Tuesday, January 30, 2018

What I Want My Kids to Know

{An audio version of this post is here.}

My mom wrote us a letter which we received after she died. I don't have a lot of emails from her as most of our contact was over the phone and therefore those intentional words bring me a lot of peace and a connection to her. I will sometimes say to my husband "If anything happens to me, make sure you remember to..." and it's not that I am pessimistic, I believe I am realistic. My sister has my passwords and Gary knows what I want my funeral to look like. Although my children have an online journal of sorts here, these are some words that I would want them to know and remember.

Exploring Bear's Hump and Waterton National Park

Dear kids,

I love you.

When dad and I decided to have children we had no idea that we would be blessed with three very different individuals. You are all a lot of work and I'm sorry for telling you that a time or two (or maybe every morning on the way to school). Be assured that parenting you is the best job I have ever had.

I have enjoyed seeing your gifts emerge.

I hope that you know that you will discover your strengths over the years – I am still learning this now at my age! I see the gifts of listening, encouragement and determination among all of you. Remember that one of the greatest and possibly easiest things you can do for someone is to listen. Don't worry about what you will say in response, just listen with your body, heart and mind. A wise person is willing to learn.

Life can be hard.

I easily remember some of the most difficult times in my life. When I was 12 I was bullied. When I was 16, I dealt with failure and the loss of a loved one. When I was 19 I experienced a painful break up and it happened again at 22. Twenty-six brought the loss of my mom. There will be hard times and it isn't a matter of "if" but when. Allow yourself to feel all the emotions as you need to work through them to process it all. There is no right or wrong way to feel as we are all unique. It's okay for things to be messy and I promise it will get better.

Please know that you were created to be you for a reason. 

Don't worry about being like everyone else. Discover who you are and own it. I did not love my "athletic" build but learning how strong my body is has allowed me to use it for activities that I love like hiking and hockey. I felt nervous going into new situations; spoiler alert: most people do and you are not alone.

Find support.

If you find yourself in a unique situation – look for someone that has been there before you. When my mom died, I found another young mom who had lost hers. When I struggled with being a foster mom I reached out to other ones. I promise that there is someone who has been in a similar situation to whatever you are going through. Please confide in those you trust and love – don't try to go it alone. Admitting you don't know something or need help is a sign of wisdom and maturity.

Love one another.

One of my mom's greatest wishes is that we would not let anything come between family and that is one of my hopes for you. Please be there for one other. I love how each of you has something so unique to offer from responsible leadership to cuddles and comic-relief to a sweet encouraging heart. You are a wonderful, beautiful and loud team.

It's a beautiful world.

Explore cultures, nature and books. Embrace yourself, change and opportunities. Be grateful each and every day as this practice will change your heart. Thank you for (mostly) willingly going hiking with dad and I. It was my favourite thing to do with each of you. I'll never forget reaching the peak at Bear's Hump and doing our first overnight hike at Golden Ears. Thank you.


Have you written a letter to your loved ones?

In case anything ever happens, have you written a letter to your loved ones? What would you say?

Grouse Mountain with the family

1 comment:

  1. This is beautiful, Louise. What a gift! I had thought about doing this for my son, but I think you have nudged me to finally take action. Thank you.