A love letter to my children on Valentines Day....
Look at you! Aren't you amazing? All three of you amaze and inspire me in such different ways. And all three of you hold my heart in your hands. I give it to you gladly. You are the future and I can't wait to see what your lives bring.
And my heart holds many hopes and wishes for you.
Have you heard the song "I Hope You Dance"?
Well, my hopes are really not the same although it is a catchy and sweet song. I do hope you choose to dance instead of sit on the sidelines, and I hope the majesty of God's creation leaves you awestruck, but my hopes for you are more about what you learn and how you live.
You see, mom has lived a little as she's moved around a lot. And when you spend your whole life erasing the chalk board of your life and starting over -- well, so many things that our society call important just AREN'T.
So, my crazy, funny, beautiful, amazing, sarcastic, pouty, talented, loving, wise babies....I Hope you....
LEARN. Every day is good but at least one new thing a week. Because when we stop learning new things we stagnate. And you can decide to learn something new, give it a try, and then decide you aren't interested. There is no foul in trying and rejecting. That includes people. Just do all rejecting with style and grace and there is no shame.
I hope you READ. To read is to learn. To read is to expand your horizons. To read is to be quiet and still within yourself without needing to be electronically stimulated or entertained by others. To read is to relax. To read is to do something for yourself. And audio books count.
I hope you WRITE. Because writing can get that subject out of your head and onto paper. Sometimes that is the best healing ever. And if you aren't much of a talker or sharer -- it can be therapeutic. Don't write for an audience....write for yourself. If you write down those things that need to be released from your mind, it won't matter what others think of that writing. You aren't doing it for them. Audiences are fickle and over-rated and mostly busy chasing the newest thing. You won't stay the newest thing for long.
I hope you COOK. Just ask big brother....knowing how to cook has lots of perks. Because most kids, including girls, are not being taught to cook anymore. And being able to make cookies, a smoothy and your favorite pie....is not actually cooking. Cooking is being able to put a complete meal on the table....all at the same time. And breaking bread and sharing a meal with someone is one of the most intimate and caring things you can do. Eating is something you do with those you love. Enjoy their presence and their conversation. Give them the attention they deserve.
I hope you learn to value the core of who you are over the approval of others. Friends come and friends go. Most of them go and never return. Literally 99% of the people you know in life are going to walk out of it. And the "in" crowd? You have got to be kidding me. I promise you this....I have seen many of the "in" crowd as adults. They aren't happy. They are still trying to keep up with their image. They are burdened by debt and are still trying to one-up everyone - because their life is all about what other people think. That is their focus in life. And the outside picture very rarely matches the inside picture. Don't live like that babies. Love yourself. Explore what YOU want to do or be. You are the only one living your life. Don't give control to someone else.
I hope you LOVE. One big love that you marry and spend every last day of your life with. Its not important when you meet this love...just that you do have that one big passion in life. My hopes are that you do not have many minor loves before that. Every broken relationship leaves some kind of scar on your heart....and my hope for you is that you give your true love as unblemished a heart as possible. Do you want to hand over a battle scarred and worn heart? To the one grand passion you spend forever with? Do not give your heart away easy my loves. It is a treasure that affects your whole life. Save it for the one that deserves it the most.
I hope you LAUGH. Long, hard and crazy. And mostly, I hope you laugh at yourself and with your loved ones.
I hope you TRAVEL. To another country and hopefully for a period of time, not just a quick visit. Although all of you have lived in another country as children, I hope you do so as adults. Why? Because those that have not lived outside of the USA, have NO CLUE what it is we have here.....or how much more of everything we have in our country. Want something after 5 pm on a weekday....you can get it. Travel somewhere and find you forgot something....you can replace it easily and quickly. I want you to know that being truly "poor" means not have a roof over their heads with running water, heat or even a stove. They sure don't have cars, bling and cell phones. And no one gives them a check. No one cares if they starve. In the US there are at least some measures to help....even if they don't always work. Its much easier to learn true empathy in a foreign country. And when you grasp that empathy, you begin good works.
I hope you HONOR.......
Your father, grandfather and great-grandfather and all those career military that give up all of their youth to serve a country whose congress takes and takes and takes the benefits they promised until they all wonder why congress hates them so much. These men and women think of their fellow countrymen before themselves and their own children. And although that is hard when you are one of those children or spouses, you cannot question your loved ones integrity or honor. They are the real deal.
And I hope you REMEMBER....
The joy of a daddy returning from war......and never forget all those that didn't return, and their families. Our countries privileges are built on their blood.
I hope you surround yourself with FAMILY. And realize that family is not about DNA. You can walk away from a poisonous relationship even if you share DNA. You can develop a family relationship without it. Although the DNA will always be a part of your life, the relationship can be a choice. A hurtful DNA relationship can be left behind. And I think the three of you know that we have plenty of family that we are not related to. We make them part of our family because of the love and bonds we have. You too can make that choice. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
But mostly, my babies I hope you KNOW that no matter what your path in life, no matter if you do none of these things.......I love you. I love the people you are becoming. And even if I don't agree with your choices, I honor your individuality and ability to make those choices.
Because I love you guys.