For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.
Those are just such lovely words, and as I sat thinking about them this morning, I thought about all the other wonderful things I want my children to grow knowing. And hoping that not only do I teach them and tell them things to prepare them for life, but also to show them. So this is my letter to the future them…
Dear children, you are adults now. I hope that I taught you and told you all of the things I meant to, over the years. But most importantly I hope I showed you by modeling them in my own life. Did I show you how important you each are as individuals? Because you are. Even on days when things get lost in the busyness of doing the laundry, making the dinner, and driving you to Tae Kwon Do and dance class.
Did I show you how to be courteous to each other and to others, without ever being anyone’s doormat? Did I show you that life is filled with choices and so you need to choose carefully. Did I show you to reach for, wait for, and work for all the things that really matter in life, including your biggest dreams?
Did I show you that even in the middle of the biggest heartache, you can find some reprieve in humor? Did I show you that there is always reasons to hope? Did I show you that even though sometimes things don’t go the way we planned, it doesn’t mean that it’s not a blessing or that there isn’t a plan? Did I show you what faith looks like? Did I show you how to believe in yourselves, by believing in you myself?
Did I show you how to be creative? Did I show you that creativity has many forms, and all of them are worthwhile? Did I show you to invest in whatever your creative interests may be?
Did I show you to be thoughtful of people and their needs? Did I show you to have meaning behind your manners? Did I show you to not just say the words of politeness, but also to mean them? Did I show you to have some courage? Did I show you how to embrace the unknown and live your life to its fullest? Did I also show you to have some control over (your father’s) sense of adventure and to pair it with (your mother’s) good judgement? (*wink*)
Did I show you that even when we disagree the most, we can still love the deepest? Did I show you to dance wherever you feel like it; to sing as loud as you can; to love as thoroughly as you feel; to listen to the words said and unsaid; to laugh as hysterically as you can; be as compassionate as you can be?
Did I show you how to learn from your mistakes? To accept your mistakes? To move past them? Did I show you how to embrace the past, without dragging it into your futures? Did I show you to be considerate of the feelings of others, but to not sit still or silently when change is necessary? Did I show you how to not be afraid of speaking up and speaking out?
Did I show you how beautiful the world around it can be? Did I show you how to live in a way that makes the best of what we have been given? Did I show you the value of making your own path in life? Did I show you the reasons behind the things I believe, and the beliefs I hope you cling to?
Did I show you that I love you more than words could ever express? Did I show you that I am proud of your beyond belief? Did I show you that I believe in you, even when you don’t believe in yourself? Did I show you that I am someone you can always trust and come to for support, comfort, and laughter? Did I show you the joy of being a family? How to live and work as a team? Did I show you my joy of being your parent?
I know you learn through experiences as much as through what you see being demonstrated for you, more than just what has been told to you. So I am hoping that I have shown you all of these things along the way. I hope that I did, but if I missed one along the way, I hope that I have shown you enough that you can make the right choices for yourselves.
Did I show you I love you forever, and always, to the moon and back, plus *16?
Because I do, and I always will.
*As soon as Big E could talk, when I’d ask how much he loved mommy, he would shout 16! When asked why 16, he said it was because it was a big number. So big that it was too big to count. So now when we say our “I love you’s” I always include the 16. (Miss E has also joined in the fun.) But Big E now responds with, Moooom, there’s no numbers in love. And I can’t help but smile and say, but if there were it would be a big number. So big that it’s too big to count.