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 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 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.

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I Love you both.

xxoo