To my girls.
It is Mother’s Day.
And I am overwhelmed with emotions this year, in volumes I have not felt before.
I have always been a bit of an emotional mess on this one day every year, due to the gratitude I have that you are mine. Thankful for the world you opened up for me, through your eyes. The adventures we have had. The love I never felt before. But this year is different.
This year, we have been hit hard with the fight of our lives. This year Cancer came to our house. An uninvited and unpleasant intrusion into our world. A trespasser.
It scared you. I know. I tried my best to not say that word, but you are too smart for my lack of an alternative explanation. You figured it out. And it terrified you. That’s okay. It terrified me too. I knew more than I’ve ever told you, and I was so afraid. But not just in simple terms. I wasn’t only afraid of being sick. I was afraid of what I hadn’t done yet. What I needed to do… for you. You were afraid I would be taken from you. So was I. But I knew I wasn’t going anywhere, and especially, not without a fight.
I am not finished. I need to make sure you live the best lives possible and that means I still have so much work to do. These things to teach you…
Take care of yourself, always. Speak up when you need to. Know your body and your mind and ask for help when you need it. Say no when you need to. Don’t be afraid to cry, to laugh or to be silent, when that is how you feel. Be confident and know you are just as important as everyone else. Be brave and don’t let others shut you down. Know when to walk away. Go where your heart takes you. Make mistakes and fall down. But get up and go again. Try new things. Try your hardest. Nothing is too hard or too easy, but you must try, and try as hard as you can, to do, to be and to know what you want to.
Care about others around you. Even those you do not know. Or those you may not see every day. People who are sick. Homeless. Impoverished. Facing racism and persecution. Sad. Oppressed. Those who are struggling. Nearby. Across the globe. You are already very compassionate girls. But if you can think about others, and care about them, it makes everything you do that much more meaningful. It makes you live, work and act with empathy. It guides you to not be part of the problem, but rather part of the solution. I don’t have all the answers, nor do I always know what to do, but I often find my thoughts about each struggle I face, include thoughts about others who are in the same place as me. It makes me feel less alone, and it helps me make choices that are better for more of us. Be gracious. Be kind. Be thankful. Don’t judge. Be patient. Forgive. Remember, you could be in anyone else’s shoes at anytime.
Care about the world you live in. Care about the air you breathe, the water you drink and the earth you walk across. Choose the earth over money. Money won’t matter if you have no where to exist. Do your part to protect the water you need to survive, the earth that produces the food that sustains you. Remember that you will have children and grandchildren, great-grandchildren, who need this place to be livable. Work for a healthful environment, where wildlife and marine life are not secondary to our riches and luxuries. Do not revere those who sacrifice the health and well-being of others for their own personal gain.
Defend what is right and fight what is wrong. It’s a big job. For all of us. But we all can make little bits of our own differences that all add up. Speak out and tell the truth. Demand the truth. The truth is what matters most, and it is what defines right and wrong. Listen to the truth. Let people tell their truth and do not dismiss it when it is hard to hear. Stand up for and beside those who are being silenced. Speak up for them, when they cannot. Be fair. Don’t cheat to get ahead. Honesty is freedom.
Find joy. Find it in doing what makes you happy. Fills you up with satisfaction. Makes you want more. Be happy. Sing. Dance. Eat big, long meals with people who love you, and who you love. Balance your hard work with times of peace. Fun. Adventures. Go places that inspire you. Read books that make you think. Play your music until the world hears it. Write poems. Kick your shoes off. Climb mountains, swim in the ocean. Make snow angels. Listen to the birds. Look for shapes in the clouds. Be silly. Laugh until your belly hurts. And… love. Love yourself, love others, love life. Today, tomorrow and 80 years from now.
As I said, I don’t have all the answers. There is so much more I could tell you and I would never get to all of it. And sometimes we only find out a lot as we go through life. You are already off to a good start. You are kind. You are compassionate. You do care about others, and the world around you. You work hard and try your best. It gets harder and more complicated as we get older. Making choices and being in the front row. But stick with it. You are getting there. You will get there.
You are brave. And you are strong. You have shown that over these last months. You have helped me be braver and stronger. You are the reason for me to fight and win. You will be the reason I will continue to fight for these things in life that matter. You lift my heart and soul up every day. Even on the toughest and greyest ones, because you are my love, my joy, my truth.
I love you both, to the moon and back a million times, and again.