Letter to my boy: Tenderness, love and magic

My dearest Cooper,

cooperWhen you came up to me this morning and rubbed your head against my back you may have missed my smile. I know I was busy making breakfast and packing lunches, but I noticed your little purr and the soft way you said “mamma.” I might have barked at you to get ready, but inside my heart was melting at the way you are still so tender and loving.

You are almost 9 years old and that’s huge. All the things I read about that age tell me that you will stop believing in magic and that you are going to change this year. I have been bracing myself for it. I’m going to do my best to be OK with this change. I promise.

But right now, I want to capture the beauty that is you.

Every time I find you snuggled in your stuffy pit talking sweetly to your little friends, I can’t help but swoon. I love the little voices you use and the way you treat them all like living beings in your care.

When we were driving home from school the other day, you started gushing about how much you love stories about fairytale creatures, talking animals and magic. Your love for reading and books is amazing. You are a bit like your mom, son.

I push you to get ready every morning and you get so mad at me. You want to sit and read. You want to cuddle with your stuffed animals and me. It hurts me to literally push you away and make you get ready. It’s the way of the world, my love. We have to do our jobs and yours is to learn. But know that my heart aches for you all day.

Although it may not seem like it, I look forward to our laying in bed reading every night. I’m so filled with joy that you still let me read to you. I love sharing in new stories and love how we both say, “just one more chapter” until daddy tells us we need to go to bed.

Then the kisses. Still the same pattern of kisses you started at age three. Forehead, eyes, cheeks, chin, 8 on the nose (soon to be 9) and then the lips. I sometimes rush through them eager for my time alone, but you always grab my face and slow it down. You make me be in moment with you and I love that about you.

There is a tenderness of spirit about you that draws people to you. I see it at school. All the children in your class love you and it’s much deserved. You do not try to compete or make others feel bad. You share everything you have and rarely ask for anything. Your heart is so big.

This is where my fear for you comes in. The world is not a kind place. You have already learned a little about cancer, death and divorce. You have asked me lots of questions and I always answer them honestly. But you don’t really know about how mean, awful and horrible people can be.

There are people who are going to see your kindness as weakness. They are going to use you. I hope to teach you that these people are not worthy of your attention and love, but I know that you will have to learn some lessons the hard way.

I wish I could shield you from the pain headed your way. But I can’t. You will someday find out that magic is not real in the sense you believe it now. It will make you so sad and upset. It did me. But know this, my love, that some magic is real. I hope you can see it and believe and that the fall isn’t too hard for you.

Someday soon your going to tell me that you hate your yellow room that still has all the decorations I loving put up when I was pregnant with you. When that happens I will try, with all my might, to be gracious and understanding. I will let you design your own space and will be excited to see what you come up with.

Each day you grow more into your own person. Your starting to write now and I love reading your silly stories about Pie Trees and Super Dogs. Then you write something like this: “In my mind, sight does not exist.” Wow.

I love how you can stare for hours at catalogs of toys that you want, but still ask Santa and the Elves for a surprise. “It’s the most important part,” you say. You have such joy and unwavering faith. You never question magic. You just believe.

When you sit and read to your sister I can’t even tell you how proud that makes me. You sound out the words so patiently with her. When she yells at you, which she eventually does, you stop. I can see your hurt and sometimes you are brought to tears by her. But you know that she loves you more than anything else and your quick forgiveness and acceptance of her is one of your greatest strengths.

When I asked you what part you want in the class play, you responded, “I’m not good at that stuff, so I probably won’t get a big part.” No! I don’t want you to limit yourself. Don’t label yourself as not good at something. I tried, and failed, to convey that to you. Your anger and annoyance at me was a clear sign that I needed to back off, and I did. I just want you to know, and believe, that you can do anything you want. ANYTHING!

Yesterday I started karate class. I had been talking about it for a long time and you kept encouraging me to go. I was panicked and almost didn’t do it. I showed that vulnerability to you and told you how scared I was to try something new. You said, “Just do it mom. You will be great! I was scared at first too, but look how good I am now.”

You were right. It was so fun. Seeing how proud you were of me was BY FAR the best part. I loved how you spent time this morning showing me the correct way to pivot my foot for a round-house kick. It’s so fun to share in something you love so much. I can’t wait to go again and learn more.

I CAN do anything, just like you. We can learn and test that together my boy.

I am headed to your class today to celebrate Chanukah with you. I know you won’t acknowledge I am there, you rarely do. But that’s OK. I will observe you and love you from afar. I always will.

Rarely do I take a moment to really marvel at how wonderful it is to be your mother. Today it hit me hard and brought me to tears. You make everything I do worth it. You are my light and I am so honored to be your mom.

Love you more than anything,

Your mamma

karate

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Hello? Anybody out there?

You are not alone.

At this very moment someone else is going through something just like you.

They may be sitting in their car blaring Johnny Cash and bawling their eyes out.

Just like you.

They may be fighting the urge to have a drink at 9 a.m.

Just like you.

They may wish to just keep driving until the world seems right.

Just like you.

Then why do we feel so alone?

Depression. Abuse. Marriage problems. Parenting. Addiction. Death. Health struggles. It’s all hard and so many are struggling with similar things.

Yet…

We feel so alone.

Our society is sick. Just keep marching forward with that smile. Don’t you dare show weak eyes. Distraction, distraction, distraction. I am not sure, but maybe its always been this way. Maybe that’s just the nature of life. Keep your pain inside. Suck it up. If you give into the pain then it will only serve to make you feel it more. That cannot be good for anyone.

I know that religion is the answer for many. They turn to God and church. They find a community to support them, friends who lift them up and God to pray to for answers and guidance.

I have not had luck on that front in my life. I have found churches to be filled with judgement, fake smiles and hate. They speak the right words and dress the part, but it’s empty. Sunday morning faith. You put someone broken in front of them and you get judgement and pity.

They will “pray for you,” but at a distance. Please do not muddy up their “perfect” lives with your imperfections and questioning. Your lack of faith is ugly.

There are the exceptions. I have met a few people lately that have shown me what real faith and love look like. They show kindness and understanding. Positivity and light pours from them and you can feel hope just being around them. They do not minimize struggle or try to fix you. They recognize that faith and love are personal struggles and that all you want is someone to say, “I’m here. You are not alone.”

I’m here.

You are not alone.

This weekend I went to a nightclub to dance. I wanted to be surrounded by people. Strangers. We did not talk. We just danced. I could feel a connection to those around me. Something about the music, darkness and allowing myself to let go felt real. I felt alive.

Don’t freak dear friends and readers, I don’t plan on becoming a clubber who leaves her family for that feeling. It just struck me hard that what I crave is contact and real connection. Yet, something about dancing with strangers met my needs in ways other things have not.

There was something about being vulnerable, looking like a fool and then just accepting that. Not caring what these people thought about me. Seeing how free others were to just be.

I want some of that.

I spent a fair amount of time over the long weekend staring at the sky. The clouds have been just amazing, filled with shapes and movement. Then the sky opened up and poured yesterday. I filled my house with candles and tried to focus on the light.

I have no idea where I’m going with all this. There are no answers or wisdom to be found here. I’m just fumbling through another day and spilling myself out here.

But I’m spilling all this out in public because I want you to know I’m here. I’m here and YOU are not alone. WE are not alone.

So struggle on friends. We will make it.

I love you.

Waving the white flag

I want off.

This summer has been the craziest of my life. Up. Down. Up. Down. Happy. Sad. Love. Death.

I want off.

Yesterday I almost gave up. As I curled up and cried I wished for an escape pod. Just push the button and it all ends. I surrender. Stop the pain. I’m done.

Even my beautiful children’s faces were not enough. I still wanted out.

As I type those words my gut clenches at the ugly reality of that. I’m weak and broken. It’s embarrassing, self-imposed and a result of choices I’ve made.

I am a free person. Every choice I have made in my life has been my own. That is something that I’m ungrateful for. Not worthy of.

That’s the gift of God right? Free will. The ability to walk our own path. And I live in a country where I have that right afforded to me by law. Nobody is forcing anything on me. It’s all me.

My faith is shaken so much that I have been doubting that God is even real. I’ve been feeling ignored, unloved and forgotten.

How can we all just keep doing this? How can we walk around in pain with our fake smiles? What am I missing?

I keep having moments of clarity where I think I’ve made progress. I find the puzzle piece that will make it all fit together. These moments are happening more and more. Its like God is gently whispering truth into my ear, but I’m not listening.

I’m making the choice to be unhappy.

It keeps coming back to my core belief that I am unworthy of happiness and not deserving of love.

I’ve been combating that belief, but it’s still holding on. It’s controlling my behavior and thoughts.

I am craving attention. I’m like a toddler begging for everyone to hold me. I want to be looked at, touched, admired and loved. I want to be thought of as someone fun to be around. I want to make others smile. I want to take all my friends pain away and make them happy.

My cup has giant holes in it and it’s never going to be filled up.

It has to come back to faith. To God. To surrendering and allowing myself to believe again. I don’t have the answers and never will. Happiness is not something I can get or understand. There is no magic formula.

All summer I have been dancing on the rim of a cliff. I teeter and then catch myself. Yesterday I fell. Hard. It’s time to surrender and put things in His hands. Stop trying to make my own choices or even understand.

So I will pray. I will be silent and sit still. I will listen and stop questioning.

I have no illusions of it being easy. Rebuilding faith, one that was never really strong, is not going to be easy. But it is the only way for me.

I need love. Please be generous with it when you see me and I will repay you with all I have. I will pray for us all.

May God help me, for I cannot do this alone anymore.