Friday, 8 June 2012
Letter to My Daughters
My dearest daughters,
It is on a beautiful and warm Friday afternoon that I set out to write to you. Spring is nearing a close; summer is almost upon us. However, the very thought of your entrance to this world has long ago warmed the cockles of my heart - beating summer by a mile. You have not yet been born, and, by the time you are both old enough to read this, you still would not have come to understand much of it. Promise me that you will return to this letter, every so often, whether I am still with you on this weary sod.
I love you. The first thing you will need to know about me; the simplest truth to understand. These are among the first words that I will teach you. I love you. Please know that there is nothing that I will not want to do for you, as long as it is in your best interest. How do I know this? First, the way I've envisioned showing you my love; wanting to make you feel the joy of being cared for. I can do this. And, I will. Second, I've learned from your grandfather and grandmother - my parents. Know the saying, "Daddy loves his girls"? I think it was coined off him. And, it is said that parenting doesn't come with a manual, but I think my mother got the only copy. Looking back, it seems as if she was born knowing how to be a great mother. Me? Not so much. I've had to pick up a few pointers here and there as I prepared for your arrival. I once heard a friend of mine who had just had a baby describe her feeling toward her new-born as "the love that knows no end." I could only smile as I pretended to know what she was talking about. But, I believe I'm closer now. I feel the time will be soon when you both enter my world - and I yours.
When you get here, as I'd hinted before, you mightn't take a manual with you. That's okay. Just know that I will do the very best that I can to take care of you; to honour God in the role of Mother that He will entrust me to play. As much as I will try, I won't always get it right. There will be blood. Hopefully, no more than a few drops of it from bruises and scrapes. If more, I pray that it will require no more than a bandage or two. If any of that is caused by my neglecting you for two seconds as I, say, step away to let the dog out - yes, we will have a dog. Promise. - then, even from now, I'm sorry.
We will play - a lot. Your father and brothers will join in, too! Let's team up! I want you to enjoy your childhood and adolescent years and young adult years...I want you to enjoy every stage of your life - for all of your life. There may be times when you will have to remind yourself to enjoy yourself. Learn to love, laugh and really live, and those times will be few.
I imagine that we will have spats. You will think I could not possibly understand the challenges of growing up and I will try to convince you that I do. Be assured that I do. True, the challenges and pressures that you will face will, in some way, be different than those that I did. At the core, however, it is a struggle to do what is right; to be yourself and to please God. You will be asked to define "right"; be tempted to do what others are doing; be challenged on who sets the moral standard. Who knows what the world will look like by the time you can understand this part? It continues to change before my very eyes, trying to dictate what is true and normal and healthy. Know that you will not have to face those pressures alone. Even now, before you get here, some might say I plan to open your skulls and pour me in. That's okay. I know you will be your own persons. In addition, I am ...I will be your mother, and it will be my duty to raise you in the way of the Lord. The course you take thereafter will be yours to choose. My faith in God is important to me. I pray that, in time, you will come to develop a personal relationship with Him, too. That would be the legacy of all legacies that I could leave for you both - an exemplary life of love, lived for Him.
Girls? About love. The thing about love now... Know that love is life itself; life is not worth living without it. In its many forms, it helps to get us through this one-way journey. I don't want to wax poetic or philosophical. I just want you to know that, as simply as you will be able to understand that I love you, it will be as difficult to understand love. I will not be able to love you in all the ways that you should be loved. But, I will love you as much as I can. There are other people you haven't met yet who will love you and care for you in different ways. You will come to know the difference in those ways. You will come to know the heart that lacks sincerity in its profession of care and the heart that genuinely cares about you. Then there's the matter of being in love. Hardly any other feeling of joy and delight comes close to that which you experience when you are in love with someone. Being in love brings out the best in you. It doesn't matter who you are. It doesn't matter at what age you are, whenever it happens, you feel like you're sixteen. Love does that. This love for that special someone spurs you to give of yourself and, while you give, makes you feel that it is okay to trust enough to receive his in return. Allow yourself to be loved. And, love thickly. For, as Toni Morrison's Beloved asks, "What good is thin love?"
Sweethearts, I don't know how it will be for both of you. Maybe you will fall in love later than you would have imagined. Perhaps you will meet "The One" several times. Maybe you will meet him in your late teens or your early-twenties or mid-thirties. Whenever and however you do, I pray that you would not have felt the pain of more than one heart-ache prior to that. A heart aching from unrequited love - especially a first love - is like torture. They tell you that you have to go on living and that you will feel better in time, when all you know is that the one you loved reached into your bosom, ripped your heart out with his bare hands and smashed it into a thousand pieces. So, you might feel there's nothing left with which to love another. Not true. Not true. Hearts are not made of glass, my darlings. Hearts are made of love. And love grows back as long as there is life. So does hope. When they hurt you, some lovers might make you sad; some might make you angry; with others, you might just feel annoyed that they wasted your time. That tends to happen as you get older. Know what's funny? The one that disappears, vanishing into thin air, taking away his friendship without discussing it with you. Yes, that right there is a riot! However, no matter what, never hold on to ugly. Let such experiences make you better, not bitter. Think that it were better to have happened then than later - before joining in the covenant of marriage.
I am happy to let you know that you will be born into our little circle of love. Your father and I love each other and, though it does take work, we enjoy being married to each other. Before we met, we each had pretty much given up on finding, not the perfect one, but, the right one. When we met, he initially wondered whether I felt I could do better. I was quick to reassure him that I wasn't concerned about doing better; I was concerned about doing right. And he was right - for me. When he came along I was oh so set in my ways. But, he loved me into charting a new course together. I felt like sixteen again! It might have been old fashioned but, I held out for love and married for love. And, it's been worth it! I am happier with him than I was on my own. Otherwise, what would've been the point, right? I was told before - and learned quickly - that love alone is not enough. But, love and friendship make a great start, which, when built on Christ the sure foundation, makes our bond gentler, happier and stronger.
"It takes a village to raise a child," says the old proverb. When you get here, look around! Once you get past the "paparazzi" Aunties, older cousins and grands, you'll find them a warm, loving and welcoming extended family.
Family. We're going to be a family! There's a saying, (you'll come to learn I love quotes :-)) "Babies are a great way to start people!" I think you'll both be the start of beautiful people. I can hardly wait to meet you. And, remember, I love you.