Letter For New School Year

kindergartenDear Beagle,

It’s the start of another school year and your first year of High School.  Wow!  Remember that first day of kindergarten?  The teachers put you on the bus by mistake when I was planning to pick you up.  We were both so scared. We’ve come a long way since then.

I bet you’re glad to be in the home stretch.  You haven’t always been the biggest fan of school.  But this is IT – the period of time when you’ll gather stories that you’ll share in reminiscent conversations for the rest of your life.  ‘When I was in High School….’

You may love this school year or hate it.  You may have a teacher who doesn’t ‘get’ you, or a friend who breaks your trust.  But you will also cross paths with kind people and brave people and people who appreciate your sense of humor.  Love them all.  Be inspired by every experience – even the ones that make you want to scream.  Because this is real life – a bunch of experiences that make you want to cringe or to celebrate.  All of them are a pile of gifts just waiting to be opened by you.  Life is waiting to see what you’ll do with these gifts.

School might seem like a place that you have to go to.  I get that.  You can’t wait to be done, to be free in the world to make your own choices.  But the truth is, you’re already free.  Each day that you show up for life, you have choices.  You get to choose whether you’re miserable or happy.  You choose to be kind or to be mean.  You choose to do the work that is asked of you or not.  Every choice that you make tells the world who you intend to be.

Dad and I don’t send you to school hoping you’ll be the smartest or funniest or coolest.  We don’t care if you’re picked for a team or invited to parties.  We don’t hope you’ll be the best at anything because we already love you completely.  You can’t earn more of our love or lose any of it.  That’s the way it is.

We send you to school to experience life.  To practice being you in a sea full of people.  To learn how to be brave and disciplined.  To make mistakes and learn to forgive yourself.  To discover your hidden talents and maybe some limitations too.

Take care of yourself this year, Beagle.  And your classmates and teachers too.  You’re all together in this thing called school.  Dad and I are here to support you.  We will always be your biggest fans.

Love,

Mom

The Club

PeoniesWhite_FlowerDear Mama,

You have joined a club that no one wants to be a part of.  With regret, I welcome you into the company of those who have lost babies in pregnancy and birth.

I remember standing at that same entrance, unwilling to move; unwilling to acknowledge my membership.  Fear entices you to run and hide, but there is no visible exit.  And you cannot tear through these walls that now enclose you.

My dear woman, you are safe, even though your earth is shaking.  You are surrounded by loving arms that are ready to catch you if you fall.  Come, sit a while, and I will hold a space for your sorrow.

My love is all I have to offer.  I am devoid of the healing you seek so early in your loss.  There are no tricks to make it all go away.  No express train to peace.  But there is a path out of the sorrow.  I promise.  You cannot see it yet.  But you will.

At first, you may wander aimlessly,  grasping at reason and cursing life itself. You will scramble to pick up the pieces of the belief system that used to fuel you.  You may grieve louder than is comfortable for others and perhaps longer than people hope you will.  Or withdraw into a space so dark that even you cannot find yourself.

But eventually, like fireflies at night, hope will emerge in flickers.  Little bits of sunshine will seep into the cracks of your broken heart.  Until one day you stop having to chase the light.  Instead, you find yourself standing in it, unable to resist its warmth.

A token flower on your doorstep.

A bird splashing in a puddle.

And yes, even a baby crying.

Love will return. Resiliency will reign.

There are great life lessons that are exposed only through the experience of tragedy.  They are yours for the taking. Allowing yourself to experience loss for all its potential will inevitably lead to grace.  With compassion and confidence, I invite you onto this new path.

May you be blessed on your journey and know that you are never alone.

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