The three of you are now adult women. It is hard to believe that. The time worn saying “where did the time go” does not seem like a good choice, because I know exactly where it went. Every moment of every day had meaning and purpose. Raising each of you has brought me so much joy that there are not enough words to express the extent of the joy. But beyond the entire joy that child rearing offered, I too was growing up and changing and that is where this letter will take you.
First of all, as hard as it is to believe, I am a person. I make mistakes. Many times one or all of you have pointed them out to me. Each one of my mistakes taught me something, usually something valuable about myself or others. I always tried to tuck the lesson away so that I did not have to learn whatever it was again. Example: Once a dear friend asked me to write a letter of reference, one of three that she needed to be submitted so that she could get into a special program in college…I FORGOT…when she called crying to tell me she didn’t get in, I was horrified, and then I lied by NOT telling her it had been me. After I hung up, I tried so hard to convince myself it would be okay, but I knew I could never face her again if I didn’t tell her the truth. I called her back a few minutes later and told her that it had been me. My friend was understanding and showed me more compassion than I deserved. I learned that no matter how hard it is, the truth literally sets you free.
Second of all, I have feelings and I have had to learn to manage them. I had a difficult and by some standards horrific childhood. I grew up feeling unloved and unworthy. I had many people in my life that I knew loved me very much, but it was difficult for me to overcome the strong feelings of worthlessness. I had so many dreams and never felt like I had what it took to make those dreams come true. So I let them wither and die. As I have gotten older I have learned to surround myself with people that support me. I have a strong shield of friends who support me, understand me, and care about me as I do them. I am so fortunate to have that, but it took time and trust to build that. I also needed to find ways to show myself love. I learned to try new things and step into challenges to stretch myself and give myself more confidence. Life is full of stress and anxiety. Every day is another opportunity to win or fail and since you never know which it will be, my best advice is to jump in with both feet. Do not over think or worry about things you have no control over. Just take a deep breath and dive into the crowd, apply for the job, talk to the cute guy and LIVE. Those feelings of fear and worry and anxiety are your enemy and you can conquer them.
Finally, know you are not who you were. As a young mother I focused so much on wanting to present to the world my best maternal footwork. I was so worried about the perception of not being good enough (pretty much a theme in my life) that I probably left some of that residue on you. You are good enough! The best part is over time you will become even better. I learned late into my mothering that just loving you and telling you are loved were the greatest gifts I could offer you. I do not think I told you enough how much love I have for each of you. Being your Mom changed my life. While I was busy raising you I grew up too. I am not the Mom that I was in the beginning, I have changed and I know that you will be able to see yourselves change over time. Be open to change, be open to trying things a different way and know you are good enough. As a matter of fact each of you has amazed me with your resilience, your courage and willingness to step out into new horizons. Keep that spirit alive in yourselves and you will never have to look back and wish something could have been different. You are not who you “were” ever because you learn and change and if you do it right you become someone YOU like and you will work to impress yourself. That is the ultimate person you want to become.
Finally, have an open and understanding heart because long ago someone with that heart helped me see what compassion, love and understanding feels like and it changed my life. Be that person that lifts others up and shows Gods love and understanding. Help heal damaged wings and broken hearts. Most of all be your wonderful selves, laugh and love and live.