Wow! It has been quite some time since I have written and the reason why is for another day, another post. This, in fact, will be quite different from my other posts because it is born of different stuff. It was actually born in a dream, almost nightmare you could say.
About 2 weeks ago, I dreamt that I was told (God forbid!!) that I had cancer and just a year to live. In my dream, I knew that I wanted to spend every minute with my family but I immediately decided that I should be keeping a journal for all the things that my children should know but might not. At this very writing, I have no reason to think that I am anything but healthy; however, what a great opportunity to say a few things in case they didn’t already know. That having been said, I plan to write a few open letters here to my three children.
I have loved you forever, before I knew if you were a boy or a girl, if you had dark hair like me or had light hair as your father did as a child, if you were quiet or cantankerous, curious or shy, and I loved the idea of you before you were even conceived. This you may have guessed but you may not know how that translates into your life and decisions you will make along the way.
I love to watch you grow. I will always long for you to be a baby again but I am so grateful that you are my own. I am your biggest fan, your not-so-secret admirer, your loudest champion. I think you are amazing, beyond my wildest imaginings. I love you more than ever could be expressed, measured or understood. You are by the very fact of your birth, my dream come true.
It doesn’t matter what you decide to do with your life. I don’t need you to become any thing, achieve any thing, or attain a certain position or annual salary. Find your passion, live your dream, enjoy the journey; whatever those might be. It’s not for me or your dad to decide. God has given you gifts, talents and sparks of interest. They are your clues and only you can hear them. If you want to be a doctor and that makes your soul burn, do it. If you long to create art, then paint away and I will be your biggest collector. If you want to be a man that lives in the wilderness, follow Bear Grylls, make the mountain your home and I will count on you to come home for Thanksgiving every year and bring the wild turkey. I gave you this life to live it with passion, exuberance and fire. If you do that with honesty, no matter what it is I will always champion your choice.
It doesn’t matter if you fall in love with a girl or a boy. If they are your choice, they will be welcome at our table without as much as a sideways glance.
It doesn’t matter if the one you love practices a different religion than we do. As long as they treat others kindly and honor the lives of those who believe differently than they do, we will look forward to blending our customs with theirs and we will honor their right to their beliefs. If you choose to adopt their religion or customs, I will accept that as well. Your dad and I believe that God is one person and religion is just an avenue to have a relationship with Him. Each person will find what is most comfortable for them.
It doesn’t matter that the one you love is a certain race. We are all the same on the inside and we all have fears, hopes and joys. Loving someone for the color of their skin or the country of their ancestors is as arbitrary as loving them for the size of their foot or their favorite vegetable.
It doesn’t matter if you decide to have children or not. This is your life to live, not mine or your dad’s.
It DOES matter that you are always kind, to ANYONE and EVERYONE! Your words and smiles may be the only bright spot in someone’s day. They cost you nothing to give them away and they make this world a better place to live.
It DOES matter that you are a good person, that you live with integrity, compassion, honesty, thoughtfulness, patience, courage and love. In short, don’t be an asshole. This does not mean that it’s acceptable for you to be a doormat. Don’t confuse the two. If someone doesn’t treat you with respect, they do not belong in your life.
It DOES matter that the person you chose to spend your time with respects you. That means not only treating you in a loving manner, but being faithful, honoring your beliefs and wishes, speaking to you kindly, never raising hands and keeping your home a peaceful place, which means keeping addiction and abuse out of it. I WILL be that crazy person if they are not treating you appropriately. I WILL also “have a chat” with you if I see you doing any of the above.
It DOES matter if you have lived your life based on someone else’s approval besides your own. This may take you a long time to understand but one day you will realize that the only person who is in charge of your happiness or unhappiness, is you. You will never, ever make everyone happy. You will never be EVERYONE’S cup of tea. What a ridiculous waste of time to ever try. Live in vivid Technicolor! Don’t ever go for the pastel version because someone might like you better. If they are worth your time, they will want the most genuine you. Be the best you, you know how to be and you will rest your head peaceful every night. Wake in the morning with the intent to do better than the day before.
Have faith when things seem to be at their worst. Life has a funny way of working itself out, sit back and know you are meant to learn something at this time and that nothing in life is forever. You are stronger than you will ever know and you will only find that out when your strength is truly tested. Whether I am on this earth or in some other plane, know that I will be right beside you. Never forget that a good dose of humor helps everything and anything and when nothing seems to be going your way, that’s when you need to sit down, take a deep breath and count your blessings. Be grateful every single day and you will find happiness at your fingertips.
You are the most precious thing in the world to me. Take care of yourself. Don’t take needless risks with your safety, or hang with others that do. There isn’t a drug made today that can compare with the highs of life and amazing experiences you will enjoy. Don’t smoke, drive drunk or eat poorly. It will all come back to bite you in the ass.
As I said in the very beginning, I have loved you before you were born. You have no condition to meet to keep that love. It is unconditional and without end. Even when I don’t care for your actions, I still love you madly and I won’t desert you. That doesn’t mean that I won’t tell you what’s on my mind. If you are being a shit, I will tell you that this is not a shining example of your highest and best self, and then I will squeeze you and kiss you on your forehead.
I don’t have a favorite child, regardless of what you think. To me, you are 3 gorgeous diamonds laid side by side. When the light hits each of you, a different facet sends out the most magnificent burst of color and incredible shine. There is no comparing one to another because you all send that same magnificent light out depending on how the light hits you.
It doesn’t matter if you are 2 or 82. If you call me, if you need me, I will be there. I will come even if I can do nothing more than hold your hand.
When it comes time that we can no longer care for ourselves on our own, we want to go live in a home. We are not your burden and it would break our hearts if we became one. I plan on starting a small coup in there anyway and you can visit me often and bring all sorts of contraband. In fact you should probably have a few homes lined up so that when I am kicked out of one, you can have me transported quickly. I plan to be a handful for the rest of my days, that should do wonders for whatever is left of your father’s hair…
Until next time,
Your loving mother