It’s been a while since I posted a personal story, dear Reader. I think it’s important to share a little about who I am as a person with you, and I don’t do it often enough. Well, that is soon to be remedied by a commitment I have made to a blog circle called “Letters to Our Daughters”, a lovely group of ladies that I found through my favorite photographer forum, Clickin Moms. One of the grand plans I had always kept in the back of my mind was to write a book consisting of a collection of letters to my daughter, so that she would have them all through her life…as a keepsake, a guide to life, a testament of my infinite love for her…and perhaps a peek into my soul that she might not see otherwise.
All of these thoughts, hopes and dreams for my little girl swam around in my head every day. As she changed every day right before my eyes, I could see time slipping away from me. I preserved memories as much as I could with my camera, but I wanted to do more for her. One night a few years ago as she lay sleeping peacefully beside me, I looked at her angelic face. All those thoughts, hopes, memories, and dreams that swam around in my head swelled until finally, they broke the dam. I was struck with the need to start writing these letters immediately, and began that same night. I sat at my computer with a box of tissues, typed up a rough outline of all the things I wanted to tell her someday, and then I wrote my first letter.
How many times have I looked at your beautiful face, and wished that I could tell you everything. Everything I have ever felt for you, everything I love about you, everything I hope and dream for you…
I wish I could tell you everything you need to know for this lifetime, so that you can enjoy it to the fullest. So that you can avoid all of my mistakes, and be spared any hardship or regret. In reality, there’s no way that you can ever avoid making any mistakes; mistakes are part of what shapes us as a person, and hardship, as cliché as it sounds, really does build character. More importantly, I believe that hardship in life is a key ingredient to helping us learn compassion for others.
Still, there are some mistakes and hardships that I hope to spare you from; even if the only thing that I gain through my own mistakes and hardships in life is the ability to pass the knowledge I gain on to you, then I will be grateful for them.
I am not a gifted writer, and spare time is so rare. As a result, this “book” may be nothing more than a collection of mish-mashed thoughts that I was able to jot down here and there, with no real order. There are many times when I have thoughts swimming around in my head, things that I mentally file away to tell you later when you are old enough to understand. Many times I have thought to myself, “I should write this down, so I don’t forget.” One of the things you’ll find out is that the mind is like a file cabinet, full of our thoughts and memories. When you are young, there aren’t many papers filed away in your cabinet, because you haven’t experienced much yet. As you get older, that file cabinet starts to get full, and sometimes, you lose those papers!
I’ve decided that rather than just thinking about what I’m going to tell you, or dreaming about writing a book for you, I’m going to do it, and do it now, for three reasons. One, so that I don’t forget anything important that I want you to know. Two, so that you will have something real and concrete that you can hold in your hands, rather than a fuzzy collection of memories from our conversations over the years. Your file cabinet is going to be full someday too! Life is crazy, and who knows if the opportunity will arise for us to talk about all the things I want you to know. I want this book to be something that you can go back and read again later when you’ve forgotten a thing or two. Finally, I want this book to be another window into who your mom is. A cruel fact of life is that a parent’s memory and understanding of her child’s soul is far more detailed and embedded in their minds than the child’s memories and understanding of her parents. Sadly, we don’t remember much from when we are very small. I have known you since you were born, and every little nuance of your personality has been etched into my heart. We are so close now, but someday when you are grown up, you will have a life of your own, and we won’t see each other day in and day out like we do now. Someday, you may look at me and your dad, and though you have an overall sense of belonging and love for us, generated from the years of love and togetherness and memories from your childhood, you may also realize that you don’t really know who we are in some ways. I hope this collection of memories and insights will give you a window into my soul, and maybe someday you’ll be able to pass this on to your children so that they will know some part of me as well.
If there is any one thing that you gather from this memoir, even if all my advice and knowledge proves to be inconsequential, please take this one message with you and carry it your entire life: You are, by far, the greatest gift your father and I have ever received. No matter what success or failure we will come to know, the greatest thing we ever achieved was to be your parents. God was so good to us when he gave us you. Not a single day goes by that I don’t look at your beautiful face and thank Him for what he has given us. Truly, as I have said to you countless times, you are the joy of my life. Always remember that you are beautiful, and that you were a gift from God, not just to us, but to the world.
This is the only letter I have written so far, and it is from 2010. Life, it seems, can get a little crazy. I blinked and almost 3 years passed. There never seems to be enough hours in the day; the desire to write the perfect thing that will be worthy of this epic project leaves me at a loss for words. But I have come to realize, there is no perfect time, there are no perfect words–I just need to do it without overthinking it. If you don’t make the time for the important things, they will never happen. So, I hope that by committing to this blog circle, I will be able to hold myself accountable once a month, and get back on track to finishing what I started.
I hope you’ll join me on this journey, and once in a while leave me some blog love. Let me know your thoughts. Did my story touch you in some way? Are you thinking about writing letters to your children? What do you hope to pass on to them?
And now I pass the torch onto my blog circle sister Brenda over at Lilly Lane Photography and Design. Thanks for stopping by, dear Reader!