You are one of a kind. I am so glad that you are mine. Grow big and strong, follow your dreams and know that I believe in you, in everything you can be and will be.

I love you a million hippopotamus yawns.

Always and forever

Your Mum xxoo

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Advertisements

Day 18: A Letter To Someone Who Wants To Give Up

Dear Weary One,

I don’t know who this letter is for, I just know that it’s has been rattling around inside of me for the last 2 days. I know you must be out there somewhere, so if you’re reading this and it’s hitting home, then please take it to heart. I would tell you these things in person if I could, but for now letter form will have to suffice.

I get the feeling that you are just so tired. You’re tired of fighting through the same rubbish every day. You’re tired of the act, the monotony and the endlessness of it all. You’re just plain tired, in fact no one in the history of the universe has ever been as tired as you are right now. That’s right, no one. Ever. Ever.

You don’t want to keep reading because you think I’m going to get all pep-talkey on you, well I’m not making any promises but I will try to keep the sunshiny rainbow stuff to a minimum, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that things can always get worse. You could be forced to spend the next 3 minutes with a rainbow pooping space traveling pixel-cat with the worlds most irritating soundtrack! Observe.

Now that I’ve shown you that life can in fact always get worse, let’s get back to discussing you. I have no idea what’s bought you to the place where you no longer posess the vision, the desire or even the energy to face your future, all I know is that for some reason todays letter is for you. The least you can do is read it, it can’t be as bad as another 3 minutes of Nyan Cat up there!

So here’s what I want to say to you.

If you’re still breathing, then there’s still hope! – In the words of the uberwise Kung Fu Panda “Yesterday’s history, tomorrow’s a mystery, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present”. Now, you can’t get cross at me for how corny that is, it was uttered by a panda. No one can be mad at pandas, they’re way too cute!

Seriously though, you need to understand that if there’s still life left in your body, then no matter how bad you feel right now your purpose in this world is not complete. There is an incredible plan for you, you’ve just wandered away from the path a little bit! I get it I have been there so many times I’ve lost count, but I have also taken my own and other very smart and loving people’s advice and just kept on breathing. Eventually you will find your way through! Dory had it right all along!

 

Yes, I am quoting cartoons an awful lot in this post, but you know what? When my 2 year old falls down, even when he has really hurt himself you want to know what he does? He picks himself up, runs over to either myself or his daddy and presents us with his injury. He expects us to press a gentle kiss upon the ‘owie’ so that it can be made all better and he can continue on his way.

Yes, life is really that simple! It really does come down to a few very simple points.

  1. Stuff Happens – It can really suck sometimes, it can make you cry, it can even make you bleed, but if it doesn’t kill you, then I guess that means you’re not out of the game yet. Awesome!
  2. Take your ‘owie’ to the right people – Can you imagine what would happen if my child took his injury to another injured and crying child instead of coming to his parents? It would turn into the loudest, saddest, most unhappy place in the playground! A hurting child will not have sympathy and tenderness required to care for another hurting and crying child. Instead they will feel the need to cry even louder to ensure that the real caregivers can hear them and help. Don’t try to get the help you need from someone who is in the same place as you are! Take yourself to the people who have what you need to get yourself through this time!
  3. Once you have what you need, don’t just sit there afraid of getting hurt again – get back out there and laugh and play! Simply enjoy the feeling of the wind in your hair as you go down the slide, or the giddiness of the merry-go-round. Life happens in the simple pleasures. If you have forgotten that, then you will forever   feel that you lack what you need to live a happy and joy filled life.
  4. A smile changes everything and everything can change with a smile. Start there and the rest will follow.

Don’t give up. The best is yet to come!

Love you

xo 

Day 14: A Letter to the Last Person I Kissed

My Dear Little One,

Kissing you is a language in itself.

There are kisses of tenderness. Given in the quiet moments just before sleep, or those precious seconds when you are safe and secure in my arms. Those kisses are filled with endearments whispered straight into your heart, they capture every devoted thought and pour them out upon you so that you will never be in doubt of you value.

There are kisses of comfort. Given when something hurts, because sometimes life just hurts. I wish it didn’t, I wish I could send you off into the world, indestructible and fierce, but I can’t. Instead I can only promise, that whether your pain is through injury, discouragement, frustration or sadness – no matter what, that I will always be there to kiss it better.

There are kisses of joy. Given in those spontaneous moments of laughter that bubble up from inside. They shower down when you discover something new and gift us with your brightest smile – dimple and all. These kisses are sweet like sun-ripened strawberries, they are the perfect celebration of the moment.

There are kisses of reassurance. Given to impart faith and trust, understanding and encouragement. These kisses tell you that I see what is making you uneasy, whilst still giving you the courage to venture forth into the unknown. They are given to appease your fears and to strengthen your character. You can rely upon these kisses in those times when you doubt all else.

There are kisses of apology. Given when I make mistakes, because I know I make mistakes. Sometimes I don’t understand what you need, or I miss what it is you are trying to tell me. For the times when I fail to give you the right kiss in the right moment. These kisses will try so hard to make up for the ones I miss.

There are kisses of forgiveness. Given when you make mistakes, because you will make mistakes. Because you are only learning that lipsticks aren’t for eating, and washing powder isn’t for making sand castles. I will give these kisses freely, even when I’m cross because they remind me that every moment is precious and not to wast a chance for even a single kiss.

The last kiss I gave you was a good-night kiss. I gave it to you as I lay you down in your cot. It was a kiss of peace and prayer. It was a kiss to fill your spirit up until I can begin to give you all kinds of kisses again tomorrow. You are everything that is cherished and priceless, you are sunshine and rainbows and Vegemite smiles.

There are a million more kisses that could be named, but let’s just call it LOVE.

I love you little boy, sweet dreams.

Mummy xxx

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Day 13: A Letter to a New Mum

Dear Mumma,

I’m going to attempt to write you the letter I wish I’d been given when I first found out I was pregnant. It will probably fall well short of being what you need, but even if one thing I say makes your journey a little easier, then at least I made a difference.

Motherhood will never be what you expect it to be. It will be so much more. The love you feel will be deeper, more profound than anything you’ve experienced before. However, so will a whole host of other emotions, there is no such thing as a normal mother so don’t even try to be one! The fact is that no one knows how they are going to travel upon the road of motherhood, but I have learned one thing – you don’t have to do it alone.

These days we are surrounded with false and misleading representations of what it means to be a mother. Television advertisements tell us that our children should be happy smiling angels, our washing should smell like a summer breeze, our kitchen benches should be so clean you can see your reflection in them and that we should look like the next character on Desperate Housewives. However, most of the time – especially for the first year or so you may in fact look like this:

 

And this is at 2pm in the afternoon. In fact if you did have curlers in your hair I would call it a win for you!

What this letter is not going to be, is one of those heavy-on-the-irony jobs filled with anecdotes of dirty nappies (daipers for all non-nappy speaking countries), vomit adorned clothing and a doom of sleepless nights. The fact is: poo, vomit, crying, fear, sleep deprivation, dismay, goofy joy, frustration, pride and a million other things are simply a part of the package. When it comes to babies, unless you have a host of servants assigned to all the messy bits, then you’re going to experience both the good and the bad. It’s a fact – moving on.

What this letter is going to beis a friendly note to say that you’re doing great. I don’t care if you are tucking a calm and peaceful little bundle into bed where they will sleep through the night, or if you are a sobbing puddle crouched outside your screaming infants door feeling like your world is collapsing. You. Are. Doing. Great.

Babies are like Ikea furniture with Japanese instructions. They look so basic in the showroom: eat, feed, sleep.  However when you get them home… Trying to figure them out on your own is just plain bewildering. So here are some things you really need to know:

Mother really does know best: If your gut is telling you there is something wrong with the health of your child, don’t be afraid to seek a second opinion. You know your baby better than anyone else. With babies it is always better to be over cautious and every doctor worth their salt will tell you the same thing.

Crying won’t hurt your baby:
So if you are in the shower and they start to cry, don’t panic. As long as they are safe, a little bit of crying wont do any lasting damage.

Don’t compare your child with anyone else’s: Every single one is different, they have different needs, bodies, temperaments, and abilities. Your child is exactly who they are meant to be.

Ignore all stares when your child cries in public – most of the time other mums will either glance at you in sympathy, or they will be thanking God that it isn’t their child crying today. We have ALL been there, take a deep breath and simply do whatever it is you need to do.

Baby wipes are little slices of miracle never ever be without them.

Choose your advisors wisely. When it comes to children and how to raise them everyone is an expert. Unfortunately many of these experts are actually secret nazi’s who would judge your every move. You just don’t need people like that in your life. Surround yourself with people who encourage and uplift you. If your baby is healthy and happy then you are doing a great job.

Hint: Look at other parents you know who, in your opinion are doing a good job raising their kids. These are the people who will probably be your best source of advice and help because they more than likely share common family ideals to you.

Take a deep breath, it’s a roller-coaster. Anyone who tells you different is lying or heavily medicated. The journey is different for everyone, you look at that little plastic strip and think you know what you are in for, but then every day from that point on is a learning curve. You aren’t alone. Just ask.

Love you xxoo

Day 2: A Letter to my Parents

Dear Mum & Dad,

I guess I have to start at the beginning and say thanks for having sex 32 years ago. It was a defining moment for me. And also, thank you for never doing it again – except for that one time when you forgot to turn off the intercom system in the house. My sister and I have finished counseling and we are now reasonably nightmare free.

These letters really make me stop and sift through my memories, it’s a bit like gold panning. I scoop up a big bunch of stuff from my mind and swish it around to get rid of the boring bits like school, cleaning my room, homework, housework, nappies, chocolate. Then I spend snatches of time exploring the memories and emotions left over; every now and then a sparkle of gold catches me.

Some memories make me laugh. Like the time I threw that fake spider at Dad while he was driving on the freeway. Or when Mum would phone from some distant country town because she had slept through her train stop. Again.

Other memories make me shake my head and wonder what on earth you were thinking! Like the time my sister had to do an assignment in primary school about the dangers of smoking. Mum you thought it would be funny to parade us up to Dad’s butcher shop with real lit cigarettes in our hands (purchased for the authenticity of the poster) just to freak him out! Yeah, that didn’t have any lasting affects!

Then I think about our pets: ducks, dogs, cats, horses, sheep, a turtle, fish, cows, guinea pigs, rabbits and tadpoles; have I missed any? If there was an animal that needed a home and I found out about it, I was headed straight to you Dad – because I would feed it, and I would look after it! Anyone who visits the hometown lake can still see the descendants of Mr & Mrs Rubberface swimming merrily upon it’s water! I am so glad that my boys have inherited that same love and respect for animals that you nurtured and encouraged in me.

I think I can attribute my love of big words to you Mum. You once furiously admonished (big words 😉 ) me for ‘contradicting you’. From that point on I figured, “hey, if I’m going to get into trouble for it, I should at least understand what I did!”.

I also remember being homesick whenever I was away from you. School camp, horse riding camp, school holidays with Granny, a sleepover at a friends’ house. I longed to be home, where I was harboured and anchored. You sheltered me and accepted me, creating a world  for me that was safe.

I think more than anything, the abiding truth of your parenting is that you worked so hard for us to be happy. For us to have the things we needed, as well as some of the things we wanted so we could thrive and follow our dreams. I wonder if sometimes you doubt that you really gave that to us. But you did, and both of your daughters are now in their own way finding and following their dreams. We will always be held in the knowledge that you are proud of us, proud of the people we are as mothers, wives, sisters, daughters and friends.

This letter feels weird, suspended somewhere between funny and emotional, like it isn’t complete. There are so many things I would love to write but this just isn’t the place for it. The good thing is that I know I can say those things to you in person. I can tell you how much I love you and hug you. You will always be ‘home’ to the little girl inside of me and there is something very special about just being with you. Anytime and  every time. I know I have been gifted with strong, loving, encouraging, loyal and supportive parents. I hope that I reflect the wonderful example you have always been to me.

I also hope Mum, that I never contradict you again.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I Love you both.

xxoo

In Every Acorn…

Isn’t it amazing when things happen and there was no way you could ever have foreseen or anticipated them? That’s how I feel about the past couple of months. Two months ago I was plodding my way through the ‘everyday’. You know the drill: the school routine, avoiding the washing, coming up with witty status updates, all the important things that make life what it is.

Then I went to a conference and the speaker; Bill Johnson made a statement that just made me stop.

He said: “In every acorn there is a mighty oak”.

I know that for some of you, this won’t be profound at all. You will read it and be all “pfft what’s the big deal with that?”. If that is you; then you should probably leave now and go watch talking animals on YouTube or something.

For those of you still with me; the reason this statement rocked my world was that it made me view EVERYTHING as an acorn! Okay, not everything; like, not my car or a Snickers bar (mmm Snickers), or the coffee table. But every decision, every conversation and every opportunity I realised, has the potential to become something substantial, something big and huge! I wonder how many acorns I have let slip through my fingers? I wonder how many I have recognised and just kept in my pocket cos I’m too scared lazy busy self-obsessed pre-occupied to find a place to plant it.

Next came the inevitable motherguilt maternal perspective as I got to thinking about my boys. They are two of the most amazing acorns ever! It’s my job to see them planted and cultivated and all that other horticultural stuff! But I wonder am I doing a good job? Are they sprouting, are their roots going deep?  Will they be amazing, strong and mighty specimens of their kind? I truly and deeply hope so.

Then I thought about the fact that some things can grow into might oaks that should never have been planted in the first place! Things like offense, and doubt and self-hatred. How many times has one of these little tough nuts been planted in my life? Then how much time and energy and *cough* manure have I invested in it’s growth? If I am honest there are a few healthy looking trees I need to ring-bark!

So there you have it; I encourage you to consider your own gardens, check out the trees that give your life structure. Do they spring from a good acorn or are they just nuts, draining you of precious energy? Also check your pockets, you might be surprised just how many precious little acorns you have floating around in there. Take a risk and plant them they could change your life!!