Posts Tagged ‘kids’
Journaling for a scrapbook page to be created some day in the future
This is a smile I love to see.
I wish we could see it more often.
It’s not that you are an unhappy child or that you are frequently grumpy.
You are not.
It’s just that fewer things in life seem to bring this kind of joy out of you the older you get. At 10 (almost 11) years old, you’re past the bubbly baby, talkative toddler and passionate preschooler ages. You’re no longer in elementary school, when school seemed (at least to a student) to be more about social skills than studying. (That photo above? That was taken in May 2012, during your last week of elementary school, fourth grade, on field day.)
Suddenly, you’re in fifth grade – in our town, a middle-schooler – and the stresses of everyday life are becoming all too real.
Middle school is a hard time for everyone, I think. Some girls are starting to notice boys. Some boys are starting to notice girls. Kids are becoming more judgmental of one another. Cliques begin. Gossip becomes frequent. Feelings become real.
In the last year, we’ve moved, and our new neighborhood isn’t chock full of boys who are knocking on the door asking you to play – as they were at our old house. You don’t play outside as easily or as often as you used to, and we aren’t good about inviting friends over to hang out with you.
The friends with whom you once bounced from sport to sport (baseball in spring and summer, soccer in fall, basketball in winter) are more frequently picking a single sport on which to focus. This means you no longer see them outside of school several times a week, all year long. They’re working on sport-specific skills all year, growing stronger and more competitive, meaning you’re no longer always one of the best players on the team. (And that’s more than OK; it’s good for you, in fact. But it’s definitely a change from what you’ve known so far in life.)
This year, you’re in a new school building, with new teachers who have widely varying expectations of you. You’ve been thrust into the middle of what our school system has dubbed “the pilot program,” the all-out, no-holds-barred implementation of mass customized learning, a brand-new way of learning, of teaching students, of spending your allotted math time at school, of focusing, of studying, of being accountable for your own work pace, of setting your own homework schedule.
That’s a lot of change. And it’s a lot to ask of a 10-year-old, especially one with a gentle heart and sensitive spirit, like you. We know that. We understand that. And we expect it to affect your energy level, your motivation – your smile.
But, Gabe, you’re doing great.
You’re well behaved.
You’re rolling with the punches.
You’re making new friends.
You’re learning to focus.
You’re learning to work hard.
You’re coming into your own.
You’re becoming a glimpse of the man you will become.
And I’m really proud of you.
Some of what I want to share includes stories – stories that show your dad and I are not perfect, stories of our family traditions, stories of events in our lives that have developed us into who we are.
Some of what I want to share is advice. Learn to forgive. Follow your dreams. Don’t burn bridges.
And while I believe those stories and those nuggets of advice are important, I want you to focus on one very important thing as we get started with these letters from me to you. That one thing?
I love you.
(Your dad does, too. Never doubt that. But because I’m the one writing this, it’s more natural for me to write down my genuine feelings if I can write using “I” and “me” instead of “your dad and I” and “your dad and me” and “we.” Just know that your dad feels the same way I do.)
It’s almost impossible for me to fully explain to you how much I love you, how deep my love exists within my heart, my soul, my very being.
You two (and any future children, should God bless us so) are the reason I am here.
I know that God’s biggest purpose for my life is to be your mother, to do things mothers do – like
hug you when you’re hurting,
encourage you when you’re struggling,
guide you when you’re choosing,
teach you when you’re misbehaving,
reassure you when you’re doubting,
coach you when you’re competing,
congratulate you when you’re succeeding,
comfort you when you’re crying
– and love you when you feel like no one else does.
It’s an amazing responsibility, really, and I thank God for trusting me with it.
Since the day we knew we were expecting you, I felt the power of love on a level I had never experienced before – even greater than what I feel for your daddy (and that’s an intense love!).
Don’t worry that I said that aloud; I think he would agree with me and say the same.
There’s just something about the children one brings into her heart, home and family that makes her love grow larger, deeper, stronger. It’s a different, more intense kind of love than I have for anyone else on the planet.
So listen carefully. Understand the words I am about to say, and never doubt them. Never.
There is nothing you could ever do, say, think or feel that will ever, ever, cause me to not love you. Nothing.
If you tell me you’ve done something bad, I could get angry.
If you tell me you have said something that is harmful to someone else, I will be blatantly honest and tell you how that reflects back on you.
If you tell me you have dark thoughts, I will be concerned.
If you tell me you feel hatred toward someone, even if it’s me, I’ll be hurt and disappointed.
But I will still love you.
Some day you will do something stupid.
You might wreck my car the day after you get your driver’s license.
You might hurt someone unintentionally – or intentionally.
You might try something you know is wrong.
But I will still love you.
You’re human, and as all humans do, you have a sin nature. God designed you that way. I accepted that you’re not perfect long before you could make whatever mistakes you might make. I already know you’re going to mess up. (Try not to, of course, but don’t beat yourself up or be ashamed to acknowledge it when you do.)
Please, please, please, come to me when things go wrong. Tell me about it. Be honest. Confess. Take responsibility. And don’t be afraid that doing so will cause me to not love you anymore.
I will always love you.
You might wonder how I’ll react when you do something other than make a mistake or do something wrong.
You might fall in love with someone and wonder if I’ll accept him or her with open arms.
You might choose to move to another state – or even another country – and wonder if I will accept that choice.
You might choose to join the military, be a missionary in a dangerous land or follow your heart into dangerous work – and wonder if I will accept that choice.
You can tell me anything. You can be honest. You can be you.
I am here for you, no matter what.
I will encourage you, no matter what.
I will love you, no matter what.
(And for the record, God will always love you, too. But that’s a topic for another day.)
Letters to My Children is a regular series on my blog. To quickly find more installments, click on the links in the right column.
Photo credit: Connie Phillips
Posted February 25, 2013on:
I have this irrational fear that I am going to die in some sort of traumatic accident before I have a chance to tell my children everything I want to tell them.
A pleasant thought, I know.
I have always thought I would make a scrapbook full of all of this kind of “stuff” to tell them, but somehow I haven’t gotten very far with that. I’ve made one layout (why we live in the town we live in) – and it wasn’t even one of my more deep-from-the-heart kinds of subjects that I long to share.
Why have I been dragging my feet?
I’d love to blame it on lack of time or being so busy with all of my friends and family and the unbelievably fun stuff we do every minute of every day that I can’t possibly have time for something like this. But that wouldn’t exactly be true.
After all, I find time to take at least one, if not two, naps every weekend. I find time to read a little bit of a book each day. I find lots of time to wander around Facebook during the week. I even find time to watch an episode of “The Big Bang Theory” every couple of nights, or an episode of “Property Brothers” or some other HGTV goodness on my lunch hour, despite not really liking to watch TV in general. I could easily be using that time for this kind of task. But clearly, I don’t.
I guess it’s just that it’s kind of hard to share what is so deep within my soul, even though I write for a living and typically don’t struggle much with getting thoughts down on paper.
Well, I’m aiming to change that. I’m going to make time to journal what is important for my kids, even if I don’t take the time to make a pretty little layout for a nicely composed scrapbook that will sit neatly on the shelf in my home for years to come.
And you, dear readers, will be my first audience.
My kids? Well, I hope that they’ll come back to this old blog (or some futuristic manifestation of the content found within it) some day and find it somewhat interesting to learn what their mom thought was so important in life. But if they don’t, well, I don’t want to think about that, really.
So, Gabe and Ella, and any future children (if God chooses to bless us so), enjoy these posts. And if I’ve long departed the earth by the time you read them, know your mama loved you with all of her heart and soul.
Stay tuned, kind readers. We’ll get started soon.
Oh, it’s so close! I am wrapping up the final steps to preparing my School Days series of kits for release very soon! I have encountered another speed bump (finding out Lulu is definitively not hosting any more digital items for sale as of October) and am working on opening an Etsy.com shop as another method for selling my kits, so that’s taking a little time as well. But things are moving along, and we’ll be up and ready for sale soon!
In the meantime, take a sneak peek at a few of the kits I have packaged and ready to go. I am still working on packaging some variations of these kits, so there will be more to come soon, but these will give you an idea of the kinds of kits that will be coming!
This will be the primary paper pack. While there will be additional paper packs that contain variations of these papers in different tints and shades of the color scheme, this will be the main kit and will contain the most papers. (Again, this is a preview only! It will be for sale soon!)
The Lines & Ledgers packs are perhaps my favorites!
This is the main titles kit, but there will also be another word-art kit with similar titles that include things like “fall school photo,” “teacher,” “field trip” and more.
Well, that gives you a taste of what’s to come! If you want an earlier sneak peek at products in the future, be sure to like my Facebook page!
Hope your kiddos are off to a great start this school year!
I know I’ve been chatting about my School Days kit “coming soon” for quite a while now. The truth is, I lost my energy for design for a few weeks and just needed a break. The good news is, last night I stayed up late and worked on my new kit for a few hours. It’s getting exciting again, so I know it’s time I finish this up and release it ASAP! I hope you love it.
Here is a layout (not school-related) I created a week or so ago using some of the papers I had finished to date. I needed to play with them and see if everything would come together like I wanted them to. I was a little concerned that the papers were too grungy for a school days theme, and I was worried about having to start all over with them. But now that I’m back in my groove, I have decided I like them. I hope you do too.
So stay tuned. School Days (the kit) will be release in time for your little ones to return to school.
- All papers: School Days by Pixels and Pix Digital Design by Corie Farnsley (coming soon!)
- Fonts: CK Stars and CK Newsclips (title), Myraid Pro (journaling)