Monday Friday Letter to My Kids – September 25, 2017
Dear J, J, L and L,
I know, I know, it’s not Friday. And I haven’t written to you for ages. I figured it must be about time. And besides, why wait until Friday?
I ran across this quote recently.
“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.” ~ Louise Erdrich
It’s not exactly the kind of thought a mother wants to talk to her kids about. Nope. A mom wants to talk about hope and happiness and all that good, sticky, lick-your-fingers kind of stuff.
But there it is.
I’ve tried all I can to protect you. From day one it was my main instinct. Still is.
At this point in your lives, and in mine, all I can do to provide protection is pray like your lives depend on my ability to call down the powers of heaven and surround you like a giant cone of cotton candy. But, no matter how much faith I have, or how hard I pray for you, I know the cotton candy part isn’t always, or even often, in the equation. Although I do believe there’s divine help made available in abundance.
I know you have faced down some hard things in life, even as young as you each are. I know the road has been broken and has worn down countless pairs of shoes for some of you. I know you’ve felt swallowed up and beaten down. I would take and carry it away from you if I could. But motherhood has its limitations.
Thankfully, I also know you’ve felt the opposite of all that heartache. Joy beyond measure! I remember big J’s words as we left the hospital to get some breakfast after little H arrived. You said with every bit of energy of your soul, “What a beautiful morning to be born!” I know you’ve each shared a similar outpouring of happiness beyond imagining.
Mostly your days bring that mixed tangle of laughter and frustration, just like it should be. Some days you stagger under the weight of it all. Other days it’s like you have wings and the world is alive with hope and energy.
Every experience you have is another bite of one of those apples. Sour, juicy, tough skinned, sweet, worms, bruises, crunchy, crisp, laced with cinnamon and sugar, tasteless, tangy, tart, cold, mushy, magnificent, tiresome.
I pray you taste as many as you can, as often as you can. I hope you love, often and deeply and with wild abandon. I hope you occasionally have the chance to sit under the tree and savor the smells and sounds.
I’m working on my hugging-more and worrying-less experiences. Those are the apples I need to taste more of.
Now I feel like baking up some apple crisp. And then adding a pile of vanilla ice cream on the side. Sounds like the perfect breakfast, doesn’t it?
I love you wildly,
“And when you crush an apple with your teeth, say to it in your heart:
Your seeds shall live in my body,
And the buds of your tomorrow shall blossom in my heart,
And your fragrance shall be my breath,
And together we shall rejoice through all the seasons.”