What?! You’re moving????????

Dear Son/Daughter,

Are you kidding me?????? I have devoted my entire life to raising you, grooming you, encouraging you, and shall we say lecturing you into an amazing person.  Finally, you make it through the rocky river and emerge looking like a shiny diamond.  And…. and….and….YOU’RE MOVING?????!!!

Boy, oh boy, the return on investment in this parenting thing is looking critically low right now! ouch.

However – I haven’t been doing all this for me.  Not by a long shot.  Or I would have parented very differently.  It’s been for you.

And I couldn’t be happier for you!

Do you remember, years ago, when you told me you were moving out?  We talked, and though I knew I’d miss you, I told you that this was the moment we had been aiming our sights towards.  Your becoming a young adult and being confident enough to tackle life on your own.  That was a huge feather in your dad and my caps.  A victory.  Because you did it!  You tackled life and its challenges.  You handled some challenges better than others (that’s the rocky river I was talking about in the first paragraph) and emerged better for it.  And now….

A move.  It’s not Alaska. Thank God. But it’s not local either.  Already my life seems so empty at the thought of not having you near.  On the other hand I am so excited for you and your future.  You have worked hard and been recognized for it.  Seeing an opportunity, you strategically planned and jumped on it.  Now the future is very exciting.  I heard the excitement in your voice yesterday as you described the unknown.  You don’t even care that you don’t know the details!!! It’s adorable! Your excitement is all this momma needs to send her baby off with a heartfelt wish and a prayer as I cheer you on!

I am so, so proud of you.  And as you ride off into the great unknown, we will be here….praying, cheering, and waiting for news of your great adventure.

Go get ’em!!! You have all the tools you need!

With all my love,MomXOooXXOoo

 

 

On Suicide

My Precious Son/Daughter,

You know that logo? “LIFE IS GOOD!”  It’s true on many levels.  But life is also full of trials.  And sometimes those trials get the best of people.  I wish we knew the magic formula on what makes some people fighters and overcomers in situations where others struggle deeply and are overcome.  But we don’t.  And I suspect we never will.

Each of us has our struggles.  And I’m convinced each of us sometimes feels uncomfortable, out of place, useless or odd.  Those are normal feelings.  They aren’t healthy.  But when you understand that these thoughts and feelings are something each of us struggle with, it takes away the toxic nature and poison behind the thoughts.  At one time or another we all question our value and what difference we make in the world.

Suicide is a devastating end result of entertaining those thoughts.  A heart that longed for love, help, and care from others – but couldn’t receive it.  There is a deep hurt that longs for relief.  And as your mom, I hope and pray that you have never contemplated suicide or been affected by one.  Throughout your life I have tried to show you the depths of my love for you and your value in this world.  Without you, without each one of us, the world would be sadly different.  Do you remember that movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life?” Your dad and I watch it each Christmas – Honestly, I think it’s because Dad is so in love with Donna Reed (the main character’s wife), but nonetheless it has a great message – The power of one person’s life on those around him!

Not long ago I saw one of your friends post on Facebook live his thoughts about suicide.  I wondered what prompted him.  Had he considered suicide? His friend? Had he been affected by a suicide? Unfortunately, most people have been.  As I watched his video I was reminded of a powerful scene your dad and I had seen in a Blacklist episode on TV.  The scene involved the main character, Raymond Reddington, and a woman who he had just rescued from a suicide attempt.  Disregarding his concern for her, she was about to throw herself into a crossfire which would lead to her imminent death.  Reddington didn’t know this woman and had no relationship with her – which I think makes his plea even more powerful.  You will want to rid yourself of distractions for the next minute and a half as you listen to this clip.  Reddington’s words are crazy powerful in this clip:

Video Clip: The Aftermath of Suicide

Although he was describing the effect of a suicide bomber, Reddington’s words, “There was almost nothing left to those closest to him,”  is a powerful reminder that the remains of suicide are always widespread devastation.

He goes on to say, “The closer they were to the [victim], the more horrific the effect.” The.  More. Horrific. The. Effect.

You’re probably wondering why I’m writing this letter to you today.  I’m not entirely sure myself.  But I’d bet by now you know someone who has either talked to you about suicide or been affected by one.

I encourage you to reach out.  Look for the lonely, hurting and sad amongst your “friends.” Be that safe place for them.  And when you’re feeling lonely, hurting or sad – reach out.  Seek out someone that would wish they were there for you if only they knew what you were going through.  We all love to be strong and present a tough exterior.  But sometimes it’s better to be real.

I pray that you know you can always come to me.  I will listen.  And seek to understand.  Or keep quiet and just give you a hug! Life is good, but tough.  Or should I say: life is tough, but good!! Let’s be that safe friend for those we love.

With all my love,

Mom

 

 

 

 

You’re Getting Married!

icon-coupleDear Son,

Oh my! I can’t believe my baby is getting married!  You have grown into such a fine young man and your Dad and I are so proud of you.  From the time I first felt you kick in my belly, I have prayed for this day; your choice in a wife, your maturity, and your commitment.  You and God have both surprised me in answering all my prayers better than I thought possible!

You have chosen well.  Your precious fiancé, soon to be wife, is a prize!  I only dreamt that I would love my daughter-in-law as much as I love her already.  And I’ve noticed with her by your side you are a better man because she brings out the best in you.  Or, I should say, your love for her brings out the best in you.  I have seen you mature tremendously since you have been together.  You put your natural feelings aside and put a smile on (and even joke) when you were a bit irritated.  Son, you are a good man.  As your mom, I know you well.  And I know when you are stretching yourself and I have to say, you have impressed me again and again with how you are with your love. Likewise she impresses me in how wonderful she is to you!  As a mom you want your children to marry someone who will adore them.  And adore you she does!!! She is the greatest type of wife – one who will cheer you on to anything you want as long as you love her.  She’s very simple.  She is so in love with you that it should be quite simple to keep her happy. Maybe not easy, but simple.  Because you have chosen well.  Love her.  Love her lots! She is your greatest asset –  a wife beside you that supports whatever you want, loves you completely, and encourages you in your dreams! WOW! The key to your marriage is to keep her sweet and in love.  The challenge will be when life hits you and you feel the pressure of the responsibility you have taken on – between your job and your wife and when you have kiddos. But you can do this! I know you can because I have seen your determination and imminent success when you put your mind to something.

Do you remember last week when we went to lunch?  When I left our time together, I left inspired and a bit exhausted by your daily routine; listening to how you had something going every night after work, working out on your lunch break, meeting coworkers for breakfast, and the effort you put forth in your job; but definitely inspired!  You told me about how you were stretching yourself and filling your schedule intentionally to build relationships with others – and I was challenged. As you step into this new chapter, I pray you find the balance.  And know – everyone’s “balance” is different. You and your love will find your balance.  It will take a little compromise, but living with another person always does.

The most wonderful thing about your entering into this new chapter called marriage is that you are not going it alone.  You know the Lord, and He is always with you.  In the book of James there is a promise that I have leaned on more than any other promise in the bible.  This one promise has proven to me who God is, that He is personal and true, again and again throughout my parenting.  It’s found in James 1:5:

            If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives
generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

That promise – that God give wisdom generously – is one that I have found that God keeps 100% of the time.  Whenever I didn’t know how to handle a situation I would stop and pray.  And wait.  And God always stepped in, giving me a direction, a thought, an idea that applied to what was happening.  God’s wisdom is a valuable and it helps us to see things as God sees a situation, knowing the best way to handle it.  Lean hard.  The Lord loves you and He awaits the opportunity to help you. How cool is that ?!

Well, my son… I am a proud momma!! You have impressed me in many areas.  As you take on this wonderful new beginning please know that you and your precious wife will continue to be in your father’s and my prayers.  We are your biggest fans.  And at this stage in our lives, we are simply cheerleaders.  Please let us know how we can best support you.

I am soooo excited for your big day!  And even more excited to watch you walk out this exciting time in your life! Go Baby Go!!!

With all my love,

Mom

 

 

Letter to my adult children (2nd attempt – the softer version!)

Dear Son/Daughter,

I remember the first day I held you.  The image is engraved in my mind.  You were absolutely beautiful.  I was amazed that God would bless me with a child and actually trustME to raise you.  What was He thinking?! How could I be trusted to do a good job? The thought of what the future held and all the responsibility that laid in front of your father and me was overwhelming and yet exhilarating.

Excitedly, I held you.  Again, I was amazed at God.  How could He create you to fit in my gigantic arms so perfectly as a tiny newborn and also as you grew?  I remember thinking, “How can anyone doubt God exists?” when they see the miracle of a child and how they grow.

Well, I embarked on parenting about as seriously as I imagine anyone has.  I thought I had to be perfect.  I embraced my “calling” to mold you into being the best you could be.  I prayed, reasoned, talked to others and researched as to the best way to handle challenging situations.  I vowed to give it my best…. and when I made mistakes (and I made plenty) I first asked God for forgiveness, asked the same of you and begged the Lord to erase my errors from your memory.  Not to preserve my reputation but so that I would not “damage” you.

As you grew, your father and I fell deeper and deeper in love with you.  We saw the potential and plans that God had for you.  We saw that your soul had an enemy.  And that the enemy of your soul would love to stop God’s plans.  We saw the battle ensue.  And we saw you fight … you desired to do what was right.

You grew in stature and knowledge.  You made good choices – we cheered you on.  You made poor choices – we prayed and talked your ears off.  You made crazy choices – what could we do?! We just watched, prayed and waited those out!

Today is very different.  You are grown.  And, as most parents, we look back to evaluate.  There are no redo’s.  Darn.  Because we see our mistakes.  Times I could have been more gentle, loving, grace-filled.  Times that our choices for you were questionable……

Today is different.  We don’t want to parent you.  But it’s difficult.  We want to encourage you and be your cheerleaders.  We love you through and through. Quite honestly, more completely and thoroughly and unconditionally than probably any other human being will.  That’s just part of being a parent.  An ingrained God-given love.  It’s wonderful.  It’s painful.  But much more glorious than troublesome.

Except….  Well….  I’ve seen you’re eyes.  When we make mistakes.  When we lose our cool (we are so darn human, I hate it….still wanting to be perfect for you).  When we give our input.  I’ve seen you look at your sibling.   I’ve seen the blank stare when I ask a question I shouldn’t or start my “teaching” mode.  I shouldn’t.  I know.  I’m sorry. But I’m not.  I love you so much.  I want the very best for you.  I want to cheer you on with all the wisdom I’ve gained from my mistakes.  I desperately want to save you from making the same.  I have seen so much more and experienced so much more than you can imagine – that I can foresee where your potential choices will lead…..

I couldn’t stand and watch you run into the road when you were two… it seems cruel to stand and watch you get hurt now…..

But the polls are in….. the overwhelming majority says I must.  (cringe)

I hope you’ll be patient with me.  I don’t think you would let me walk into the street at my age… and it’s difficult to watch you.

Honestly, though, you do have everything you need.  God has equipped you.  You have the knowledge, wisdom and ability, to make good choices and you have  a keen work ethic to succeed at whatever you set your mind to.   You can stand strong in what you know is the best choice for you personally, and go against the tide/pressure when other’s try to lead you into things that just won’t help you.

Every day is full of choices.  Choices that matter.  Those choices are the building blocks of our character/who we are.  I trust you to make wise choices.

I have faith in you.  I know your hearts.  The Lord will walk with you each step if you let Him.  I thought of a wonderful “quip” to shoot over in a text to you today.  You know the kind… but the Lord reminded me that it’s your time to hear from Him.  Not me.  A glorious day, really.

I believe in you.  You have nothing to prove to someone who loves you through and through.  I miss our times.  But you have a life to live.  I know you will do it well.  Be blessed.  Be strong.

You,  are my favorite people,

and, I… am

your biggest fan,

Mom

Letter to My Adult Children (1st of 2)

Dear Sons/Daughters,

It occurred to me last night that you just don’t get me….  So I think i need to try to explain myself – for the sake of all parents out there – because honestly,……we, parents of adult children, are highly misunderstood!

Ok, here it is in a nutshell.  I love you.

That’s it.  That is IT!   ………….     I love you.

Got it? No, I didn’t think it would be quite that easy to explain.

So let me try….

Ok, when you became an adult (basically, this is the time when you were deemed to have enough knowledge and ability to live life without your parent’s assistance. 🙂 – you know, you can hold down a decent job, pay bills, you know right from wrong, you have a good head on your shoulders… )

Uh hum,   When you became an adult….. your father and I switched gears.  Kind of like switching from first gear to second gear when driving a stick shift car…. BUT – I don’t think you noticed.

We no longer tell you what you “can” and “cannot” do. It’s your life!  But we love you.  So we “advise” you about what we see is best.

Because we love you. That’s it!

Did you notice us getting worked up? Getting emotional?  I did.  It kinda annoyed me just listening to myself.  And I know it more than kinda annoyed you.  But when you were two and ran for the road I got worked up too.  Get it?  We love you.  That’s it!

So, I ask you… if you have someone who loves you more than they love themselves (a rare quality that you may not be so blessed to find in the future-I might add….) then why are you so annoyed?  Why do you not put more stock in our “advice”?

When you look backwards and consider if you had taken our advice….what would today look like for you? Better? …. Or not?

just askin……

Nonetheless.  My sweet adult child…. Your father and I do understand.  We do.  Truly.  I know it’s hard to believe but we were young and on our own once.  We wanted to “make our own way”. We wanted to prove ourselves to our parents.  We wanted to succeed by our own abilities without anyone’s assistance.  We do know what it’s like.  Too well.

But, there is one thing….  You don’t know what this is like….

To love someone so wholly.  So completely.  So deeply – a love that you never knew you could feel – so unselfish…. and um, you know, have them misunderstand you.

My advice…. I give it because I’m cheering for you.

I already see you at the finish line.  Successful and victorious.

I know that’s hard for you to believe because you don’t seem to see that for yourself – but truly, that’s how I see you!  I am trying to cheer for you.  Encourage you.

I already see you at the finish line.  Successful and victorious.

That is my problem.  I think all the peripheral is avoidable.  Maybe it just isn’t.  Like the tortoise and the hare.  You remember… the hare ran arrogantly expecting to win the race, as fast as he could.  Meanwhile the tortoise took his time, made a few pit stops and paced himself.  I’m sure you remember that the tortoise surprisingly won.

So, I guess the problem is me.  I guess, when everyone advises me to stop advising you – they are right.  I suppose you do have enough knowledge, wisdom and discernment to do this on your own.  And if you want to do it your way, why not? (cringe)

Well, what was the purpose of my letter anyway? I’m not sure I remember…. oh, yes I do.  Just an attempt to remind you ….. I am simply cheering you on. Not trying to meddle.  There is nothing in it for me.  This is your life.

I love you dearly.  I am surprised how much.  It kinda stinks sometimes.  But I would not trade it for all the money, maids, personal chefs or pearls in the world!!!!!

You are amazing.  You do not have to prove yourself to us.  You will understand one day when your children are grown too.  When they are trying to prove themselves to you – the one who loves them unconditionally without any good reason.  You will see how silly it is that they try to earn your approval when it is ingrained in you.

Then, you will “get it”. 

But for now, I hope part of you will try to believe that we don’t judge you.  You do not need to earn approval that you already have.  We admire you.  We love you.  We are excited about your future and the wonderful choices you have before you.

You, are our favorite people –

and, I, am….

Your biggest fan,

Mom

I was so proud!

Dear Son/Daughter,

Last week I saw something in you that blessed my heart – and as I continue to think about it I am so proud of you – and wanted to point it out to you:

Do you remember when you ate that cookie (that you knew you shouldn’t have) and you became really hyper? You were talking a mile a minute and I thought it was cute even though the timing was bad and I couldn’t get your attention…We needed to do schoolwork and it was very difficult. I was trying to teach; you couldn’t stop talking long enough to listen much less concentrate. Then you started acting ugly. You lashed out at your classmate and friend and hurt her feelings again and again. I could tell she was hurt and things were going to get worse if you didn’t stop. So….
I stopped you in your tracks. And forced you to listen to me as I explained that this was the result of eating sugar.

First you get hyper, then you get ugly.
Neither one is what you are naturally.

I explained that the things you were saying to your friend were not things you would normally say – I could tell that you didn’t even really mean them, you were just having a great time talking and it turned ugly. It wasn’t your intention to be hurtful but you couldn’t seem to stop yourself. Meanwhile, you were hurting one of your best friends very badly. As she fought the tears I encouraged her that this wasn’t your heart but just the way you respond and act when you eat sugar.

Then I turned back to you and talked to you about self control. I told you that you were old enough at 11 years old to have self control. And you could be quiet if you couldn’t control those words that were hurting your friend. Then I gave you an example of how a friend’s son would get ugly when he was overtired. As they pointed this out to him, he would realize what he was doing and that he wasn’t acting like he normally would – and before you know it, he was in bed; sleeping it off.

At that point you became very quiet and you wouldn’t talk or even participate in class. When we finished class an hour or so later, I asked you if you were upset or practicing self control. You said you were practicing self control.

If you could have seen my heart it would have beamed like the sunshine I was so proud of you! What a big accomplishment! You went from motor mouth to quiet just so you wouldn’t hurt your friend. That must have been so difficult to fight the urge to talk and talk and talk. You did it!

I am so proud. You are growing up so nicely and this is just one example of how you are maturing and thinking of others and putting them before yourself. Those are the ways that we make our lives fulfilling and meaningful. When we act beyond what may come naturally and do the right thing! I can see God grooming you for the great plan He has for your life and I’m excited to be a part of it!

I’m so proud of your self control and who you are!

It’s fun to watch you grow,

Love,
Mom

About My Nagging….

Dear Son/Daughter,

Nobody likes a nag!  I have to apologize.  I saw the look on your face that told me I had gone too far.  And it wasn’t the first time.

Can I tell you what’s going on inside me? Maybe you can empathize with this role called Motherhood?!

It’s almost like a cruel joke.

Okay! Let’s go back to your birth… Don’t roll your eyes – you’ll see why!

You were born. Oh my, what an amazing baby! You were so sweet, adorable and we were head over heels in love!!!  Dad and I just wanted to hold you all the time.  I remember we’d get in spats: “It’s my turn to hold him.”  “No, it’s my turn!”  And that never got old.  We both loved being with you, being your parents, watching you grow, being a part of every step.  It is an amazing blessing the Lord gives us to be parents!!

I usually gave in and let Dad hold you; because I had the privilege of staying home with you.  So I had more time with you.  And staying home was so much fun as you grew, and learned the amazingly cute things like laughing, clapping, baby words, baby steps, etc.  The joy is immense!

As you grew, your strengths and weaknesses would show – like they do in all of us.

I remember when you were learning to walk, the room was full of people and we were cheering you on.  You would fall (which would normally make you cry) but because there were so many people cheering you… you simply popped back up, tried again and did it!  Applause brought a giant smile on your face.

You loved people’s approval.  To the point that you set aside what was your typical reaction.  Of course, that character trait can be strength- as you work hard and press through difficult situations OR a weakness- as you yield to please someone you shouldn’t.

That’s just one example of how we saw little glimpses into your personality. When I saw them, I packed them away in my treasure chest of clues of what you might become.  There were lots over the years.  It was fun – like doing a puzzle and seeing what the picture might become.

You have grown up so nicely.  There is so much goodness in you.  Through and through.  I know your heart.  Now that you’re not a kid anymore I look at you differently.  I look at you and I see an adult.  I see you in all your potential.  Overcoming (whatever comes against you and your plans), leading (those around you in the right direction), thriving (balancing work and pleasure), successful (in work, school, and healthy relationships), and joyful (with an inner joy- knowing you are doing what you were created to do).

Can you read that last paragraph again? Because as strange as it sounds, that is how I see you.

It’s the power behind my nagging! See? I have so much faith in you and your potential-

And I believe in you so much-

That I want to urge you on!

I have this crazy notion that I, somehow, can urge you to see the same greatness and potential and skip all the steps that help to build that greatness.  And sometimes, if you would just listen to me I could save you so much pain/hardship – but oh well, I have to get it through my thick skull that you will learn your life lessons your way.  And still become all that you can be!!

This is hard for you to understand – because we all love so conditionally- but this is the truth:

I will always see greatness in you.  No matter how many mistakes you make.  I will always believe in you and be cheering and diligently praying for you.

I pray for you often and I pray for you specifically – so that you will not let anything hinder you.

I am sorry that my concern and urging comes off so negative and distasteful.  Please forgive me.  I am trying to let go and just cheer from the sidelines.  Please pray for me.  That’s the cruel part of motherhood – we are so in love and so attached and our final “act” is letting go.  I’m trying.  Please know my heart.

I love you immeasurably; there are not enough words in the English language to express the depth a mother feels! I am so excited to see all that you become as you continue to grow.

I believe in you!!

Your biggest fan,

Mom