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letters to my kids

Family Connections, letters to my kids, Parenting

A Letter to my Children on Mother’s Day

A letter to my children on mothers day in honor of them.

{This post was originally published in May 2014 on my former blog.}

Dear Children,

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day.

It is a designated day for you to thank me. And you will. Your eager hearts will write notes and thank-you’s while pampering me throughout the day. I will enjoy every minute of your outpouring of love.

But in this moment, on Mother’s Day Eve, I want to thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you for the privilege and honor of being your mother.

I spend my mornings, afternoons, and evenings with 4 of the most awesome people on the planet – YOU! Continue Reading

Homelife, letters to my kids, Parenting, tweens and teens

An Open Letter to my Kids about Texting

I wrote this letter over 2 years ago, in January of 2014 on the brink of my oldest daughter’s purchase of her first iPod.  I wanted to record a few of my hopes and thoughts about the “world of texting” that I knew we were about to navigate.

Two years later, it is interesting to note that my priorities and hopes for our journey have not changed though I am much more comfortable with this modern form of communication.  We took the plunge and have navigated all sorts of forms of texting and social media these last 2 years.  Without a doubt, these forms of communication have enhanced relationships within our family and have created positive impacts on my kids relationship with the world around them and their friends outside of our home.   It hasn’t always been easy or straight forward to know what to do, but we keep working on it together.

I think I will read them this letter tomorrow and see how they think we have done with our priorities.

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Dear Children,

You are growing up so quickly and I have no doubt that I will blink and you will be teenagers, navigating the world of text.

Twitter.  Facebook.  Email.  Blogs.  SnapChat.  Instagram. Text Messaging.

And everything else “they” come up with in the next few years.

Instant text will be a significant method of communication and somehow I have to help you navigate this world of text.   Admittedly, aspects of this frighten me.

Because text is dead.  It lacks tone and emotion.  There isn’t body language or facial expression.  Yet, it is a primary method of communicating these days.

And let me teach you right now that cute little emoticons at the end of very nasty words don’t make them friendly, funny, or nice.

Seriously.  Remember that!

And remember that whether you like it or not, your text reflects YOU.

Yes.  Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, and all of these cute ways to share and communicate are reflections of YOU.  They are not the entire you, but they reflect your values, likes, choices, and life.  And they often are avenues to communicate with folks who may not really KNOW you.

And once you put something “out there”, you can’t take it back.  Sometimes there are serious consequences to your writing in worldwide text.  We must guard what we communicate and that is tough in the world of instant “sharing”.

So we will practice.  And we will mess up.  Together. 

Yes.  I, too, have learned some lessons in this area.

And while text might be a handy form of  communication, it is not the primary form I want you to have!

I want you to learn to value the company in front of you without hopping on a smart phone to see what other folks are up to.  And to know you are worth face to face conversation that disconnects from everyone else around.

That means we don’t have to answer texts instantly.  Truly.  I don’t.  You don’t.  It is OK to wait for an appropriate moment.

And I am strongly suggesting you don’t have a second date one day with someone who seems more interested in their phone than in you.

I hope we remember that being present in a moment is more important than sharing a picture of that moment.

I don’t care how many likes the picture might get.  It doesn’t matter how many likes you get if you find yourself constantly distracted from your own life.

It is my hope that we always make time to turn off the phones, close the laptops, stow away the tablets and declare a space and time that is not shared with anyone who isn’t present.  A time where we ignore the bings and the beeps and the buzzes of those who might steal our moments as we work together to protect them.

I hope to teach you that sometimes you should pick up a phone and talk.   Your inner circle of family and friends should laugh with you and cry with you absent of emoticons.   You can hear stress in a person’s voice that you can’t hear in their email.  Issues sometimes need to be resolved in a manner that requires voice or face to face contact.  Hurts can be healed more effectively with a conversation and a hug then with a smiley face text.

Other times, text will be the fastest, easiest, and most efficient form of communication.  Use it.

But always remember that real relationships aren’t usually fast, easy or efficient. They take time, energy, and effort.

They are always worth it.

letters to my kids, Parenting

A Birthday Letter to my Seven Year Old

Dear Daniel,

Tomorrow you will turn 7 years old, which will occur in 30 minutes and will have happened by the time this is published.

Tonight, you are asleep in your bed, snuggled against your pillow, Pilly.  Pilly has been an important part of your sleeping routine since you were a baby.  Moments like these make me wonder how long this precious attachment will last.  I know it is one of those childhood delights that will have a end.  There will be a night when suddenly Pilly is on the floor or in the closet or becomes “just a pillow” to you.

But tonight is not that night.  You are resting peacefully with your arm around Pilly while sleeping on your pillow pet.  And it is precious to this momma’s heart.

Now I admit that I am not usually the most sentimental Mom, but something about your birthday stirs up some Mommy emotions.

Because tomorrow my BABY will be SEVEN.  And I realize that age isn’t much of a baby.  Yet I feel like that every year as the next number ticks off.  I feel it most deeply with you because you are the last child to be 6 in this house.  Now you will be the last 7 year old I will have.

Jokingly, I asked you to celebrate backwards and turn five tomorrow, but you refused.  Then you began to get slightly annoyed when you thought I wasn’t kidding, so I backed off.

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When I look through pictures and think about your activity during the day, I can’t believe you have so much energy.  You climb, jump, run, hit, and move.  A. LOT.  And I love that about you.  Your energy makes me smile and I love to watch you move.

All of this energy has been extremely beneficial because you are the youngest of four kids and it allows you to keep up with our life at this stage in the parenting game.

I have the privilege of  watching you develop relationships with each of your sibilings both individually and as a group.  You bring out different aspects of each of them as they relate to you.  I love how they love you, care for you, and watch out for you. IMG_4176You bask in their attention.  And for now, you even enjoy how they take care of you like the “baby”.

Of course, it isn’t always easy to be the youngest of the foursome.  Your needs are often forgotten or lost in the mix of life with the older kids.

This year I focused on snuggling up with you during the school day to read picture books.  It was such a sweet time and I loved how much you enjoyed it.  It was something I had always done with your siblings that had been neglected since we entered the world of independent readers.  I am so glad that I was reminded to schedule that time with you.

Of course, being the two boys in the family, you and David have a special friendship. Your interests are similar IMG_5021and I enjoy listening in on your discussions. They usually revolve around minecraft, guns, Halo or nerf.

You both enjoy watching Minecraft videos together, specifically Dan TDM. He has become a household name thanks to the two of you and watching him play Minecraft is your current morning activity.

You have learned to be a good friend through the relationships you IMG_5301have developed with neighborhood friends and boys from our homeschool groups.  I am so thankful for the boys you have met who share similar interests and energy levels.  I enjoyed watching you and your friends at your birthday party today.  You shot nerf guns, played in the sprinkler, and dumped buckets of water on each other.  The laughter and enjoyment was obvious.

IMG_5427Of course, there is your love of weapontry to discuss.

Nerf swords and guns rank high on your list of favorites.  But if they aren’t available, even a stick will do.

Everything becomes a weapon when it is in your hand.  Sticks, silverware, and even math snap cubes.  An air soft gun is high on your request list, but you won’t be getting your own just yet my boy.

IMG_5199Of course, you also have a very tender side which I am reminded of when you climb in my lap to cuddle.

At a homeschool activity this year, you wrote this message (left) as your secret code.  My heart melted.  We do love you!

I can’t wait for our morning together.  When you wake up, we will enjoy our special breakfast.  Just me and you.  I can’t wait.

I love you my little boy.

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And I know I tell you this all of the time: you will ALWAYS be the baby.  But I’ll try to let you grow up!

Mommy

 

 

letters to my kids, Parenting

The Way You Were Created

This post was originally published on my former blog, which is now private.  A friend referenced it to me this morning and I decided to publish it here.  It is a beautiful reminder, to me this day, about the “things about my kids” which remain true.

My little Tricia (“T” on my former blog) is 11 years old now and still a deep feeler.  She asks the tough questions, feels ALL of the feels, and remains attached to objects with meaning to her.  While she has matured with age and we have worked through some of the less healthy expressions of her deep sensitivity, she is still the same beautiful soul and I am so thankful for it.

Here is a letter to her, originally published in 2012:

Dear T (age 7),

I have not met anyone who feels things as deeply as you.  Your sorrow, your joy, your love, and your fears run DEEP.   And we see it in so many ways in your life.

The one that comes to mind daily is the way you struggle with goodbyes.  You still chase us down the moment you think it might be time for us to leave and begin…

When are you leaving?  When will you be back?  What time will I see you?  How many hours is that?

Bye.  Love you.  Miss you.  Mom.  Bye.  Love you.  Miss you.  Mom.  Look.  Bye.  Love you.  Miss you.

With hug upon hug.

And admittedly, it drives us all batty.  You interrupt conversations to begin your dialogue.  It is hard for Daddy and I to catch up on things that need to be addressed before one of us is leaving.

I find myself saying, “That is enough T.  You said Goodbye.  Now you have to let me talk to Daddy.  Go back in the house!”

I mean, enough is enough!  Often, I am only going up the street for a quick errand at the store.

The goodbye production drives my logical, left-brained, fact-driven adult mind crazy.

I am leaving.  I will be back in less than 10 minutes.  It is not a big deal!

But it is the same big deal to you every time.  Three days or 10 minutes doesn’t seem to matter.  They both represent good-byes.

And it isn’t just with people…

You have a hard time giving away pictures and cards you create for people.  You invest so much of yourself in the pictures that you don’t want to part with them.  You always ask me, “Do you think they’ll keep this?”  It pains you to think someone might throw it away.

In an effort to help you part with your pictures and cards, we began taking pictures of them so that you could always see them again if you wanted to.   Interestingly enough, the picture taking seems to be enough and you have never asked to see the pictures again.

Here is your card for Mrs. Tandi, your bible school teacher.

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I used to think that all of this drama had to be a game, some annoying habit you developed.  I used to think I could some how convince you to stop…

I am only going up the street.  I’ll be right back.  I already said goodbye.

But for you, it isn’t a game and it isn’t going anywhere.  You feel things more deeply than many folks.  It might be part fear, part love, and part anxiety.  Whatever it is, you don’t “control” it well and it just spills out.

That’s the hard part.  The spilling out of these uncontrollable desires to have your very deep feelings addressed don’t seem logical to me.

In fact, this past weekend I was going away for two nights.  You drew me a picture so that I would “remember you” and you asked me to draw one for you.  I forgot while I was packing the night before, but you didn’t.  The next day you reminded me over and over until I grabbed a post-it note and a sharpie marker about 10 minutes before I had to leave.  I made two quick stick figures and labeled them “Mom” and “T”.  Then I wrote, “I love you T” and handed it to you.

Admittedly, I was more frustrated than anything else.  I just wanted to get the final stuff done and I had a 7 year old begging for a picture so she could “remember me”.   AHHHH!

At some point on the trip I felt bad about how I neglected your feelings.  I told my friend she had to drive safely because this could NOT be the last picture you were left with from your mother!  Thankfully, I made it  home in one piece!

That night when I was tucking you in bed, I saw that lame post-it note in your bed.  You showed me how you kept it so you could remember me at night.

*sigh

You are unique and so different from your “less emotional” Mommy.

And I am learning.

In fact, on my weekend trip, one of the speakers said that the “characteristics of my children right now are the seeds of who they will become”.  Right now these behaviors are “too big” for you and you handle them as a 7 year old, spilling them forth with little self-control.  But you will “grow into them” and begin to handle them with more maturity as you develop into the person that He has planned.

One day I am going to be amazed at the beauty and strength of these feelings that run so deep.  Right now I am seeing the 7 year old child, awkward version of it.  But God has given this to you and I can trust He has a plan.

And He has a plan for me, as your mother, to cherish and nurture every aspect of your personality.  You’ll just have to be patient with me as we learn from one another.

Bye.  Love you.  Miss you.

(Don’t worry, I am just headed to bed)

letters to my kids, Parenting

Happy Birthday David

Dear David,

Right now you are sleeping down the hall.  This is the last night you will go to sleep as an eight year old.  When you wake up, you will celebrate your birthday and we will declare you NINE years old!

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You have spent months talking about the later bedtime that you think a nine year old should have.  I think you suspected it might include playing Minecraft until 10 PM, so our suggestion of keeping your light on till 9 PM wasn’t exactly what you pictured.  But most important to you seemed to be staying up later than your “six-year old brother”, so we will be sure to accommodate that request.  It’s hard when you share a room, but I think it is more than reasonable.  You ARE older than he and it is time to differentiate the lights out times.

You continue to delight my world with your goofy jokes, constant chatter, and unbelievable knowledge of all things.  We bought you joke books for Christmas because you love to laugh and you love to make us laugh.  Whenever I crack a good pun, I know YOU will get it and I love you so much for that!  You are happy to make conversation with anyone and you always have plenty to add to the discussion.  As an avid reader, you have knowledge about so many things that you continually surprise me with facts and information.  Of course, your knowledge of the history of the clone wars even took your father by surprise when you educated him about the evolutions of clones into stormtroopers or droids or something about that…

When anyone asks you a question, you still refuse to give a “yes or no” answer.  This is something about you that both fascinates me and drives me insane.  Sometimes I just need a YES or NO but you never have one.  ever.  not ever.  It’s become somewhat of a family joke, but it has also landed you in your room when a frustrated parent loses it.  I am not sure if it is your analytical mind or a stubborn streak at this point, but in the end, it is a well known fact about you.

IMG_9654Right now you love all things Pokemon.  Pokemon cards, shows, and stuffed toys fill our house and lives.  Star Wars holds your interest as well.  It was such fun to take you to the newly released movie this year and watch your reaction.  When you are with your brother and neighborhood friends, you all love to play guns and swords.  You are always battling some unseen enemy outside and I love to watch you all run around.  We own a plethora of nerf guns, nerf swords and other random weaponry.  Of course, the Wii U and Minecraft rank up there as your favorite free time activities too.

You are an eager student in school.  It helps that you love to read as a free time activity.  You are content to read right in the midst of chaos, a definite trait of your mothers!  Right now you are SO EXCITED about history because we are learning about the Revolutionary War. You love it.  It’s a true joy to have you in class and I am so thankful you are home with me so that you can process all of your thoughts about our various topics out loud with us.  I know that is hard for you in classroom settings.  This is another way that you are like your mom; you want the freedom to talk when you process your thoughts and ideas.

I love you to death my son.  I look forward to our special breakfast tomorrow because 2016 is my year to have breakfast with the birthday kid.

I promise not to ask you any yes or no questions…