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

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Day 28: A Letter To A Friend I Haven’t Met Yet

Hi,

Image by Christopher Spiewak

I know we haven’t met yet, but I’m just going to write this to you as if I had known you forever. I hope you don’t mind but I have so many things I want to share with you, and to be perfectly honest if I had to stick within the traditional lines of friendship – well, it would take forever and there is no way I can wait that long! So, I guess that’s the first thing you have learned about me, I lack patience.

Another thing you will discover pretty fast is that I tend to jump right into the deep end, I love chocolate and I often have a highly inappropriate sense of humor, there’s probably lot’s of other stuff, but that’s what’s popped into my mind just now.

So, here’s where I  do that whole jumping into the deep end thing.

I hear that things haven’t exactly been going according to plan in your life, you know those plans we make when we are 8 years old and  playing with our Barbies or Cabbage Patch Kids? Did you have a Cabbage Patch Kid? Personally I preferred my My Child but that’s not important right now. What I was saying about ‘the plan’ is, that we only ever saw good things: a wonderful man, a beautiful wedding, noisily pushing out babies like they did on TV… It never enters into our mind that ‘the plan’ can make a major left turn and lead us along a path we never imagined. Yet here you are, in a place that you never pictured yourself, dealing with issues you really have no clue how to address. Perhaps have never felt so alone in your life, please don’t read that the wrong way, I know that you are surrounded by people who love you, people who care and are devoted to you in the closest way possible. But I figure, if I were in your shoes, there would be so many things floating (or bashing – which is more likely the case) around in my head – things that I couldn’t talk to any of those people about, so what do I do with them?

I don’t know the answer to that, but heres some stuff I have been thinking about lately instead.
Have you ever noticed how many people refer to hard times in life as storms? Heaps right? I think greeting card companies have made a fortune off that analogy! So, here are some of my own thoughts about storms:

  • Storms aren’t all bad – Sure they whip things around, they make a bit of a mess, but they always serve a purpose, even if we don’t know what that purpose is.
    I was in Beijing in 2007 and the smog got so bad at one point you couldn’t see more than 500m down the road, then there was this huge thunder storm, the kind that flash and rumble all night, while a steady deluge just buckets from the sky. Eventually it did end though and for the first time since arriving in China, I saw the blue sky. Yes, I know this is dangerously close to cliché but just bear with me. The storm cleansed a city, I’m sure it made life hard for many people while it rained, but that same rain cleaned the air that everyone breathes. It accomplished something that was completely beyond our ability to do for ourselves.
  • There’s an awful lot of space between raindrops – People don’t drown in the rain! I suppose this is a ‘glass half full/empty senario’. I mean, sure – yes it’s raining and there is no doubt that you are stuck in the middle of the downpour. You are dripping wet and surrounded by muddy puddles. But you aren’t swimming, so you aren’t even close to drowning, the reason you can feel where every drip hits is because of all the places they aren’t hitting! I have to admit, this thought made me want to go and dance in the muddy puddles and feel all the places the rain was missing me!!
  • Storms are a contrast, not a conclusion. They are a shadow that passes over a landscape, they are not the landscape itself. They are transient, no matter how fierce – they may impact, they may make a mess but they do not last forever.
  • There’s no point yelling at the storm, it can’t hear you.
    Imagine when Hurricane Katrina came rolling in, what person would waste their time on the shore, raging at the thunderheads? What would that achieve? So, when ‘storms’ strike in our lives why is it that we stand there impotently shaking our fist at circumstances we can’t change anyway? Yeah, I don’t know either.

I can get carried away, so I will stop there. I guess what I’m trying to say is, that I know you are having an awful time at the moment and I don’t know why. I don’t think anyone ever knows why bad things happen. I do want you to know that even though we haven’t met, and even though you might think this is really weird and strange – this letter is completely for you. 100% because I want you to know that I am thinking about you, praying for you and supporting you. I am a bit quirky, and I can ramble on, but I hope I have said some things that you needed to hear.

If you ever need to talk – especially about those things you feel you can’t share with anyone else, or if you just want to rage at the storm – you can talk to me. I am close enough to care but distant enough that you needn’t worry about upsetting me or hurting my feelings, most of all I want to be there for you. Because that’s what friends are for, and we are friends (great friends) even though we haven’t met….Yet

Love Always

Amelia xo

amelia@ameliahunter.com (just in case ;))

Day 27: A Letter To A True Friend

Hi,

Have you noticed that whenever we talk or write to each other it feels like we are just picking up our conversation wherever we left it last? I guess that lot’s of people feel that way, but it’s one of the things I like best about our friendship – that, and Matt Damon movies, and Zoolander, and iPhones, and Apple products.

You were a bit of a surprise really, certainly not what I expected when I first met you. To be perfectly honest I don’t know that I had any expectations at all.  You just showed up and promptly turned my world on it’s head, kicked me out of my rut, and pushed me back into the traffic flow of life (thanks for that!). You did all of this, and I’m still not sure that you even realised you were doing it at the time! But that’s just the person you are, you activate people, you flip their switches and push their buttons, you get them onto the path they need to be walking in order to reach their goals – or find their goals – or think about finding some goals to reach. You’re good at it too, don’t ever doubt that.

I love it that our friendship hasn’t been all rainbows and unicorns , or beer and skittles, or paddle pops and milky ways either (I made that last one up). We have weathered a few storms, and believe me when I tell you, I thought a couple of them were the end of us. Yet, somehow we managed to navigate our way through them. I like to think that Matt Damon would be proud, in a Jason Bourne kind of way – you know, we triumphed in the face of insurmountable odds and all that. Seriously though, I’m glad we did make it through, because those trials – those times when instead of communication it felt like we were hacking at each other with samurai swords – yep, those trials somehow managed to transform into something beautiful and strong. A friendship that goes beyond the pop-culture brand of friendship and becomes something closer to family.

Not many people can honestly say they have a friend who has seen them at their worst. Now, I’m not talking about 6am bed hair, morning breath and panda eyes worst, no I’m talking about full meltdown, tantrum throwing, I want to scoop eyeballs out with a spoon worst  – just raw unadulterated ‘ugly-you’. Well I believe congratulations are in order, we have both been there – and survived! (can I have my spoons back now please?). There are lots of warm and fuzzy inspirational quotes which are applicable to this sentiment, but since you spend even more time on the internet than I do, I won’t bother repeating them here. I know you understand where I’m going with this.

Essentially, at some point you went past the parameters of friend and you became family. I don’t know how you did it, I’m impressed you survived to be honest, but now that you are family there’s some things you need to know.

  • You can never escape – I will hunt you down and bug you till you come back again, because that’s what a family is meant to do – stick together.
  • You never have to go far to ask for help – with anything (except body disposal, you know how I feel about your  homicidal tendencies) I will always be there to give you my best, even if my best is completely useless, it’s yours!
  • You will never be alone, you will always have someone alongside you – now read that carefully because it doesn’t say I will always be on your side –  what happens if I have to play against you in Monopoly or Scrabble?

In short I guess what I’m trying to say is that alone we are awesome, but together… WE ARE FIERCE!!!

I love you

xxoo

Day 25: A Letter To Christmas Shoppers

Attention Shoppers!

Since this is my 25th letter, and it’s the 1st of December I felt there was a nice sense of symmetry in addressing this letter to you. As you are no doubt aware there are only 23 full days of shopping remaining until all bets are off and the focus shifts from purchasing to cooking. The good news of course, is that shortly after the ‘cooking’ comes the ‘eating’ followed inevitably by the ‘sleeping’ for anyone over the age of 40 and all parents who were awake till all hours ‘preparing’ only to woken up pre-dawn by over zealous children for whom sleep was no longer an option.

So

Before you can get to all of thatyou have to make it through the next 23 days. I would like to share some friendly advice in the hopes that it will make these final frenetic days easier on us all.

  1. Carparks are not battlefields.
    Every year I am astounded by the collapse of civilsation that occurs in shopping centre parking lots. Generally speaking,  when we choose to go shopping in the month of December, it should come as no surprise that at least 80% of the population will have had the same idea. Why then, is it such an outrage to people that they will have to spend longer than their accustomed 5 minutes looking for a carpark? This is when you begin to see ‘competitive parkers’ at their worst, most psychotic, finest – they feel that speed and cutting corners will win them the prize. Then there are the ‘creative parkers’, they meander through the stipulated aisles for a time, then simply create a spot for their vehicle, regardless of nature, road markings or intended use. The list could go on forever, I could discuss the ‘irate parker’, the ‘greedy parker’ or the ‘hot-and-bothered parker’ (Christmas Down Under is in summer remember – much of our shopping is done in 40°C (104°F) weather!). Let me just ask that you take a moment before you even leave home to accept that parking is going to be a challenge, instead of succumbing to one of the above, choose to take deep breaths and relax until you find a space.
  2. $$$ Does not = ♥!!!
    Unfortunately we live in a world that is dominated by a commercially driven media. Said media has spent the last 30 years becoming masters at turning ‘wants’ into ‘needs’. Daily, we are bombarded by messages that manipulate and distort the way we see the world, ourselves and each other. At no other time is this more prevalent than during the holidays – “If you really, genuinely, deeply love her, then you must to buy her these amazing diamond earrings!”.
    “Parents, the only way that your kids will ever know how much they mean to you, is if you purchase them another, newer, more realistic (and way more expensive) video game console!”.
    This is so far from reality that it borders on the insane. For most of us, money is tight at the moment, yet millions of families will go further into debt this festive season in the vain attempt to prove that their love measures up to a bar that is designed to always be out of reach. Spend some time (not money – did you see what I did there? :)) and think about what really matters to your true love, is it time, adventure, or romance? Get creative and think outside of the retail grease trap. One  simple gift, filled with thought and love is worth so much more than a generic, expensive and mass produced ‘something’, which – more likely than not also contributes to the subjugation of workers in the third world! Don’t you agree? Spend less, but give more of yourself. 
  3. Christmas is NOT about gifts – It is about THE Gift.
    Don’t worry I’m not going to get preachy, but I feel we need a gentle reminder of what this holiday is all about. I mentioned earlier, the consumer culture we live in dominates the way we celebrate Christmas, the sad thing is it’s only getting worse. It’s sad because the more it becomes about spending and purchasing and gifts and stuff, the emptier we feel at the end. Every year people become more and more disillusioned with the entire celebration. Why? Because it has become a franchise. It has moved so far away from it’s actual meaning that it has lost all meaning.
    Christmas is the celebration of God’s gift to the world – Jesus, not Justin Bieber. People want to celebrate His birthday, yet can get downright defensive and insistent that Jesus has nothing to do with it! Sorry folks, He is Christmas. You can ignore what I’m saying, that’s completely up to you, but them’s the facts and ignoring them wont change them.

So, as you embark upon what is in reality a wonderful and joyous, sometimes insanely busy time of the year, I hope that you take a moment to really examine the things you’re doing. Be it battling in a parking lot, parting with your hard earned (or borrowed) cash or figuring out what it is you believe. I want to encourage you to make room for Jesus in your celebrations, because it is after all His birthday you are celebrating.

I hope you have a safe and happy Christmas.

Love Always

Amelia 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

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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 10: A Letter to Someone who Pesters My Mind.

Dear Depression,

You like the dark, you like secrets and hiding places and whispering. You crawl through my skin and infect me like a virus.

You are clever, I’ll give you that much. You don’t just attack like George W. Bush went at Baghdad – all ‘shock and awe’ but no intelligence. No, you’re much more subtle than that, first you lead and coax and goad me away from the sunshine, you do it so gradually I don’t notice the dimness. Then at just the right moment you take pleasure in pointing out that I have wandered off the path again, “another failure” you sigh. You do it with just enough condescension to make me feel concerned, you’re careful though, concerned can quickly turn into action and that’s not what you want. Instead you show me how far I have gone, not so far that I can’t find my way back – but far enough that I should be tired, and so I am. Weary to my bones, my scalp feels too heavy upon my skull, my arms are filled with lead and my brain simply cannot follow a complete thought through. I’m just so tired. So you nurse me to the ground, “rest a while” you say, “it won’t hurt to take a small break, you’ve been doing so well”.  You stroke my brow and soothe my thoughts with hollow congratulations while the world slows down around me.

Then I awake in the dark, and all I hear is you. You know my pain and you torment me with it. You slice into me with my doubts and feed while I bleed, then you mock me as I struggle to fight, to cling to hope – you laugh. The worst part is the rage, it’s like wearing a coat of fire, it burns at the base of my skull and hooks into my gut. It’s violent, every hopeless thought, every agonised cry of self destruction  amplified, intensified and unleashed directly into the core of who I am. It is the void within. It is your home.

But.

That was then. I know you now.

You are a fraud, a thief and a liar. You are the cuckoo who forced me to do your bidding for far too long. I was never alone as you kept telling me I was. I was never without hope or love or a future – you just kept me from feeling it and seeing it. You’re strong but there is one who is stronger.

No, it isn’t me. I can’t take the credit for winning this battle, it would be so wrong of me to even pretend I had anything to do with it. God saved me, He saw me wretched and broken and dying. He loved me where you had nothing but hate and venom. I chose Him over you and now I am held by grace. My weakness to your voice is now covered by His strength. You must really hate that!

How did I choose Him? I asked Him in – simple as that. With that choice a door flung wide, shining light and hope into my darkness. Then I asked for help, the help of those who love me and the help of professionals. Every day I grew stronger until I was once again living and breathing – once again me.

I know there’s still times when you get me to wander into darkness again, but I’m anchored to Him – to love. That love shines in the darkness and you are so afraid of its power. You are such a coward.

Even if only one suffering  person reads this letter, I hope they’ll finally see you for what you are. I hope they recognise your presence the way I did, I hope they ask God to shine His light so they can find their way out. I hope they reach out to those who love them and ask them for help. I hope they seek medical advice and trust that God is holding them in His grace, as He promised He would to anyone who calls out to Him.

I hope you are afraid. The tables have turned. I am not ashamed of this weakness anymore, because I will use it to fight you on behalf of others.

Amelia.

**Thanks again Zaldy for the Photo!

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