When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child. ~Sophia Loren
Because: A Love Letter to My Children
In the past year, my children, now in their late teens, began very seriously understanding their future potential. As their mother, I had always seen the gifts that lay deep inside them as individuals. I also saw the incredible strength they have together, as siblings so close in age. The joke in our household as always been: they are twins, just born two years apart. They each possess a powerful work ethic, an amazing sense of purpose and a fully defined view of self. They also are endowed gifts that are the opposite of one another. I respect their individuality. I love them fiercely. I am a Mama Wolf, and they are my cubs. I would do anything to protect them, to encourage them and to help them achieve their dreams.
And yet, both children, at different times, have expressed a regret that I didn't "push" them more. As my son and daughter ventured out into the world without me, they saw the credentials that other kids have to be at the top of their 'pools'. My daughter wishes that I had not encouraged her to sail, swim, and work each summer. She has expressed a regret that she didn't, like so many kids, go to SAT camp the whole time. She now feels that she'd have gladly given up our Spring vacations to take AP exam cram session courses.
My son, however, feels he did just fine in school and is content with that piece of his life. He wishes, however, that I hadn't encouraged him to golf in the summers, and play soccer and baseball each Fall and Spring. He wishes that I'd enrolled him in intensive skating clinics and that he'd been tutored so that he could have spent as many waking moments as possible on the ice. He wishes that he hadn't wasted so much time with other activities...wondering where he'd be now in his hockey career if he'd had no other distractions.
My daughter is a wonderful student. My son is a fantastic hockey player. Perhaps they aren't exactly where they had envisioned themselves at this point. My daughter isn't yet the youngest woman to ever receive the Nobel Prize for Biology. My son hasn't yet been drafted to play Center for the Boston Bruins. They are working towards their goals, and I honor their ambitions.
Therefore: this note is to them, my Sun and Moon.
Because I love you, I not only let you have mud fights, I brought out the hose. I let you get as dirty as you possibly could and never once worried about bringing dirt into the house.
Because I love you, I let you stage dramatic battles between G.I. Joe and Barbie, even if it meant finding tiny pieces of plastic ammunition for months afterwards.
Because I love you, I let you bring a bunny into the house without my consent...and promptly fell in love with her because you did.
Because I love you, my heart broke the first time yours did. I cried with you, both on the inside and on the out. I kept a prayer in my heart that you would continue to fall in love, and love would find you right back.
Because I love you, I cheered loudly at sporting events, even when I had no clue what was going on, or who was winning.
Because I love you, I let you wear your pajamas inside out the night before snow was predicted and then danced along with you when our district was announced for a snow day.
Because I love you, I snuggled with you and watched The Lion King (over and over) with you like on rainy days.
Because I love you, I let you just be kids...kids who built forts, who made sand castles, had sleepovers, roasted marshmallows. I wanted you to be kids who'd learn to water ski in summer and snow ski in winter. I let you camp in the back yard, build a tree house with your Daddy and made you picnic lunches to eat 'in the great outdoors'.
Because I love you, I've encouraged you. I've subtly pushed you out of your comfort zones. You may not have noticed, but I love you enough to just helpfully spread your wings ever so slightly. And when it was time for you to fly? You just didn't realize your wings hadn't always been opened a bit...making the transition to fly that much smoother.
Because I love you, I am not just encouraging you to continue on your journey. I'm encouraging you to soar.
Because I love you, I am confident that you gained strength from just being normal, happy, laughing, playing kids. And, now I'm confident that you will be amazing adults.
In fact, you are already are. And I love you.