I don’t write about my children often on here… mostly because I want to protect their privacy in whatever way I can. But, today on Valentine’s Day, I write for the three loves of my life: those miracles who have called me “mama” and make my heart beat fast with joy. Because God only knows how long we will have each other in this life.

Dum spiro, spero (Latin), “While I breath, I hope”

I have considered the question: What would I say if I had only time to say one more thing to my children.

I’ve never made a statement that would stop the world in its tracks, looking at me in wonder, saying with quiet epiphany “Why didn’t I think of that before?” Epiphanies to me might be only 4 foot red penguins to someone else.

So I think… what do I want my children to carry? I don’t want them to carry my past. My past is filled with pain, bad decisions, heartache, a few highs and a few too many lows.

I don’t want them to carry my dreams because dreams are our own burden and no one else’s. I don’t want them to carry with them the times when I didn’t have time, the moments when I lost my patience, the hours spent away from them at work or while they were with their dad.

If I could give one gift to my children, I would give hope. Hope against all odds. Hope that looks insurmountable obstacles in the face and says I can conquer you. Hope that looks beyond the reality of today into the reality of tomorrow. If it were my last chance to give my children something, I would give hope and I would tell them never to abandon it.

Hope never abandons you; you abandon it – George Weinburg

I would tell my children to live passionately. I would tell them to chase down their dreams. Success doesn’t always follow the pursuit, but I think contentment does.

I would tell them to watch – watch the world around them. Watch people. Watch the stock market (but not too closely). Watch current events, watch children’s faces, watch animals playing, watch the wind blow the trees. In watching, passions are discovered. In watching, wisdom is born.

But I would say, don’t spend your whole time watching: Act. Take the step. Move in a direction and you will find that others are watching you.

I would tell them to never hate. And to be careful about love: Love as many people as you can, without losing the ability to love is what I would say. Never lose the ability to love.

Love comes to those who still hope even though they’ve been disappointed, to those who still believe even though they’ve been betrayed, to those who still love even though they’ve been hurt before.

I would tell them to be open minded. I would tell them to question truth presented to them and know that truth questioned will always remain truth no matter how much it is questioned. Lies presented as truth will come unglued under scrutiny.

I would tell them to choose their path, but to make detours. Detours are the stuff of life, the things that make your life a story worth telling.

I would tell them to set goals. Not only achievable goals, but goals that seem impossible at the time. Just because.

I would tell them to write. Not just because I do, but because I want them to see themselves growing. Its hard to see a growing forest if you’re in it every day. Its hard to see how far you’ve come if you have no record. Write and remember.

I would tell them to finish school. Go to college. And make a place for themselves. Buy a house. Kiss the wrong person. Drink too much and throw up. Read a raunchy novel, but also read F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Irving, Steinbeck, and Hawthorne. Then know the difference.

I would tell them to experience. When opportunities come, don’t miss out because of fear.

I would tell them to be impractical sometimes. I would tell them that money isn’t everything, but it helps. I would tell them reality is perception and to always seek the truth for themselves. I would tell them to create their own reality and become the person they want to be.

I would tell them that life is slow sometimes and to take advantage of the slow parts. But it speeds up and you can’t do anything to slow it down except hang on for the ride.

I would tell them to write down their dreams – the dreams when sleeping and the dreams awake. And revise the list often.

So many instructions, but the biggest thing is hope. HOPE always because a life without hope is breathing without moving. Hope is what carries us through times when we feel alone and abandoned, it is only a blink of an eye away, and we must, with everything in us, cling to hope. Hope is what lives on when we go.

To my children, the loves of my life: Bella, Will & Jesse

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4 thoughts on “a valentine for my children

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