I have had the privilege of being called a mother for a little over 29 years. It is, in my humble opinion, the hardest, most wondrous title a person could ever achieve. The gains have far and above outweighed any losses. I suppose the losses might be considered the time and emotional effort put into the job, but even those things have had their bonuses; molding me into a kinder, more patient and more empathetic human.
How lucky I am, to have made so many mistakes, yet still be loved, honored and cared for by each of you. I often lament about how much I miss my mother and her unconditional love...silly me...I have that from each of the 4 of you. Not exactly the same but beautifully crafted to allow many of the same feelings only, perhaps, with a bigger sense of responsibility on my part. Feeling like I don't want to burden you with my problems, knowing each of you has your own burden to carry. The normal issues that people your age deal with, along with learning a new and different love for a father who is the same man he was, but not the same at all.
When I think of you individually, you are all so unique. You walk through this life, constantly teaching me. From each of you I have learned a far greater sense of tolerance and inclusion. Learning that love is love...no matter what. I have marveled at your feminism, learning even more from you, Ross and Prescott, than from the girls, as you shared your feminism from an entirely different perspective. Open-mindedness is the ongoing education I receive from all 4 of you and I welcome those lessons even when they cause me consternation.
If I were able, I would give you an easy life without the heartaches. Unfortunately, that does not exist. My real gifts to you would be as follows:
1. The knowledge that through life, your siblings will be one of your greatest source of comfort. One day I will be gone and no one will be able to replace your shared memories nor the sense of loyalty that was bestowed upon me by my mother and that, hopefully, has been passed on to each of you. If you need advice, call your brother or sister. Few people love you like they do. Never forget you have each other.
2. No matter where you are and who you love, you should know that you, just as you are, are wonderful, special and ever-so-worthy of love. That knowledge enhances everything you will do and every relationship you will have. May your self-talk be positive and helpful instead of negative and degrading.
3. As time has gone on, you each have developed your own sense of religion, faith, spirituality or a lack thereof. At first that frightened me but not anymore. I have no power in that arena and never really did. I wish for you each to have a sense of purpose and the ability to give your problems to something greater than you; whether it is the universe, your Higher Power, the God of your youth or...... I don't know....what other options are there? Just know that there are problems we have no control over and no amount of worry changes that. May you find peace in your walk through life, whether finding a job, a partner, a place to live or even the ability to get out of bed when it is hard.
4. Learn from your struggles. My life has been forever changed by the struggles I have endured. Remain open, do not harden your heart, do not build walls. If you do, one day you will have to bring them down; it is a painful and exhausting process. Start, right away, working on the walls you’ve built up thus far. Question your beliefs. Ask yourself where they came from, why you feel so strongly and whether you should reconsider. Or as Vonnegut said it so well, "Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let bitterness steal your sweetness."
5. Finally, I hope you know that I am always with you. Through all your days, your struggles, your victories....I pray and rejoice and walk next to you through it all.In closing, I will just say..."It’s a beautiful day, don’t let it get away”