This is an open letter to my children, who are too old to be called children but will always be mine.
To my beloved Deanna and John,
I write this to you with love in my heart and tears welling in my eyes. I am sorry to be loosing my little ones but I know it is time for you to move on, and that you will always be mine. There is a road we all must travel. Some of us find the journey easier than others but for all of us it is a difficult and at times troubling path. You are both on your journeys to becoming the adults you will be, and that is a difficult time in anyones life. These words are not written sanctimoniously, they are merely the thoughts that cross my mind as I watch you take on the world, and the memories of a similar experience so long ago.
There will be times when you feel invincible. The world truly is your oyster, and there is nothing you can’t do, but there will also be times that you face set backs, times when things won’t go your way. This is how the world works. There is no golden ticket, you can get anywhere you want to get to, but it will take hard work, persistence and time. Accept that things will go wrong, prepare for them, learn to adapt and ask for help. You will feel lonely at times, but you are never alone, our paths will always remain close, when you need us we will be there, as will so many others in your life. Never be too proud to ask for help, we all need it at times.
As Billy Joel put it so eloquently
“So many faces in and out of my life
Some will last
Some will just be now and then
Life is a series of hellos and goodbyes”
There will be many people around you in your life, and you will feel intensely about so many of them, friends, lovers, mentors, dare I say it? Parents. There are some you will travel with for many years, others will be more fleeting. When you part ways, do not cast or take blame, we all grow, develop and change. Sometimes our paths join and at other times they will diverge, this is the natural order of things. But remember that OUR paths will always remain close, when you need us we will be there.
Look out for each other, despite the times when you will fight, you know each other better than anyone else in the world. You have a lifetime of shared experience and are the only 2 people that have lived the childhood you have. This relationship you share can never be replaced. Treasure it always.
You will feel inexplicably angry at times. There will be times that things will not go according to plan, or you will see injustice everywhere you look, or you will disappointed in yourself, or for no good reason your blood will boil. Your task here is to understand the reason why you feel this way. Ask for advice, talk to people to help you understand why you feel this way. Sometimes it will be of your own making, sometimes it will be others letting you down. Either way, you must learn to channel that anger into something constructive. Control yourself in these times, remember that words can cause the deepest wounds. In regards to the injustice you see everywhere, I am sorry, that is my fault, and the fault of those who came before me. We have an imperfect world because we are imperfect beings. Your role in this is to not be angry, but to leave the world in a better state than you found it.
You will feel exhilaration, the adrenaline will keep you running for days. Take these incredible moments and savour them for all they are worth. You are meant to feel jubilant, You are meant to feel elation. Do not loose these emotions as you mature. Adulthood is not meant to be a sad state - no matter what you see out there.
There will be moments when tears will overcome you. Days when you feel so forlorn or lost that you feel you will never recover. I promise you, you will, the tears will pass. You will mourn the loss of your childhood, the memories, habits and rituals of your youth will pass away as you interact with the world as an adult. It is normal to feel this sadness, it is normal to shed tears, but understand that there are new habits and rituals to form. These will not lessen the value of memories nor the relationships you formed as a child.
Keep the wonder and awe that you have been your companions all your life. Do not fall into the mindset that these are the preserves of the young, they are not, they are the realms of all humans, and an art that is sadly lost to too many in this world. They will serve you well and allow you to find the beauty that surrounds you, even when everything seems to turn to darkness.
Laugh, dance, be ridiculous on occasion and love, always love. These are the things that make us feel alive. These are the things that make life worth living. These are the things that fill our lives with value and meaning. These are the things you should aspire to for they will make you rich beyond measure.
These words are written so that you may understand that what you are experiencing now and what will be in your future is OK, we all experience them. You may not go through the same situations as your friends, but understand that you are going through the same emotions as others your age, the same emotions as others before you, the same emotions that your children one day will feel. Be sympathetic to them and kind to yourself. Rome was not built in a day, the the you that you currently are has been a lifetime in the making, and you still have so much longer to go.
The journey will not be easy, and you will feel that you are alone in the world at times, but believe me when I tell you that you are not. Don’t try and follow the paths of others, they will take you places you do not want or need to go, you must travel your own road. This journey you are on, is not just the road to adulthood, it is a pilgrimage to YOU. It is not written in stone, remember always that you are the author of it’s twists and turns, you will determine what you see along the way and how difficult or easy the trek will be.
Some advice from Mahatma Ghandi “We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.”
Be your own people. Do good in the world. Live well. Now go and make your lives extra-ordinary.
All my love,
from here to eternity,