Dear Last Year Me,
I see you there. You’ve scrambled to get the kids off to school. I know you are doubting your ability to make this transition from homeschooling to public schools. You are doubting your ability to make lunches, sign form and weather this transition. You are worried and stress and tired.
You are worried about your kids making friends and doing well. You daily question your decision to have your oldest repeat grade 2 despite the fact that she has no misgivings.
You are stressed because you question every decision you make, never feeling quite confident in them. You haven’t read much yet about being an Enneagram 2 but you will. It will give a lot of insight into your ever-present “need to be needed”. It’s a gift and a curse. You love to help people, but deep down you struggle with believing your worth outside of this gift. Would everyone still love you if you weren’t there to help and support? Would they be there if it was you who needed help?
I wish I could tell you that in a year you’ll have all that figured out. You won’t, but you’ll be working on it. You’ll be less scared to admit how you are feeling.
You are tired because this is the summer that you had a couple extra kids hanging out once a week. Last week you drove those kids to camp with yours and then one evening you dropped them off at the hospice to have family time with their dad. That last day of camp you brought your daughters in for one last goodbye to their favorite “uncle” Byron. He smiled from the bed barely able to move, clearly in pain, yet making every effort to show he was listening to their crazy excited chatter about camp.
Remember? You pulled them down off chairs and hustled them and their noise out of the too quiet hallways. A quick goodbye even while knowing that time was running out. Under the noise and the face paint, the high-pitched shouts of kids on way too much sugar, death was lurking.
Today your phone will ring. The minute you see the caller id you’ll know what the message is. It’s not a surprise. It’s been a long time coming but it will hit you hard all the same. You’ll cry. Your awesome babysitter will come and you’ll take a day off work. Eventually, you’ll sleep and write. That post is the one that will get you writing again.
If I could whisper in your ear I would tell you that everything will be ok. Most of your worries about school were for nothing. Your kids will process losing Byron with beautiful grace. They will keep his memory alive in your home and every time you see his kids you’ll know that even though his life seemed too short that his enthusiasm and kindness touched everyone he came in contact with and lives on in them.
I would tell you to focus on gratitude. Byron was passionate about gratitude. It was the legacy he wanted to leave. I would remind you to be grateful that you got to not only meet Byron, but raise your kids alongside each other. I would tell you how fast a year goes by and that on the dark darks or the difficult week to know that better days always seem to come.
I would tell you to get ready for a year of deep self disvocery. There is something about brushing up against death that reminds you of your own mortality. It challenges you to consider how you would feel about your life if you found yourself immobilized in a hospice bed a year from now. What memories would people have of you? What would they say at your funeral? What handprints would you leave behind on people’s hearts?
You don’t know this now, but those fears and insecurities your drowning in? They are your fire. Right now you don’t know how to control them but give it a year. You’ll be on the right track. In a year you’ll have learned how to be grateful just as much for the hard things as the easy. So in honor of Byron here are my 10 days of gratitude:
- The little kindnesses that remind us we are connected. The small things people do and say that quietly say I see you and I value you.
- Friends that I can be open and honest and vulnerable with without judgment.
- My Family. My kid who have taught me more than I could have ever dreamed or imagined and my husband who is always willing to figure it out together.
- Sisters and a friend who will make the time this year to create a little, sacred place to learn about being imperfect.
- Discovering honesty and vulnerability and realizing that when we are vulnerable we invite that in others, resulting in realizing we aren’t as alone as we thought.
- A school where the teachers and principals and parents really seem to care. For friends; for mommy and the girls. Both girls made special friends whose amazing parents came along with the package.
- A job where I not only get to cuddle babies and do cool medical stuff but really feel like I’m connecting with people. Where I can be there for mom’s (and dads!) who are struggling. Where I can learn more and more about how people function in the world and for awesome co-workers who share not just the lunchroom, but their own personal struggles as well.
- I’m grateful that I get to live this life. That for whatever reason the universe or God, has entrusted me with this unique set of genes, set in this familial experience, in this place and time. To have met this man and had these kids. Of course, there are things I sometimes wish were different, but deep down I know that maybe those things are part of what makes me me.
- Good coffee, and chocolate and wine. Food and TV shows, movies and good books. Hot bubble baths and massages. All the things that help us cope with a messy world.
- Sun on my back, the strength of the mountains, the vastness of the stars, the roaring calm of the oceans. All these things that remind me that life is bigger than just me. That when I feel alone I only need to look at the vastness of nature to remind me that there is something bigger at work.
Written in memory of Byron. This past year has had a hole in it without you here, yet in so many ways your memory lives strong.
*Blogging along with Make Blogging Fun Again with a letter to myself a year ago.