Since Friday, November 24, 2017, I have read a letter at least once every day. Usually, I read it multiple times, and I always cry when I read the words that have become so familiar to me. The letter arrived in a plain envelope amidst the junk mail and bills, but the name in the return address immediately caught my eye. As soon as I opened it that first time, it captured my heart.
The author of this letter was none other than my youngest daughter. I was puzzled as to why she was sending me a letter, but without even knowing the answer, I was delighted. In a world of instant messaging, texting, emailing, and every other modern form of communication, I still treasure the lost art of a written letter or card, especially from my daughters.
I carefully unfolded the letter, and I smiled upon seeing my daughter’s neat handwriting. Then, I began to cry when I read the words that she wrote. This ended up being much more than a letter.
Thank you for inspiring me every day. You have taught me how to be brave and caring. You have inspired me to follow my heart and go to [I am choosing not to share the name of her school here]. You stood by my decision, even when others thought it was the wrong choice. You have shown me how to be selfless with volunteering at the St. John Center. You have shown me that being emotional and out of the box is beautiful. I have learned how to stand up for myself from you. You have taught me that it is ok not be perfect and to have flaws. You are always telling [I am choosing not to share the name of her older sister here] and me to always treat others with kindness, even if they are not a kind person. I want to tell you that you are an amazing mom! I don’t think that you give yourself enough credit for everything you do. I want you to know that you don’t have to worry about [her older sister] and me. I hope that you will stop stressing and start loving yourself a little more. I love you!
[my youngest daughter]
Your favorite daughter
The letter concluded with my daughter’s trademark sense of humor that left me laughing through my tears. She later explained that she wrote the letter as part of a class assignment that required them to write a letter to someone who inspires them. When she shared the impetus for the letter, I was absolutely floored. Of all the people in the world, she chose me. My daughter chose me.
It was truly one of the most humbling and special moments of my life, and it is one that is proving to be life changing, as well. When she shared these beautiful words with me, my daughter did not know how often I have wondered and worried about my story. In the past six years, my daughters have watched me face a number of challenges-bouts of anxiety and depression, a divorce, breast cancer, and the end of significant friendships and a special relationship. I have attempted to balance being honest with them about these struggles with protecting them.
As the mom to these two extraordinary souls, I often question whether or not I have been, am, and will be good for them or anyone else, for that matter. They are my inspirations, and I never want to fail them. Her letter reassured me that I really am good enough and that I am more than my real and imagined failures and struggles. So much more.
I read her letter to begin each day, as it reminds me to heed her advice to stop stressing and to start loving yourself a little more. It has caused me to view my story with a more understanding and forgiving heart, and it inspires me to be the best person I can be, flaws and all.
We all have a story to tell. And you just never know who is reading it and how it may be influencing them. Sometimes, the things we see as our worst flaws or mistakes prove to be the very things that inspire someone else in ways we may never know.
That’s another story . . .
Categories: That's Another Story