Thursday, 23 June 2016

My Son in Law

Right now my daughter is sitting in her pajamas. It is on a snowy March afternoon and all she cares about at this moment is snuggling with her brother. Their heads are pressed together as they’re playing on her Kindle. I am pretty sure she is caught up in the moment. Her thoughts are not drifting. She does not care about boys, the size of her thighs, or if she has said the wrong thing today.

When you look back at old wedding photos of us, you won't remember the people you see in those images. They will look like aliens to you, but indeed, we were so happy. You will probably wonder how we got from that point to divorce until you get older and see that your dad and I can't help it. We operate on two different planets, but really, I wish I could give you one easy answer to explain, but it is a whole host of things. For now, just know that I will always have love in my heart for your father. He is a wonderful father who wants so much for you to be happy. We do everything in our power to align our goals when it comes to you, even if we fight sometimes. At the end of the day, though, know that there was no greater joy in our lives than bringing you into the world.

I wish she could stay this innocent, this pure, forever, but she can’t. She won’t. At 10 years old, she is on the cusp of so much—drama, boys, comparisons, trust, embarrassment, pressure, and other tumultuous situations that are unavoidable. It will all become very real, very soon. There is so much I want to tell her, and I will when the time is right. Here is what I need her to know:

You are obsessed with fairy tales and still believe that the prince saves the princess in distress. As you get older, you will learn fast that you are no woman in distress, nor do you want to be! No one but you needs to save yourself. Until then, though, keep believing in happy endings and happily ever afters. Keep hoping for pots of gold at the ends of rainbows. Dream on about the ability to fly, unicorns, magical kisses, and talking trolls. Don't ever part with your love for the silver lining . . . the wish fulfilled. There is everything right with dreaming. Keep imagining, my little one.

Never, ever bottle all your happiness up in one person. When I met your father, I believed I was not a worthy person. Love and happiness were for better people, not me. And when he chose me, I believed he was better than I was. I believed I was lucky someone decided to love me, rather than believe I was worth that love. I felt like Cinderella when I saw your dad, a Prince Charming look-alike with a sweet, old-fashioned demeanor. I thought I needed to be "fixed" up when really I was just fine as I was. Please always believe that you are wonderful. No one else gets to decide if you are worthy enough.

Sometimes we have to do things with half of our heart—things like folding laundry or shopping for a vacuum cleaner. I am not talking about those things. I am talking about the big things: your career, whom you marry, where you live, your style, your friends. Do the big things with your whole heart, your whole self.

You are amazing. Yes, you really are. I am your mother, so I will always believe this, but I want you to believe it too. Really believe it. Don’t wait for others to validate you. Even if they do but you don’t believe in your own awesomeness, it will never feel real to you.

This is a hard one—maybe the hardest. The thing is, when we compare ourselves to others, more often than not, we are comparing our worst moments, our weaknesses, to their strengths. Remember that. Just because you have different strengths does not mean you are less-than.

Be gentle on yourself. It can be very easy to believe something bad someone says about us—easier to believe than the compliments. Just remember what you believe is what you become. Love yourself enough to focus on your gifts, your strengths. Don’t beat yourself up just because you make a mistake. Instead, learn from it. Turn it into something positive.

Some of these things might only make sense to you after some hard lessons, and maybe some of these things you will just know. Either way, life is not easy. In my 40 years, I have found that when you get torn up a bit, when life isn’t cooperating, it is best to put on your favorite outfit, listen to some badass music, and fucking handle it.

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