Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Letters for our children

Originally published in Elke Magazine

“I showered for the first time in days, sweet ones, and I was not alone. Your small, pink bodies dancing around my feet while water trickled down invisible paths on your bare backs. You are sleeping now and I can be alone. I am sick and exhausted and I am happy to hear your breaths in the dark so I can take a moment to just be. I wish I could describe how blissful it is to just sit still, in ease and in silence. Without one eye on you, ready to leap to save you or any number of our belongings, as it always is in your waking hours and of course, as my thoughts are finally free to wander they find their way back to you, my little ones and all I want to do is fill these blank pages with words about you both, because no matter how much I write it will never be enough…”

I write letters.

I steal quiet moments during the sunshine hours or stay up late into the night and I write to my children. I write my love for them, my wonder. I write my frustrations and my joy. Some letters are never finished, interrupted mid sentence, never to be continued. Others are just scraps, small tastes of the people they’re becoming. I write letters and it heals me. When my bones ache from guilt and I can’t run away from it, I turn it into words for them.I don’t write as often as I should, life happens instead, and with two small people life can be an orderless rambling of graceless moments. But when I open my journal I become giddy from that sweet sensation of ink-covered pages beneath my fingers. It’s beautiful, the way the paper takes on a different quality and as I admire with warm eyes, a word I’ve written weeks, months, maybe even years ago, catches my attention and I read. My heart lights up as pages filled with my loves, my fears, my dreams, my stories and my heartaches leap out at me and I remember.  I remember with such raw freshness sometimes, it hurts.

“You are my beautiful nature boy. You are calmed by the colours and the movement of the trees in the wind, fascinated by the noises that the world makes. As soon as I take you outdoors you are calm, at peace and truly satisfied. It is humbling to see you like this and I am so proud to be your mama. At three months you are as bright eyed as ever…”

Shivers run cold beneath my skin when I think of my children reading my words when they’ve grown. Maybe they will be waiting for a child of their own or maybe they will take comfort in having an insight into our lives as young people, as young parents. Maybe they will want to remember where they came from, all the places we travelled and all the love we shared. Maybe it will help them through their own darkness or to piece together missing parts of their own story.

What they find in these letters, is something I will be waiting a long time to know, but I can only think of the joy to come, for me and for them. My sweet ones, that will grow out of their baby bodies and fall into life as children, as teenagers and then as adults. To think that they are on the same journey that I am on, only they are just beginning. And even though I might not always be near them I hope in some small way I can help them, encourage them and guide them.

Write letters to your children. Be honest, open and heart felt. Pour love and gratitude into them. Collect their words and moments and beautiful, little things that surround them and turn it into a book or send a bulging envelope filled with ripped out journal entries to them. It is a gift I cannot wait to give.

“…So sleep my little ones and when you wake I will be here to wrap you in my arms and kiss your sleepy cheeks and then we can eat and dance and sing and play like we so often do. I will try to not to get too grumpy and I will try to understand. Tomorrow I will try the best I can, I promise, and I hope that even though I’ve messed it up so many times before, you’ll be happy. So sleep.”


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