I am reading a book entitled “Breakfast with Buddha” and there’s a point where the protagonist writes a letter to his daughter, simply providing a lighthearted status of his current road trip; but mostly to tell her he misses and loves her. The author states in a roundabout way that parents do not have the best method to express the love for their children.
In a way, I agree. It is clumsy sometimes. We feel like our children simply do not get the depth of this love; which feels to us parents like a failure to communicate. While reading this portion of the book, I felt compelled to try to capture my feelings in order to communicate them to my son. I’d like to take the time to do it before it is too late to do it. In doing so, I know for sure he understands exactly how I feel.
I want you to know, that when I say “I love you” it’s just not a simple platitude. Those words contain a myriad of dimensions behind it. You are a gift to your father and me. An embodiment of the best and worst of both of us. And I love every aspect of you. From your smile to your moodiness. Your laughter tickles the heck out of me to my core. When you were conceived, I could feel an inner joy within me that did feel like a playful tickle. I could only smile and giggle with the spark of life I was promoting in those 9 months.
As young parents your father and I never wanted to share you with anyone. Reluctant to share you with Grandma and Grandpa because we loved spending time with you. You never had babysitters because we took you everywhere with us. The one and only time we ever had been separated from you was on our wedding anniversary after you were born and we chose to take a night out as a couple for dinner. We hated leaving you, and cut the dinner short to just be with you.
You taught us a depth of loving and caring I don’t think either one of us really understood until you were born. When you hurt, we hurt. When you found joy we were over the moon. When you were angry, it took all of ourselves not to burst in laughter over the triviality over which set you ablaze.
The man you are becoming makes me beam with pride. You are organized and so very considerate. It has always been a source of joy knowing how you care for others (your network of friends and family). When I hear you ask “How was your day?” to either me or your dad with a genuine interest and concern, I feel so very happy to know you are exactly the person we hoped to have in our lives and in others’ lives.
Even in your youth you have been a caregiver. Your heart is the best part of you. I hope you know how much of an impact you have on everyone you mentor and befriend. I respect the heck out of you and your values. I had always hoped you would have the integrity I lacked and avoid the weaknesses I had.
As you grow older, I pray and encourage you to become more independent and self sufficient. The pride in knowing you did it all yourself is the best feeling ever. Use your resources – your network of friends, coworkers, and family as well as technology to help you find your solutions and answers to the problems at hand.
Know that there are little pockets of notes to you in places in the house. Your baby book for example has letters to you from both me and your father. I kept a journal while I was pregnant with you to let you know how I cared for myself in preparation for you. And every book I have kept in the house, I kept because the stories were so profound that I hope that you pick one up and read it too.
It is a constant fear of mine that you may not find true happiness and life will deal you some hard lessons. But in the end, it is a part of the growth process. Whenever you are faced with an obstacle I hope you have the presence of mind to step back after the brief freak out and know that there is an opportunity to learn from the experience in order to grow and be a better version of you in the end.
Life is a constant path towards learning. The more you experience the more you grow. When I encourage you to travel and meet people it is to expand your experience. I know at this point you are not a fan of just getting out there but I hope that changes over time and you do get to go to fun places and meet outstanding people and become lifelong friends. Expand your circle of friends as they become your extended family when both your dad and I pass on. Know that I hated that you had no other siblings because I wanted you to always have someone you can count on to share your feelings and frustrations like both your dad and I had with our siblings.
And in every journey out you have, no matter how mundane, always be open to those moments that makes you smile. Take nothing for granted. Be present in the moment. It could be a pleasant exchange with a complete stranger or it could be a funny bumper sticker on the car in front of you. Find reasons to go through life observantly and not like a mindless automaton. That last way is easiest but it’s the least fun. So empty.
Also know that I am so excited to see ultimately the man you become. I bargain with the reaper every day to let me have this one indulgence. I want to see the fully grown you. It is what I live for. It’s not just the cats.
All my love,