A letter on watching you play -7/23/19

Last week we went to The Children’s Museum. It’s one of your favorite places to go and my favorite places to take you. I love watching you guys discover and play- it’s like I am watching the wheels turn in your brain as you’re learning. I like that I am able to stand back and just let you guys explore.

One of these really cool moments was watching you, Akiva, while you played in the fire truck. You gravitate towards that a lot lately. The truck was full of big kids.

I was so nervous watching you because I thought they might ignore you or tell you you can’t play. Instead one older kid looked over at you and said “well if you’re gonna help me fight a fire you gotta get your gear on!”

You immediately hopped out and put on your jacket and hat (your jacket on backwards) and ran back into the truck, holding tight to your hat so it wouldn’t fly off. From then on you played with the big group as this kid assigned tasks to each individual to run a “real” fire station. It was so amazing I teared up.

I regret not finding his mom or dad and applauding them on encouraging such a good heart in their son.

Lola, your favorite part of the museum right now is the water station. You love to pour the water into all the different scoops and bowls. We dress you in a little raincoat to keep your clothes dry. You still end up soaked. Every time. I love watching your determination while you carefully transfer the water from bowl to bowl without losing a drop of water. Then, immediately after, I love watching you pour and splash without a care in the world. I won’t lie to you, we also spend a great deal of time trying to make sure you don’t drink the water when I’m not looking. I swear you take me saying no as a challenge.

You don’t venture off too far from me as of now. Don’t get me wrong you are completely comfortable doing your own thing, I just notice you checking to make sure I’m close. I don’t mind and I know I’m going to miss it so much when you don’t. But that’s okay because I know how lucky I am to watch as you grow up and continue to become the independent, incredible person that you are.

I am so thankful to be you girls’ mommy and thankful to watch these moments. You both are so smart, imaginative and creative. Every night your daddy and I thank the universe that we get to be witness as you girls move mountains.

And you think you’re just playing. 🖤

You are loved. You are important. I believe in you.

Mom

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A letter while I’m away- 7/19/19

I miss you so much. I am away for the weekend and daddy is “keeping you safe” as you would say. I think your dad was excited to have this time alone with you guys and I am excited for that too- I just miss you 3 so much. I literally cannot wait to hear all about your weekend.

I’m in the boundary waters right now and it’s one of my favorite (and your daddy’s favorite) places we have ever been. I hope someday soon you two can come here with us and fall in love the way I did so many years ago.

There’s spiders here bigger than my hand!!! I wonder if you saw them if their size would make you more nervous or more interested. There’s also moose, cougars, and bears, but I didn’t get to see any. Not that I wanted to but maybe I would like to see them from far far far away.

We haven’t done much that would be of interest to you- lots of swimming. Late late tonight Keeko and I went down to the dock to look at the stars. Its going to be so fun when you girls are a little older and can stay up later and appreciate the stars and the constellations. Your dad knows some of the constellations, he’ll have to teach me so we can all spot them together. We also saw like four toads and again, I wished you were here to see them swimming in the water. I honestly think it was my first time seeing them actually go for a swim- by choice. Like the toad wanted to take a little dip hahaha

Right now I am sleeping in a tent with Keeko and Danielle. We are the only ones sleeping in a tent and everyone else is sleeping inside. I wonder if you guys are at home in your bunk beds or if daddy caved and let you both sleep in our big bed. I’m gonna guess he did; he doesn’t like you guys to know, but big big softie.

I can’t wait to be home with you guys again. I’m having fun here too- I am just so lucky to have something so amazing waiting for me at home. Any time I am away I can’t help but look forward to being home again to snuggle you little sweeties.

I hope you both know how much I love you and your daddy. The sun and moon rise and set with you guys and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I spent my whole life trying to figure out what makes me, me and the answer is you- you three fill my heart so full. I’m content and safe and to put it simply and best- so happy. Happiness surrounds me, because of you. I say this to you at home and I’ll put it in writing here- you make people happy. Your smile makes other people smile. You make people laugh.

Thank you for bringing a new kind of happiness into my life- a happiness that is boundless, effortless and easy. Thank you for your contagious enjoyment of literally anything. Thank you for letting me in when you aren’t feeling as happy by telling me “I’m having a hard day”. Thank you for letting me try to “fix” that by giving long hugs and back scratches. Thank you for bringing a smile to my face even when you are upset by always saying “I think a treat might make me better”. Thank you for choosing me to be your mommy.

I love you I love you I love you. I cannot wait to see you guys. In the mean time, some words of advice for you when you go on a getaway with friends: drink water, wear sunscreen.

You are loved. You are important. I believe in you.

Mom

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A letter on rain- 7/16/19

Today we taught you how to play freeze tag. The grass was wet from the rain this afternoon; rain that we played in while we waited for daddy to get home from work. 

I’ve never minded the rain. It calms me when I hear it outside our windows while we all watch movies snuggled on the couch. I like how it brings the worms out because it reminds me of the first time your daddy pointed one out to you, how you watched in awe as it wiggles across the sidewalk.  And even though I roll my eyes and rush you at times, I love holding your hand while you stop to jump in every puddle on the way to the car. 

A couple weeks back the sky was calm, but you were not. I could tell a storm was coming, literally, not figuratively. But to prevent a downfall of tears (probably from all three of us) I knew we needed fresh air. I asked if you wanted to try an icee, “but we have to be super fast because thunder is coming!”  Your little feet sounded much bigger as they ran down the hallway to get your shoes. I watched you jump up to try to grab the rain coat hanging just out of your reach. I continued to watch as the little wheels in your head turned and you climbed up onto the bench to make yourself taller and reach your jacket. 

We took the shortcut through the fence behind the One building as the storm clouds crept in. The sky was dark by the time we got to the gas station and everyone stared at me as I pulled you guys towards the icee fountain. 

“Terrible time for a walk” the cashier said as she shook her head. I ignored her while I read off the flavors to you both. Akiva, you chose cherry. Lola you chose cherry as well, but only after I reminded you that Mountain Dew flavor wasn’t an option. 

You both held your hoods up with one hand and gripped your icee with the other as I ran across the parking lot towards our apartment. It was raining harder now. We passed someone on their bike and they smiled and waved. They too, like me and like you, must not mind the rain. 

You are loved, you are important, I believe in you.

-Mom

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A letter on love- 7/13/19

To my daughters.

Recently I wrote about the mistake I have made in ever raising my voice to you. Speaking of mistakes, there is something else I hope you know. 

I am human, I am not perfect and I have made and will make many mistakes in my lifetime. I promise to own up to my mistakes, and to grow from them. For you, for your daddy and for myself. 

There was a time, before I met your daddy, that I thought my mistakes or actions warranted mistreatment. I thought love was contingent on good behavior and what I had to offer other people. There was a time I thought I was indebted to someone just for treating me kindly or showing me love. 

Your dad not only loved me without conditions but showed me that I was worthy of that love. He loved me when I didn’t make it easy. He loved me when I didn’t love myself. He has loved me mad, he has loved me happy, loved me sad, loved me silly and loved me all the versions of me in between. Your dad showed me the true meaning of unconditional love. Truly, read that word and think about it. Unconditional. 

You too, are worthy of the best treatment on the planet and deserve nothing short of pure, enveloping love. Don’t ever let anyone, even the person in the mirror, make you doubt that. 

Someday, you will meet someone and experience this love. Until then, your dad and I will focus on one of our many missions as parents- to make sure you know you’re worth it. 

As always, you are loved, you are important. I believe in you. 

-Mom

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A letter on raising my voice- 7/10/19

To my daughters,

Your aunt Keeko recently told me that in Inuit culture the adults don’t raise their voice. This is because once you are an adult, they believe you should have learned the ability to control your emotions.

I believe this too.

So today, I am writing because I do raise my voice at times. Not all the time, but more times than I would like. And I need you to know that if I yell, it is not any fault of yours.

It is ONLY fault of mine. 

No matter what you do, even if it’s “naughty”, you do not make me yell. .

I’ll say it again, your behavior never forces someone to lose their temper.

This is important, and I would hate for you to ever think differently, especially if someday (in many, many years obviously) you have a relationship where someone blames you for their inappropriate actions and reactions.

The only thing that makes someone yell/lose their temper/etc is themselves and their inability to control their emotions effectively.

Ideally, by the time you read this, you won’t remember the times I raised my voice.  Instead, I hope you remember big girl breaths and yoga, impromptu dance parties and taking turns eating bites of ice cream out of the tub off our kitchen floor. I hope you remember getting outside for fresh air and hugging for AT LEAST 20 seconds.

I hope you remember that above all, you have always and will always make me happy, make me proud, make me smile, make me laugh, make me thankful and make me BETTER.

You are loved. You are important. I believe in you.

-Mom

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A letter on grief- 7/6/19

Dear Akiva,

Today is Dalton’s birthday.  Had things been different, we would be celebrating, with him.  Instead, your dad is skating at the Dam with all your uncles.  You wonder why you too, aren’t going skating. 

I have thought about explaining death to you.  We thought about what words we would say, ideas we would use without choosing a belief system for you.  You’re only three years old, but you’re just too aware and too intelligent.  I cannot teach you the life cycles of plants or why it’s not nice to step on bugs without tiptoeing around death and it’s become tiresome for both your dad and I to carefully gloss over parents dying in Disney films. 

We snuggle up in the big armchair in our living room.  It’s one of my favorite places in the house because you both fit perfectly snug on my lap.  I tell you that today your Daddy is very sad and while he is skating, I would like to make a card for him to help him feel better.  But first we have to talk.  I tell you both that today is your uncle Dalton’s birthday.  You and Lo get excited because you love parties.  I point out Dalton’s picture on the wall.  I explain that we won’t get to celebrate with Dalton because two years ago, Dalton died and that is very sad.  It makes Daddy especially sad. “Dying,” I say, “means that someone’s body stops working.  They can’t eat or talk and we can’t see or play with them anymore.  Dying is permanent.  Once a person dies, it can’t change.”

I read something like this on a parenting website.  But still, it feels cold and heartless.  Even as an adult, I’ll admit I have not heard death talked about so matter of factly.  Personally, I think when someone dies they become a star.  Your dad and I have said this to you before and one day maybe I will write a letter about the science and spirituality of that. But today, I was nervous if I said that Dalton was a star, that you would find that “cool” and say “I hope I can be a star”.  I told you and your sister about death in such a literal sense because I was so scared that if I said something flowery like “he’s in a better place,” or “God liked him so much, he took him early” that you might be confused.  Or scared. I was scared you might end up awake in bed nervous that you too could die any minute. 

You listen as I say that Daddy will need extra hugs and kisses and lots of love.  I say that although Dad is noticeably sad today, sometimes on days other than Dalton’s birthday, Dad also might feel sadness.  “Humans are complicated and life is complicated and sometimes, it is very hard to explain or understand.”  I hope that you don’t ask me to elaborate. You don’t but I can see what’s about to happen.  Your little mouth forms a slow frown and I can see the tears well up in your eyes. 

I pet your hair and ask you what’s wrong.  “My sad cause Daddy sad” you say.  You replace every “I” in your vocabulary with “My” and although your dad is trying, you don’t seem to want to make any effort to change that.  I hug you and rock you for a long minute and say that I am also sad because Daddy is sad.  I tell you that a good way to feel better is to talk about Dalton and listen to Daddy tell us stories about Dalton. 

skateboarding, toddler

Dalton was the first one of your uncles to take you skateboarding, when you were so small you couldn’t even walk yet.  We went to the park with Dad while he and Dalton skated and when they were finished, they came and got you, still in your car seat.  They pushed you around the park, your car seat on Daddy’s skateboard.  Then, Dalton and Daddy took you out and stood you up, holding you by your arms and wheeled you back and forth, back and forth. 

You smile at this story and want to hear more.  You love stories.  I wish I had a better memory or paid more attention to things around me that way you do.  I tell you that Dalton loved Harry Potter and of course you have no idea what that is.  We look at pictures of Harry Potter on my phone and I ask if you would like to watch that movie with Dad gets home.  I wish your dad was home to give you more of the stories you want.

The tears are drying on your cheeks but are still incredibly obvious.  “This is a really hard talk for Mommy to have and I know it is a lot for you too.  Mommy and Daddy are here for you though, to give you hugs and snuggles and answer any questions you have.  Do you have any questions?”  Lola says no and so do you but I can see the tears forming all over again.  “My think my need a card like Daddy to make me feel better too.”

We trace your and Lo’s hands on gold paper and I cut out the shape.  I fold another sheet and glue on your hands so the card looks like a “hug.”  Not going to lie, it seems pretty mediocre and elementary after the heavy talk we just had.  You both run off to play and I’m immensely grateful kids rebound so fast.  Originally I planned to have you guys more involved in the card, tracing the letters and such, but instead I am selfish and use the card as a way to get my mind off of possibly having just created morbid children preoccupied with death. 

I call you back to place heart stickers on the front and ask you what you would like to write in your dad’s card.  You ask me to write “Don’t be sad Daddy”, “My happy you’re my dad” and “My sad too and my can talk if you want to”. 

When Daddy comes home you run to him with card and point blank say “we made this cause you’re sad your friend died.”  Your dad bursts into tears and hugs each of us long and hard.  I am uncomfortable and awkward and I apologize.  He says “No, I am crying because all of you are so amazing, and it’s a different feeling to hear someone say it like that.  I needed that.  It’s just so heartbreaking that we have to explain this to our kids.”  You don’t apologize to your dad or try to get him to stop crying.  You just hug him and say “my sad too”.  Which is exactly what he needs. 

My heart is so full to have someone so thoughtful and caring as you in my life.  I wrote about your empathy in your hug card but I want to write it here too:

Your compassion is going to change the world.  You are so perceptive and pick up on the smallest change in someone’s mood.  Not only that, but you are mindful of yourself.  You have the capacity to wake up grumpy and say “My having a hard day.”  I’m 28 years old and have yet to figure that out.  I wrote this letter because I want to recognize that sensitivity that is hardwired into you and shout about it.  Someday someone or something will make you feel like it’s cool to be “hard” or it’s lame to be “tenderhearted.”  Don’t listen.  You care about people and that is an indispensable trait.  I am so proud to be your mother and so lucky to have you in my life.  You inspire me, literally EVERY SINGLE DAY.  I know in my heart that you will inspire so many others too. 

Your dad and I ended our vows talking about believing in one another and how much more we could accomplish together vs. alone.  Now we have you two and that feeling is exponentially bigger.  Not only are we better with you, but the world is better off now that you are here.  So from now on, when I write these letters to you and your sister, I will end with this:

You are loved.  You are important.  I believe in you.

-Mom

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