Saturday, October 11, 2008

My Request

Hi buddy,
It's been a long time since my last letter. I can't believe all that has transpired in our lives in the past few months. All that aside, I'm happy to be finally sharing with you again.

The other night I was tucking everyone into bed, you know the usual routine. It's become so "routine" that I almost forget that it can have meaning. It was during your bedtime prayer that I had a new thought; I was filled with a sense of gratitude at being allowed to listen in on your conversation with God. I realized that the days of this happening are probably numbered as the things you will want to talk with Him about will not necessarily be things you want me to know. I felt very privileged to be hearing you ask for His guidance and His blessings on you and your family and friends. I was also keenly aware of the depth and sincerity of your prayer. You prayed for things and people I had no idea you thought of. I was happy to think that perhaps you are developing a relationship with Heavenly Father and that because of that, you will be more likely to be happy in your journey in life. I hope with all my heart that you will cultivate that relationship, trust in His guidance and seek His council. I can promise you that He will always listen and bless you with the things that you need. With that thought, I want you to know that sometimes His answers aren't the ones we want. Sometimes, it seems that He isn't even listening. In fact, in this world many will try to convince you that He is not there at all. I can assure you that He is. Your father and I have felt of His love and been blessed by His guidance more than you will ever know. I know Heavenly Father cares deeply for all his children and that most definitely includes you.

I also want you to know that I pray for you. Each day I pray that Heavenly Father will guide me to be a better mother and to help me listen and be patient. Mostly I pray that I will be able to teach you all that you must know so you can make the choices in your life that will return you to Him. I want nothing more than to be with you, your siblings and your father, in heaven.

Son, I love you deeply and that is not just an emotion limited to this lifetime. I know that if we can both make the most of our lives doing the things that Heavenly Father asks of us we can share an eternity of happiness together in the life to come. I pray that you will always seek to be close to Heavenly Father and do the best you can to live in a way that will keep you close to Him. Please be wise and humble.

I love you,

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Budding Young Thespian

Hey Buddy,
I am so excited that you took part in the local children's theater production of Beauty and the Beast. You were AWESOME! You played the part of the Prince and you nailed it! As I sat in the audience I couldn't help but think, "Why didn't I know he could do that?" I felt like anyone else sitting in those chairs discovering you for the first time. I was blown away by your confidence and skill and I am looking forward to sitting in those chairs many more times in the future.

Here is to discovering yourself and letting me join you for the ride!

I love you,

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Carpe Diem

Dear Son,
I have been reading through my previous letters to you tonight and I've found that I have had some good things to say. I asked myself, "does he know I think these things?" I realized that while I am writing these thoughts, I am not expressing them well verbally. It's funny that I can write so many things like this and yet forget to say them to you each day. I'm sorry. I'm sorry if you don't know that I think of you like this. I'm sorry if you aren't aware that I am seeing you as a budding individual. I'm sorry if I let too many moments pass by without sharing my deepest thoughts.

I will do better. I know that you blossom when I share my thoughts with you. I've seen you change completely from snotty pre-teen to mature son when you have been validated and cherished. Every human craves those moments, (even I) and I know how great they can make a person feel. I promise to take more opportunity to praise and teach so that you know how I feel.

I love you!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Your Mother, The Over-achiever

Hey man,
It's been a while since my last post. I have been very busy, as you well know. It's parade season and since I am the one in charge of our city's parade, I have been busier than usual.

This concerns me a great deal. I worry a lot about whether or not my pursuits out side of our home are worthy of the time I spend away. Granted, it's not like I travel great distances but there are days when I spend a lot of time on the computer/phone.

First, I want you to know I love what I do. All of it. The parade chair, the PTA president and most especially, mom. I am grateful that your father feels it is just as important for me to enrich myself as it is for me to raise you. He is very supportive of all that I undertake and I hope that from this example, you will be that kind of husband.

Second, I need you to know that I think of you and your siblings in everything I do. When I plan a meeting, I do so when it will be least likely noticed by you. I try to make sure that if I have a day of "work" I make concessions on other days to balance it out. I pray every night that God will help me to have the energy and strength to do all that I can for you and our family and also to serve my community.

Overall, I hope that when you look back on your childhood you will do so with fondness and not resentment. I hope that my example of involvement will lead you to be proactive and involved. Too many people sit on the side lines hoping someone else will take charge. Someone has to take charge. You can be one of those people. You will have had the instruction and example and will know by experience that you can do great things.

I love you beyond words and every time I write these letters I am reminded how we are both learning together. Thank you for being my "trial run" and teaching me so much.

All my love,

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hey bud,
Here's another thing I've noticed lately; you've turned into super big brother to your sister. (You still have some issues with your brothers though.) I have watched you as you have flown her "supergirl style" around the house complete with the cape made out of old red fabric that you duct tape to her shoulders. She thinks you are the most wonderful thing ever. You have created the "super bounce" with her and on several occasions I've seen you carry her around the yard wherever she points you to go. Most of all I want to say thank you. Thank you for taking such good care of her. She will always look up to you and I know that I can trust you to keep an eye out for her well being.

It is at these moments I tell myself that you will be a good husband and father some day. I am grateful that God sent her to us so that you could learn tenderness and kindness and that you are choosing to learn those lessons. Again, thank you for loving your sister.

I love you!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Today's Advice

Don't be afraid to try something difficult. You will always be amazed at what you can actually do and in the end it's always worth it.

Be good. Do good.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Born to Greatness

Dear Son,
Your father and I were talking tonight about the small fortune we have spent on you this year. There has been much done to correct some educational lagging and also to give you great experiences. I was wondering if we should curtail some of our cash outflow with the concern that you might grow to think you have an entitlement to things considered by some to be "extras". After a lengthy and animated discussion I realized a few things; first, you have no idea how much we spend on various activities in which you take part and second, I would spend all I have to give you every opportunity in life.

I am growing up as a parent. (I'll bet you thought I was all grown-up.) I am comprehending now that you are really growing up too. I see you for the first time as the individual you truly are. Until this time, you were a child who needed to be parented. Now I am excited to see that you have interests. Mature interests. I feel excitement that you truly will choose a path of your very own. It is with this new found emotion that I conscientiously commit to encourage you in everything worthwhile that you wish to undertake.
I have been unsure as to how grand I should make my support. I realize now that because your father and I can give you great opportunity, you have an even greater chance to become great. I don't mean being the President of the United States or an studio executive. I mean a good, kind man who influences all he meets. I hope and pray that through your young life I will be able to offer you opportunity that will give you a unique and deep perspective on the world. I pray that you will learn empathy and hope, kindness and faith and also a powerful humility. I am grateful to know that God sent you here to do something in this world and I am equally grateful to know that I can help you discover your path to that end. It is my sincerest wish that you grow to achieve the greatness within you.

All my love,

Monday, June 9, 2008

You Can Do Anything

Dear Son,
A thought crossed my mind as a topic for one of my letters. We were talking about something tonight and you made the comment that the task was "sissy". I thought that was an interesting word to use and really assumed that it was one you heard from friends as I don't use it nor does your father. It led me to further wonder what chain of events led to the use of that word in the setting you first heard it. I gather from this and other passing comments, that you care a great deal about how what you do and say will be perceived by those around you. I am this way too. (So are a great many people in the world.) I think this is probably one of the most widely experienced fears, the fear of not being liked.

Let me tell you a little secret I have recently learned after years of scanning memories and experiences I have had; people will like anything you do if you believe in it yourself. I know this sounds simple, and really it is, but it's hard to master.

Do you remember when you got that haircut you didn't like? Your biggest concern was that the next day your friends would laugh at you. You were afraid they would make fun of how you looked. (For the record, the haircut was fine but it wasn't what you asked for so it was hard for you to come to grips with.) As your mom I was delighted to have a great secret to impart that evening. Seriously, I was excited because I know this works, you just have to believe in it yourself. I told you that even if your friends thought your haircut was the ugliest thing on the planet, if you thought it was great then they would eventually too.

All great people (and I mean anyone who has stuck to their guns on something) know this secret. It's the same secret that will keep you safe when your friends may choose to drink. It's the same secret that will keep you honest when someone wants the answers to the test. It's the same secret that will let you smile when the shirt you may be wearing is the butt of the jokes of everyone around you. It's what will allow you to accomplish great tasks when everyone says you can't. You've got to believe in it, believe in yourself and nothing anyone says will ever stop you.

But beware, don't confuse believing in yourself with self esteem. (Self esteem is a silly notion that someone came up with to make it okay to think only about one's self.) Believing in yourself is the security of knowing that what you are doing is right and good and that you will keep trying to get it right. It's knowing that what you have to bring to the world can help others to be better too. Always believe in yourself! Even if it is hard and many would tell you you're wrong, believe in yourself! You can do great things when you are free from the constraints of self doubt.

I believe in you!

Love, Mom

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A Great Endowment

I feel compelled to address a little habit you have. It seems that if things aren't nailed down (especially food), then you assume it's yours. I mention this only because this seems to be a problem with many of your generation (and many of mine). There seems to be a sense of entitlement that permeates our culture and I feel that in our house that belief is creeping in. This concerns me a great deal.

Let me explain. I really believe that in these days Heavenly Father is sending some of his best spirit children to experience life on this earth. I have a friend who likes to say that God is not sending any pushovers. I know that children can be strong willed and I truly believe this is because your spirit is endowed with a great deal of strength. And I know that however I train you to use that endowment will determine a great deal of what kind of life you choose in the future. What I want more than anything is for you to realize that your strength and good fortune in this life does not entitle you to anything. In fact, it beholds you to great responsibility. Heavenly Father did not send you here with great talent and spirituality for you to feel you get extra but instead I believe he wishes for you to give more.

A Tall Drink of Water

Dear son,
I took you to get a hair cut today and the stylist suggested we put blond high-lights into your hair. (Not gonna happen) This was after she asked me if you were over 12 years old. I have noticed lately that you have become a young man. You look like a teenager with your height and your mannerisms. This fills me with pride and dread as I admire the young man you are becoming and wonder at the adult into which you will grow. There is something really exciting about the fact that I can carry on a meaningful conversation with you and discuss topics that go beyond animated characters. You have surprised me on more than one occasion with an opinion on politics and religion. This tells me you pay attention to more than I realize. Note to self: He's listening! Well, at the very least it gives me hope that not everything I say passes in one ear and out the other. Most of all I want you to know that I am proud you are my son. You are truly a diamond in the rough and I love to watch you sparkle.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

A New Development

Hey buddy,
Ah man, it seems as though you have discovered girls. Or, more accurately, I have discovered that you have discovered girls. I knew this day would come but I had no idea that I would be the only one to discover it a week after it happened. It seems the girl in the neighborhood who keeps coming over to her friends house down the street is actually coming to get a glimpse of you. I find this quite amusing because this is the same girl you vehemently hated in third grade. In fact, I went to great lengths to keep you separated in the fourth. I suppose that I have gotten old in that I forgot hatred is the sincerest form of flattery. While I keep calming myself by saying out loud, "this is part of life and he's at that age...", I can't help but be struck with great fear at the thought that you have noticed the other gender. After all, you have had "the talk" and I feel that you are armed with knowledge I wish I could just pretend doesn't exist since you now notice. I realize that you are only eleven and I'm assuming (hoping) that your mind hasn't gone beyond a holding hands. I just want you to know, I've got my eye on you (and them). I will watch from a safe distance as you begin to see young ladies in a new light. I will encourage you to make friendships with good girls in the hopes of teaching you how to behave around them and I will do my best to be nice to girls who call you on their cell phones (this has already been happening for two years, I have not been nice before). Just know this is hard for your mother. Not because I'm a control freak but because there is so much at stake and there is so much to persuade you otherwise. My greatest wish is that you are careful. Please be careful. You are young and so are they (yes, I look at all girls as the opposition). Don't run too fast.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Promise

Dear Son,
I remember the day you were born, it was a beautiful spring day and you came into this world surrounded by family. Your father and I were young college students at the time and we were filled with anticipation and hope at your arrival. Looking back I wonder what made us think that we could raise a child and now I can hardly believe it's been eleven years.
I have to confess that your creation and birth were more about what I wanted than what you may have chosen. We wanted a baby. We wanted a family and most especially we wanted you. Even on the day of your birth my thoughts were about how scared I was and how my body felt. You were a new adventure and a great possibility and yet something completely unknown. Don't get me wrong, we planned for you. I read books, took classes and created a nice place for your new life here on earth but really your life was something I wanted for myself. Even as prepared as I thought I was, I now understand that your summons to the world was beyond my understanding.

And so, you are my teacher, my crash course as it may be. It doesn't seem to matter the classes I take or the books I read, I realize that I am parenting on the fly. You are the ultimate experiment through which I will write the manual to help raise your brothers and sister. I know this is hard for you. I know that sometimes the frustration I raise in your life can be overwhelming but I have something to offer you as well. I have and will continue to give you opportunity. I promise that I will do my best to learn as much as I can and teach you the things I know and then give you avenues to test them out. I ask only one thing, please be patient. Please know that as your mother, I have to stop you sometimes. I have to tell you no.

Thanks to you, I can now enjoy the luxury of looking back. You have given me that. I have a reference point now that you have kindly offered through your limited time here with me. But as you grow you are beginning to move into your own sphere and that causes me to be afraid. Before, I could easily find the answers to your questions, and the monsters that haunted the corners of your little life were not scary to me. Now your monsters are my monsters too. I am equally afraid of those things that hide in the dark places of life and sometimes I know that I am the only one who sees them for what they are. Sometimes I feel as though we are two children brandishing plastic swords at an unseen, although real, hidden enemy. I promise that I will be the brave one. Do not be afraid, I will be the first one into the dark. I will always offer my life for yours because I love you.