I love you very much. So much. I want you always to remember that.
This week I actually second guessed whether I should send you this note. My dear, the world is not black and white. Not solely good or bad. There are varying shades of grey & as your mom, its my job to teach you all aspects of this world we live in. It's ok to share your feelings, even when they aren't perfectly happy - as long as they are honest. In that spirit, I share with you mine.
People often say to me "Leanne, you are so strong!", or "I could never do what you do!" While I realize that these are intended as compliments, the truth is, most days I don't feel strong. I don't feel or even think. Most days, I just "do." I do what my instincts guide me to, and what I hope is the best for you, Gabe and Clara (and daddy too!).
There is no guide to life and certainly no guide raising children. That's because every child is different, just as every adult is. The fact is there is no other parent/child relationship in the history of the world exactly like ours. How amazing is that to consider? As Clara would say - "mind blown!"
As a result, I have plenty doubts and even more challenges. Doubts that I am doing everything "right" as your mom & challenges to get from point "A" to point "B" whatever that is. Parenthood is hard. It is hard for every mom, and every dad. That said, its also amazingly rewarding in ways unexpected. As I said, the world is filled with "grey" - I am guaranteed to feel a wide range emotions: good, unpleasant and in-between. Every day.
I am a daughter, a wife, a friend, your mother and most importantly human...same as you. The world is just as confusing a place to me as it is to you, and like you - I am doing my best every day to sort it out. I guess each of us is responsible for writing our own manual for our own life. Yourself included.
Maybe someday you will be able to tell me how your day was at school. Maybe some day I won't be scared that someone is going to take advantage or bully you. Maybe someday I won't wonder what your adulthood will be like. Will you be safe and cared for when mom and dad are not here?
If I had a manual, I guess I wouldn't have to worry, because the answers would be provided. The reality is, I don't know the answers to any of these questions. As scary as that truth is to face, the same is true for every human. In that way, you and I are not unique in this world.
In fairness though, sometimes I feel like we have more challenges than I can handle. This past weekend, for example, dad & I thought we needed a fun family night out. Dad's been traveling a lot & we were due for a change of pace as a team - OTOD.
About half way through dinner, you decided that you were done, and so I gathered your things and took you outside.
You were crying and upset - mixing in your patented "death drop" every few steps (where your whole body goes limp to the floor making it impossible to pick you up). In the commotion I caught the glimpse of a women rolling her eyes in disgust. I wanted to death drop to the floor myself because I felt so defeated.
Eventually we get outside and back to "calm". I sat and took a deep breath, and you? You start splashing your hands in the fountain, so happy and stimulated at the chance to play in the water.
But then I notice that everywhere I looked, the people around us were staring back. Staring at me, and more so, staring at you. I realized that the stimulation and joy from being outside, and playing in the water had caused you to start stimming. I hadn't even realized how loud you were, because I'm just so used to it. You were just happy, but their looks of concern and furrowed brows didn't see happy. They didn't see joy. I witnessed one woman sitting just a few people away from us literally turn her head EVERY SINGLE TIME YOU STIMMED! I wanted so badly to have something clever to say like "We are going to sitting here a while, your bound to give yourself whiplash!" Instead I'm just sad and wish I had thicker skin. Better yet, perhaps I wish I had the grace to not even care that my child was being looked at like an exhibit and not the beautiful, intelligent little girl that you are! It hurts for a mother to witness this. Maybe they were judging. Maybe they were just inquisitive - either way, the feeling is the worst!
I often wonder if you notice these occurrences. Do you feel judged? Do you wonder why people look at you differently? I hope that one day if you are seeking an explanation to all this, that I will have the words to comfort you.
Someday we'll have our manual - we'll just have to write it together.
I was once asked if I could, "Would I change you?" - meaning to be more like us...
Interesting question really, if you spoke like your siblings maybe we wouldn't have been able to learn the language you speak with just simply using your eyes. Maybe we had to be the exhibit to realize there's just so much more to this life.
So the answer is no. No Addie I would never change you, but I'm trying damn hard to change how the world sees you.
I love you sweetheart.