A love note to my adult children

I originally wrote this as a message for my oldest daughter, but it goes for my son as well.  I have edited it accordingly and expanded on my original message.

I love you and miss you and wish there was a time machine I could take back to when you were just babies and tell your mom what is really important for her to do for you.

I would tell her to hold you and cuddle you and let you cling to her whenever and however often you wanted to.

I would tell her to hold your hand and pick you up whenever you reached for her.

I would tell her to turn off the t.v., hang up the phone, and put down the book and just give you her undivided attention.

I would advise her to speak softly and tenderly to you and to listen intently when you speak.

I would tell her to forget about taking care of anyone other than you and not to be concerned with whether or not other people had good, bad, or indifferent opinions of her and just be concerned with what your opinions are and will be.

I would tell her that the love you have for her is sufficient and that the love she has for you only counts if she shows it in meaningful, tangible, and consistent ways.

I would remind her to always remember that she needs to tell you everyday how wonderful and loved you are and what great qualities you have and not to constantly point out where you need to grow, change and improve. I would tell her that she needs to show you by her example how to follow through, be consistent, and accept responsibility for actions and choices made.

Despite the wounds, damage, and brokenness that have been inflicted on you, you are stronger people than I have ever been, maybe because of those things. Regardless of the the things I’ve criticized, demeaned, or belittled (intentional or not) I am so proud of you both.

Your circumstances and the mistakes in your past do not define you, diminish you, or make you unworthy of anyone or anything. You are beautiful on the inside and out and I am so glad that you are my children.

I want to be able to be the one you can talk to but I completely understand why I’m not. I’m sorry for abandoning you on so many levels, in so many ways, for as long as I have done. When you are ready, I will be here for us to grow new relationships. In the meantime, I hope you know that I often struggle with the desire to reach out to you and frequently decide that you both have boundaries I’m trying to respect and consider, which is why I seldom try to contact you.

I don’t want you guys to do all the work in our future relationship, but I realize I’ve spent a considerable amount of time and energy forcing myself, my issues, and my viewpoints on you and I am sincerely trying to avoid doing that.

I love both of you more than words can say. I experience sadness and grief when I know you are struggling and I smile and rejoice when I know you are doing well.  The times when I have no idea what is going on with you and in your lives, I continually think about you and wonder how your day is going.

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10 comments

  1. Admiring the hard work you put into your site and detailed information you offer.
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  2. I love this…This one brought tears to my eyes as well. My oldest and only child (daughter) just moved out yesterday. Thank you for posting this. Let me know if you would ever be interested in writing articles for the magazine. I can’t pay at this point, but I am always looking for great writers like you.

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  3. This made me cry. I’m a mom to two young kids, an it’s often exasperating. Reminders like this help me to follow my heart, and make choices that I will not regret later (not always easy, but I’m trying). I think we’ll always have regrets as parents, but your love for your kids is obvious.

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    1. Thank you. I am having to re-read this frequently as I am parenting my youngest while grieving and coming to terms with the current status of my relationships with her older siblings. Each time I do for her what I was incapable of doing for them, I’m happy for her and proud at how far I’ve come, but that is tempered with bitter grief and mommy guilt as I recognize anew how much they didn’t get from me, relationally speaking.

      It’s interesting when I have a grieving moment over them and she’s around. The other night I just couldn’t hold back the tears after an interaction with my son and the little one came up and asked about me crying. I simply explained that mommy was sad, and that it’s o.k. to be sad. She accepted that so easily. A few minutes later we were playing and giggling together.

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  4. As a stay at home mother of a 4 year old, and one who often doubts herself, I greatly appreciate this post. I plan on putting these words somewhere very visible to remind myself to stop thinking of what I think the world wants me to do, and to do what I know is important: share & communicate all the love I have in the world for my child, with my child. 🙂 I think it’s wonderful you can reflect on what’s happened and keep your heart open to what may come in the future.

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    1. Thank you very much. In a way I have a chance to do it differently myself. I have a 3 year old little girl & I will be home full time starting in June. So, I need to post this reminder for myself as well.

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  5. I empathize so much with the emotions you have expressed. They seem as fitting for many fathers like myself as well and I wish your word could be read by all young mothers & fathers just starting out. That is where the wisdom is most needed. Thank you.

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    1. I am soooo sorry I never replied to this message my friend.

      Thank you for your comment and your encouragement. You have been such a good “brother” to me and I can’t tell you how much you have helped me get through some things.

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