Letters to Little One

Help the Sinking, Stay Afloat

Dear Little One,

In training to be a lifeguard, you learn how to control a chaotic, often life-threatening situation. When people are drowning or in fear of drowning, they are desperate for help, and it is your job to get to them, relax them and bring them to safety.

In learning to be a good friend, we are often faced with many of the same situations as a lifeguard, though they often exist on much more figurative planes. Life consistently throws the unexpected at us, knocking us down, pushing us under the water, and while we often try to teach ourselves to swim the best we can, we often rely on our friends to save us when things get too hard.

As a friend, we learn to hold our breath, we learn to paddle and to kick. We learn to stay calm when the person we are trying to save is too panicked to realize they may be drowning us too. Yes, as a friend we do all of these things, because oftentimes we are the only ones who will. However, we must always connect to the fact that we are not just a friend. We are not solely a lifeguard on duty during someone else’s swim. We too are swimming and we too are trying our best to stay afloat. So while we must always keep ourselves open and available to lend a hand when we are needed, we must also take note of where we are in the water.

So, Little One, I ask you to remember this: Love hard enough to want to save the ones around you from sinking, but make sure they put in as much time to help you float.

 

See you soon.

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Letters to Little One

On that Day

Dear Little One,

I can’t wait for the day when I tell about this time in my life. About how I constantly wondered whether any of my biggest dreams would come true.

For on that day, as you’re looking up at me with that little twinkle in your eye, I’ll have already discovered one of them did.

See you soon.

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Letters to Little One

New Move, Same Me

Dear Little One,

I feel like a lot has changed since the last time I wrote you, even though not many around me may have noticed. One obvious difference however, would be that I’m now writing to you from my own room in my new house that I share with my sister and our friend Kristine. We’ve been here for a few weeks now and the transition from my parents’ house has been nearly seamless.

I thought of you the night we moved in, wondering which sky you’d be sleeping under on your first night out on your own. I myself was worried, not only for the added expenses and the newfound responsibilities, but for the sudden enthrust of freedom. The prospect of such independence after finding a pattern in such chaos was daunting to say the least.

For the first few nights I felt restless, like I should go back home and help my mom with my grandma, like maybe I abandoned her and my dad and my brother in some way. And I felt like I wasn’t doing enough in my “new” life, like I should have immediately thrown myself out in the world and made big decisions and met new people and drastically changed who I am and what I’m doing.

But after the first week came and went and settled into a firm foundation for those to come, I realized that this new step was nothing to fear. While things would be different, incredibly so in some ways, it was a step that was needed to be taken and would only continue to move me forward.

This newfound independence was nothing to get worked up about. Sure I had a variety of new ways to spend my time and allocate my being, but the move away from home did not require a move away from myself. I was happy with the person I was when I lived with my family. I felt loved and needed and unstoppable, there’s no need to lose that person; but over the last few weeks I’ve come to find that I do have a desire to share that person.

This new step does not take me away from my family but into a new family. It births me into a world I’d not previously experienced. One that I can introduce myself to and fall in love with. And while I can’t tell you that I not still a little bit scared, I can say that I’ve shifted the fear’s focus. No longer am I scared of who I should be in this new world, I’m more overwhelmed by the all the things I can be. And no matter which direction I choose to go from here, I can walk with a confident stride, knowing that who I am is perfectly good enough for the places I’ll go and the people I’ll meet, and I should seek them out with a frequent passion. I hope you’ll remember to do the same.

See you soon.

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Letters to Little One

To be Loved

Dear Little One,

Growing up, I watched a lot of kinds of love grow and die. And as I went about my own life, I was introduced to many of its relatives, both honest and fake.  I found it in family, I found it in friends, I found it in church, but I longed for the day when I’d come face to face with the love that everyone is always talking about. I knew it was out there waiting for me, as it is for everyone, and that I’d just have to be patient in my search, but some days were harder than others to do so.

When I was little, I saw the love as a fairytale. It was a type of magic I couldn’t wait to get my hands on. There would be sunsets and dresses and sparkly things, birds chirping and people singing. As I got older, the picture changed. The magic was still there, but maturity morphed its boundaries and shaped its face.

It wasn’t until I reached high school that I started to wonder if it was even in the cards for me at all. I was in the heat of adolescence, reaching out for any sort of steady self-esteem, but all I seemed to find were the slippery fingers of those more perfect than I’d ever be. They looked at me with subconscious pity, assuring me love was around the corner, and I watched them walk away into the magic.

In the years that followed, my self-doubt spread like wildfire throughout my entire body. Nothing about me seemed interesting or unique or beautiful. There were days when I’d spend hours getting ready, solely because I felt as if nothing made me look good enough to deserve the kind of love I longed for.

“I’ll never look like her.”

“I’ll never have what she has.”

“I’ll never be as interesting or witty or funny.”

Eventually, I convinced myself that the magic I once dreamed of was simply not for me. It just wasn’t something I was going to have because I was never going to be good enough. That became my truth and the conversations about love with my friends were the lies. The hopes and dreams I had for the future were simply fabrications that made conversations flow. That love was for them, not me.

But that’s not true, is it?

That’s not true for anyone.

We are all worthy of the love we imagine. We just have to imagine it truthfully, for who are as individuals. Because the truth is, no one is going to be loved the same way, because we are not the same people. We can’t hope to be loved for being someone else because we are no one else but ourselves.

Amongst the lies told by my self-doubt, was the one that told me love was something I would give, but not receive. The idea of someone standing in their best dressed, asking me to marry them, was laughable. Why would someone love me? How would anyone ever fall in love with me?

These past two years, I have finally been able to find the answers.

Why would someone love me? Because I do.

How would anyone ever fall in love with me? Because I have.

The answer was there all along.

The secret to finding true love in another is first finding it in yourself.

If I can stand firmly on the rock that tells me I’m worthy of love, not only will I have the courage to seek it, but I will have the eyes to see through those who speak of it with a false tongue.

If I can build within me a foundation of self-acceptance, I will always have a home to turn to in times of struggle, and a starting block to stand on in times of heartbreak.

An honest love starts from within, so start with you.

You are the epicenter of your own love story.

See you soon.

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Letters to Little One

The Up Next

Dear Little One,

My sister and I recently housesat for a married couple from church. They have a little dog that is high maintenance and strange but all the while loveable, and their house is creaky and cute. Each day after work I’d head over and hang out for a bit, just sitting in the silence and doing all sorts of nothing, and each night, after we had dinner with the family, Natalee and I drove over, put in a movie and snacked on whiskey and chocolate cereal.

It was strange at first. Bringing our toiletries and a day’s worth of clothes over to a stranger’s house, only to bring them back home and do it all again the next night. It was a taste of what we’ve been craving lately: a place of our own. The house was a sort of stepping stone into the up next, and it was hard to give it up that following Sunday.

Our move is inevitable, maybe even closer than I think, and it’s exciting, but I think there’s a level of fear I’ve yet to discover. Right now, I’m so caught up in the unknown, so infatuated with the idea of the up next that I’ve yet to fully embrace the weight of what I’m letting go.

My family, the original 5, we’re something special, I really believe it. There’s just a magic about the group of us that I can’t explain in words, but can wholeheartedly feel. It’s unfathomable to think of a time when we won’t be together. Won’t annoy each other in the early mornings and laugh until we cry in the late evenings.

When the time comes, I feel my feet will fall on opposite sides of the decision. One will step forward while the other stays planted. It will be one of the hardest steps I’ve ever taken, but once my feet catch up to one another, there’s no telling where they’ll go next.

See you soon

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Letters to Little One

Memories

Dear Little One,

My sister has a corkboard full of pictures hanging on the wall above her bed. 4×6’s, 5×7’s, even a few wallet size from her preschool kids at school. They’re all thumb tacked at varying angles, colliding and combining so many memories in one place.

This morning I was getting ready for work and I found myself lost in the photos. I sat there on my bed just staring at them, letting my eyes work from one to the next, taking in each moment on display. There are so many smiles. So much love and happiness. There are people I love most and people I’ve never seen before, people I’ve lost and people I’ve just met.

I looked down at my feet and laughed to myself. It’s amazing how much I spend wanting and wishing I could be doing other things. I wish I was here or there, with him or her, doing this or that. I spend so much time wanting the memories I don’t have that I often don’t take the time to remember the ones I do have.

Be in the memories you create little one, and create often.

I know some of my best memories are to be at the hands of you, I smile now just thinking of what you’ll make. But until then, I’ll keep making my own, and one day I’ll tell you all about them.

See you soon.

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