Birthday Letter to Noah

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Our printer hasn’t worked in over a year. As a writer, this makes me crazy. I am always worried about losing my work if my computer were to take a dive. I have things backed up to something called Google Drive, I think…I’m not very tech savvy. But it looks like something is saving there when I am done working on a piece. Anyway, there are three folders that I think I would cry for weeks if I lost them. They are birthday letters I’ve written to Noah, Luke and Grace. Each time one of their birthdays are approaching, I really reflect on them individually and write something for them. My plan is that when they leave home to join the big world, I will give them each their letters. It will probably have to be after college, too because I don’t think we ever fully appreciate our parents until we are paying a mortgage, experiencing the joys of marriage and/or holding our first child.

Each letter I write to the kids, I try to share some small insight with them so they’ll understand not only what they were like, but what their life has meant to me up to that point. Someday, they might want to understand “why Mom seemed so frustrated all the time” or “why Mom always tried to embarrass me by hugging me in front of my friends.” So maybe these letters will help them when they go through it themselves.

I wrote Noah’s last night and while it’s very personal, I know many people may find it rings true for their own lives. And if for some reason I’m not around to tell my kids when they’re older and Google Drive does bomb out or my house goes up in flames taking all of my work in the inferno, someone can vouch for how much I loved my kids even if I’m not here to tell them myself. I know, very dramatic for a Thursday morning. Maybe we just need to buy a new printer…

Dear Noah,

Tonight as I was tucking you into bed, I sang you a song and the whole time you wanted to be tickled. Normally, I try not to let your last burst of nighttime energy irritate me, but I was getting frustrated thinking of the dishes downstairs to be done and your lunch which needed packing for tomorrow and I snapped and said sharply, “Noah! I need to go downstairs!”

You started sulking and rolled to your side and said, “I don’t think you love me! You used to lay down with me to calm me down at night and you never do any more.” Well, that did it. You broke my heart in two because while you’re so wrong, you were right that I haven’t been the best about showing you how much I love you.

Buddy, we’re approaching years when you are going to test your limits. You are going to start getting louder and stinkier and sassier. You are going to make me want to yell at you. A lot. I can already see it now. You will find a noise that you like making and will do it repeatedly until I can only scream “Shut up!” to get your attention. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t ever say that to you.

When you grabbed my arm tonight and begged me with those big, hazel eyes of yours to stay and lie down with you for a minute, I remembered, you are still my baby. You are still that big-hearted, wide-eyed boy with more energy than God knows what to do with. You still like to watch Thomas the Train sometimes. You still won’t eat a raw tomato to save your life. You still get nervous of thunder storms and windy nights. And every once in a while you still need me.

And truth be told, I need you. I need your calm, big brother ways with Luke and Grace, always finding ways to keep them entertained even if it means making a giant mess. I need you reminding me where I leave things when Dad isn’t around; you always know where I put my phone! I need you to remind me when we’re getting low on snack foods in the pantry, because God help us if we’re only down to pretzels, cheez-its, goldfish and fruit snacks. I need your missing tooth smile greeting me every morning and every day I go to pick you up at school. I need your hugs, your furry little arms wrapping around me and your sweet voice saying, “I love you, Mom.” You know, you’re the first person to ever say that to me? I need you, my angel. I will need you all my life.

So you’re about to turn seven. Can you believe it? Well, I’m sure you can. Time seems to move extremely slow when you’re a kid. But for me Noah, I can’t believe it was seven years ago you were in my belly and I was waiting to meet you for the first time. For seven years, you’ve taught me something new every day and I know we have a lot further to go. But I promise you, no matter how crabby I get, I will love you with all my heart and soul.

Not so long ago...

Not so long ago…

Thank you for choosing me to be your Mommy. And yes, I’m still Mommy.

Love,

Mom

Does It Serve You?

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“Does it serve you?” If we examine aspects of our lives that make us feel bad, we should ask ourselves this very important question.

Many things hold us back in our lives. Often, it’s something we hold on to very tightly basing a significant part of our lives around. Wealth, power, pride, bitterness, anger, greed, sadness and fear are all things people use as background colors of the tapestry of their lives.
I look back on most of my twenties and I can recall significant life events which left me feeling empty and hollow. At their core was insecurity. That was the theme of my twenties. At that time, I worried constantly that I was being left out or that I wasn’t enough to matter to anyone. The problem was, I was always looking for others to validate my self-worth rather than looking within. Perhaps motherhood and the mellowing of age have brought me perspective and clarity of my place in the world. It doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with my insecurities at times, but I don’t feel as if they rule me anymore.
It is a very freeing and powerful thing to let go of emotions that no longer serve us. When I realized insecurity was my issue, I remember quite clearly waking up shaking with the thing that had possessed me for so long and I thought, “I’m tired of this. I don’t want to live this way anymore. But how do I stop? I don’t know any other way to be.”
Desperately seeking an answer, I sat very quietly staring out the window of my bedroom in the calm of surrender. I felt the answer wash over me within moments. “You are enough.” I felt my body soften to the realization. I felt the tension melt away. I began to cry tears of relief and happiness. I knew it was true because I had never even considered it before.
I did what I always do when inspiration hits me. I grabbed a pen and wrote the following message from what I could only describe as a divine source: “You are enough! You have always been enough. I’ve been waiting for you to remember this. You are here to bring forth change. Every person in this world has a great purpose for their soul. You only need to listen for it and be open to it. You are now. Hello again.
“Let your heart be open to people. Share your truth. Inspire others to look within. This is a time when people are forgetting who they are because they live in a state of not-enough-ness. Social media has only enhanced the problem. People think they need to be keeping up with one another and they are losing sight of their own personal journey. Please, help to shine the light of truth for those lost in the darkness of their fears; Every person on earth has tremendous power and an important mission. No one’s path is the same, but the destination for each is.”
I could barely recall writing the words. They flowed out of me with such ease. I know there are some who will not believe my story. It isn’t the way every one will come to their own truth. But for some, it will touch their hearts and resonate and they will know, “I am enough.”
You really are! You matter to someone and because of that, you matter to everyone. We are all connected by the same spirit. Some call it God. Some call it The Source. Some call it nothing at all but simply feel there is something bigger than themselves. What we often fail to see is that it’s not only external. This thing is inside of each of us. It is divine. It is Love. And it is real.
So now, ask yourself, “Does Love serve me?” If you imagine this divine power, this blinding love being the core element of your being, do you have room for your anger, for your sadness, for your fear? If you feel the power of Divine Love within you, all those other emotions will become reduced to ashes. You can look at any question in your life and Love will make the answer perfectly clear.
For Christians, we see this is how Jesus lived every day of his life. He was Divinity made human, just as we are, but he chose love every time. He felt the same emotions we do, but he knew that love was greater than any fear he felt. He died on a cross to prove this. He forgave those who put him to death. He asked God to forgive us. If this man could do this, why can’t we?
We can! We can choose love every time. Skeptics will ask, “So why are we given any choice at all? Why can’t there just be one way of living life to avoid all the misery we face each day?”
One of the most powerful quotes I can think of, and I know he was channeling Divinity when he wrote it, was when C.S. Lewis said, “Why then, did God give them free will?” Then he answered the question, “Because free will, though it makes evil possible, it is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having.”
This is our truth.
Here’s a fashion tip as you dress today: Your best accessory is Love. You can never go wrong with it. Love is the new black.

Lily Pads

Painting by Cindy Rashid