I'll never forget being 10 years old, sitting in the kitchen of my friend's house playing "restaurant." I remember thinking that it was so amazing that her mom bought actual restaurant checks for us to write on. We would run around her sprawling kitchen grabbing items that we had "ordered" from each other. We served each other drinks, and plates full of "food", which was usually cookies or crackers. I thought to myself, "wow, she is an awesome mom!" She let us get messy, and do whatever we wanted. Little did I know that while we were busily playing in the kitchen, her mom was in the middle of the fight of her life. A fight that she would eventually lose. My friend's mother had breast cancer, and wanted the days she had left with her children to be filled with memories that would truly have to last them a lifetime. It didn't make sense then, because I was a child, and when you are a child you cannot grasp the things a mother will do when she knows she may never get to witness that moment; that snapshot of life again.
I recently read about one of my favorite authors, Elin Hilderbrand, being diagnosed with breast cancer (Read the Huff Post story), and I suppose it got me thinking about my own susceptibility to cancer. What would I do with my children? What would I say? Well, I would say "Hey Universe, keep the C- word the hell away from me. Because I am a mom, and I NEED TO BE THERE FOREVER AND EVER AND EVER!" I don't want any of this "art imitating life" nonsense. Now that I got that off my chest, I feel I am emboldened to write an open letter to my children.
Dear K and M,
I don't know if there is any way in the world to tell you how much I love you. Words are so feeble when a mother is attempting to tell her children how expansive her love is for them. As feeble as my words may be, I am going to try, one by one, to tell you what I wish for you.
K- I wouldn't be your mother if I didn't tell you to read. Reading will make you smarter, and you know how much I love you-so I only want the best for you. It'll help you get into the best colleges around. On that note-I hope you go to a college (a big one!) and major in whatever you want (maybe Film or music?). Just graduate, and move into a job that makes you happy. Dream big! I always thought it was a little hokey when people said "If you can dream it, then you can do it", but it's true! You can do anything you dream! Buy your dad that stinking Porsche he has always dreamed of. I promise you will end up with someone who loves and cares about you as much as I love you. You are charming, witty, and caring. You will be a gift to someone. I know you were one of my greatest gifts. I love you so much.
M-My precious girl. You were my second born, but my only girl. There is so much I wish for you. The first, is to always love yourself. Love your curves, your imperfections, the left dimple when you smile. I want you to go to college as well, but make sure you go to classes. Just trust me on that one. When people think of poise, grace, talent, beauty and brains-I know yours will be the face they see. You have so much to give the world. Don't be your harshest critic. The world will do enough of that, they won't need your help. Express yourself freely, and stand up for what is right-even when it is difficult. You have been one of God's greatest gifts to me. The best part about having you as a gift, is that I get to open up the present every day, and there is always something there that makes me smile.
To both my children, be blessed, always. I love you to the moon and back.
Because books have been one of the great loves of my life, I'm donating one copy of Elin's book The Matchmaker to a local battered women's charity, and giving away one copy to a reader. Comment below to win a copy, and share this post to spread the love. I hope you'll consider donating one yourself.