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

The Voice

Dear Little One,

I try my best to write about things that can both encourage and inspire you; to help you make sense of life, if that’s even possible. I do this because I’ve found comfort in the understanding, in knowing that other people can relate to what I’m going through. It makes me feel less crazy or dramatic or stupid. And it is my hope that if you are ever to get anything out of these letters, it would be that I’m just as human as you feel you are. I feel just as lost and confused and vulnerable, and in some ways I think I always will.

Today I texted a friend, in need of some self-assurance. I’d let myself give into the doubts as of late and allowed darkness to cloud my vision. I’d allowed the voice in my head—the one that points out every solitary flaw—come to the forefront of my attention and I was having trouble ignoring it any further. When I received my friend’s reply, I got a mixture of what I wanted and what I needed. She assured me that the voice was wrong and she pointed out how I’d willingly given in at times.

We all have that voice in our head and it will always find something to say to bring us down. I try my best to do things to both ignore it and quiet it all together, but there will always be moments of weakness when it finds its way back in. When that happens I think it is necessary for us to reach out. While I believe that self worth can only be built from within yourself, that doesn’t mean it has to be built alone. Never be ashamed to ask for help or reassurance. Sometimes we need to hear the words from someone else’s mouth for them to truly sink in. Sometimes it’s the only way to differentiate between the two voices in your head.

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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