Today I sat across from my oldest nephews watching them play a game on iPads. They were both really intent on what they were doing. I took time to really look at them both. I really thought about how their looks were so different, yet they were clearly brothers. And even for a fleeting moment I was able to remember them when they were small boys. Watching them led my mind down a path of twisty heart gripping thoughts. Let me explain.
I watched Grant first, he's the oldest, and he has this easy way about him. He pretty easily makes friends and he has this charm about him. It's the kind of charm that can get a guy in and out of trouble. Then I looked at Nate and thought about how different he was. He has more heart then any kid I know. When he wants to he puts his everything into something, especially if it is defending his big brother. But I sometimes watch Nate and I wonder if he wishes he had the ease Grant does. And my heart hurt for him in that split second. It hurt that I wondered if he knew that his humour, loyalty and big heart were just as important as the easy charm Grant possesses. And just as powerful. I wondered if he knew he was perfect, because he was him.
This sent my head into a spin. Of course it made me think of my own two girls. Already their looks are different, but sisterly. Aubrey has an outgoing, charismatic personality. While right now due to age Elise's is just developing. Although I think she is quite the charmer already too.
I wandered into the future thinking about when they reach a school age. I thought about whether school would come with ease, or if they would fight their way through it. I thought about friendships and wondered if the girls would handle them with ease and a grace I sometimes never gave. Then my heart really hurt. Because I know the truth already. I know they will both have to come up against obstacles. That is life. One or both of them will have falling outs with friends. Which made me flashback to my own time through school.
I had a great group of friends. We had a problem though. Well first we were a group of girls and that inevitably causes issues on it's own. But we also had a unique situation of almost all of having been together since pre-school right through to grade 12. My graduating class was something like 14 people. When we hit junior high things got dicey. We ( I say we because i was totally a part of it all at one point) got teenage girl on each other. The group tended to pick one girl to put on the outs for awhile. I remember watching and participating and thinking this is awful but at the same time never stepping forward. I also recall thinking "why would it ever happen to me?" Well….shocker…it did happen to me. If memory serves right I want to say it was in grade 9. I put on a pretty good front about it. I remember thinking I didn't need them as friends anymore. I had friends outside of school and that was enough. riiiighhttt….
Well it made the last few years of school feel like an eternity. And I would say probably the first time I really experienced a depression. But this post is not meant to rehash that crap. It's over and we have all moved on from that.
So after walking down memory lane I thought to myself "what would you tell your future 14 year old girls if you could?". If I could write them a letter what would it say. Then I thought do it. Don't wait. Do it now. So here goes,
If you are like any teenage girl out there you have friends. And like any teenage girl you are going to fight with those friends. And you are not always going to come out unscathed. It's Ok though. I have some things for you to remember through it all.
First, you are going to survive. I promise you you are going to come through it and life is going to keep on moving. Don't let your mind trick you into thinking otherwise.
Second, remember everyone has a story. It's not always about you. I know there will come a time someone will lash out at you so viciously that you will want to put up your defences and fight back with just as much fire. But I tell ya to take the time, even the briefest of seconds, to take a look further into the book don't just look at the cover. I promise you that person has a story that just might be a harder one then yours. Love that person. Treat them with as much love, empathy and kindness you can muster in that moment. And when that chapter comes to an end you will know you wrote the story with a pen of your own instead of letting someone else guide you into their darkness.
Third, remember your story isn't special. WOAH! Right?! I don't mean you aren't special I mean everyone has similar struggles they just don't voice them. Just because you think the girl who picks on everyone else but appears to have all the luck doesn't struggle with her self esteem (or something else) I promise you she does.
Fourth, remember we are meant to live in relationship with people. It's great to be independent. But don't push independence into isolation out of fear of hurt. There will be relationships that hurt so bad. Sometimes because you love the person THAT much. But, don't shy away from them. Dive into them and live it. It's a part of living. And when you come out the other end it's a beautiful thing.
Fifth, You are so perfectly imperfect. Our imperfections are what makes us unique and they can teach you more about yourself and others then being perfect ever could.
Sixth, no matter what your Momma has your back :) I wish I could stop the hurts that are bound to come. i wish with every being that I could hold you both tight to me and help protect you from the world that is going to come out swinging around you. My heart wrenches at the thought of knowing you will have pains. But, they are tiny gifts. Theses hurts they are going to show you what you are made of, they are going to teach you more about yourself then I ever could. They are going to help grow you into even more beautiful human beings then you already are.
Love you to the moon,
I think that is what I would say to them. And I hope with all my heart that when the time comes I can guide them without holding them back from the lessons they need to learn and go through. Being a parent is truly the most difficult thing I have ever done.