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You’re my Gift to the World

Dear kids,

You are always in my heart, but today you’re heavily on my mind. The world seems to have descended into madness, but it has a habit of doing that at least once a generation.

Your mom and dad have been through it. It seems like ever since we met all those years ago, something in the universe clicked into place and we were sent in forward motion, spiraling out of control towards some end we don’t know.

Your dad, he will forever be rough like sandpaper. He doesn’t realize it most of the time, but his presence in the world is like a magnet. His name, Jesse, means gift from God. As if he were placed here by supernatural design for such a time as this.

When we met, it was like a cog fitted into a wheel. It felt a lot like when you guys were born. I had always known you, somewhere before, someplace else.

I write to you today because these days reflection seems mandatory. I’m thinking about what kind of world I want to leave you with.

You hug me randomly. You come into my office just to say I love you. You have such trust in me as your mom, to make the right decisions for you, to keep you safe, to feed you, clothe you, point you in a good direction.

I want you to know that when I read the news, I feel the weightiness of my responsibility as your mom. I think about the world I’m a part of. I think about the societal implications and how that all trickles down to you. I’m careful, oh so careful, with my words. About you, about others, about the answers to the questions you constantly ask like it’s going out of style.

I often feel as if I’m living my life out on a stage for you. I assume that you will remember everything. Even if your mind can’t consume it, I believe your soul will pick it up like a tool or a weapon.

Here’s a lesson: What’s the difference between a tool or a weapon, really? A sword can both chop wood and kill someone. It all depends on how you wield it.

And that’s what I think. Every time I set pen to paper, or you watch my interactions with your dad, or random strangers, or your friends, or your cousins. I think about you waiting in the wings, waiting to take your place next to me on stage.

What do you see? What do you hear? What will you think of me 10 years from now? 20 years from now?

I look around at the world and realize we’re in a time of taking an account. We’re taking the measure of our country, and much is found wanting. We look back at the past and realize we’ve been left with battles that could have been dealt with long before we got here.

Then I look back at you. Your tiny feet, your outstretched hands, your intelligent eyes.

You’re watching me. You’re watching your dad. You’re watching the world. And you’re learning.

You should know that my greatest fear is disappointing you. You growing up and realizing your parents could have done more, could have loved you better, could have left you with something more substantial than a solid work ethic and the means to survive.

I think about it. All the time. Especially in times like these. Especially in the last two years when our lives have gone through such a shaking. You’ve had to watch your parents walk through some hard stuff. Poverty. Hurricane. Mental Illness. Pandemic. I hope you’ll be proud of how we handled it.

I hope you’ll realize that you’re watching us grow up. Just like we’re watching you grow, too. Your dad and me, we wanted a family above everything else. We figured you could just come along for the ride.

And you have. Wow. I was in my early twenties with two babies on my hip, trying to learn entrepreneurship, when what I really wanted was to be an artist. I couldn’t ever escape from that identity. But I was ashamed of it and I needed money.

Yet, there you are, Lorelai. You dance more than you walk. You’re found with sowing needles and crafting scissors more than you’re found empty-handed. It radiates out of you and you’re not ashamed of it. And you see me doing the work, and you think you can do it, too.

And you, Judah. You’re like your dad but so much more laid back like me. You won’t have as much to prove. You’ll get to put that mind to more than overcoming poverty and a story written before you were even born.

I hope you know that’s why we work so hard. Why your daddy has to be gone sometimes. Why your mom spends so much time working at her craft. We want you to have options. Your dad and I, we didn’t always get much of a choice. We’ve spent years just trying to get to a point where we had multiple directions we could go.

10 years. 10 years later and we’ve finally got some doors that people are trying to wave us through. We’re pushing 30 now, and that’s still young. But we’re far from done.

It hasn’t come without a cost. Your dad’s lost a little bit of his exuberance. Your mom’s wrinkling and trying to hang on to her optimism.

And we’re afraid. We’ve spent so much of our lives fighting for these opportunities and now they’re here and we’re terrified.

It’s an identity crisis, stepping up into the unknown. We’ve carried you all this way so we didn’t have to do it alone.

We wanted to give you something you could be proud of, but we won’t lie. We’re an ambitious pair. I think we found each other because we were going somewhere.

You’re up on our shoulders now, scaling the walls with us. One day, it’s our hope that you’ll wake up and look at how far you’ve traveled. One day, you’ll stand on your own two feet.

And not have to try so hard to get half as far. But if you multiple half by four, you still get double. There’s four of us now. Four of us.

You’re our investment, our trust. Some people have bank accounts, but we have you.

That’s what we’re doing. I hope you know it in your bones. I’m sorry it’s had to be so hard.

You’re a coin we pulled out of a fish’s mouth. You’re fruit growing from a forgotten vine.

You’re hope growing in the world, a rose amongst thorns, and it doesn’t even know it yet.

But it will. You’ll see.

You are an awakening. You are the best of us.

You’re my gift to the world

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