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.
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.
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)