I love my children. Although there has been much hurt and pain in our family over the course of the past three-four years (much of which has been beyond my control), every now and then – more now than then – I catch a vision, feel a breeze, sense a new creation, of a changed, different, more healthy, more vibrant family that is emerging. Not a family in the traditional Mormon sense by any means, but a collection of individuals who are bound together by love and by a common value of living life authentically within different dynamics.
I had a dream last night, or rather a series of dreams, somewhat like a movie showing then and now scenes of the lives of various of my children. Of course, I don’t remember any of the details now – I’m terrible at remembering my dreams – but what I do remember is what I felt: an overwhelming sense that things happen for reasons, people turn out the way they do for reasons, and love and authenticity are the healing balms in people’s lives.
Then this morning, I read recent posts in my older daughters’ blogs and felt such a sense of love, such a tingling of renewed life. My daughter Sarah wrote “an open letter to God,” expressing her love for her husband and appreciation for her growth. I want to quote it in its entirety:
Thank you for this man. I love him. Thank you for helping me to see the good in him. For letting me make the choice to marry him. For answering my prayers to help me love him when I didn't feel like loving. For helping me let him love me, even when I don't love myself. For teaching me that the most soul-fulfilling marriages happen not when two people need each other, but when people want to share life together. For helping me see that my husband doesn't judge me. For helping me learn to accept help not because I deserve it, or because someone wants to give it to me, but because I need it. For whispering to me to not judge myself as weak when I can't do something. For being patient with me when I'm a stubborn, impertinent child. For admiring me for the woman I'm growing into. For opening your heart and your world to me. For filling my soul like nothing else can.
I love you, God.Then I read a couple of Rachel’s most recent posts. She just left for Philadelphia yesterday to take a nanny job there. Here are some extracts of what she wrote leading up to that departure:
“The point [of my recent stay with Sarah out in California] was I will always be grateful for that time to be me with no strings attached. I learned so many things about myself that helped me understand what I want to do and who I want to be. And I learned that it's okay to not have life figured out. if you talk with most people, they will admit to having no idea what they are doing! Do any of us? None of us are experts on 'how to live life.' There is no guide, no rule book. Why should we be limited to a set path when there are endless paths to be explored?”
“But frankly, I don't like having a plan. I don't want to know what my future holds...what mistakes I will make and what opportunities will be offered to me. I don't want to know. I'd rather enjoy the ride and let life take me where it wants to go and surprise me along the way …
“So...overall if you ask me what I plan to do next I won't answer you :) I will shrug my shoulders and say, 'who knows?' No one knows what I will do next. What does it matter? I don't want to live my life waiting on the future. I want to live my life in the present.
“And I can't tell you how excited I am to go out to Philadelphia. Honestly, I'm not scared. I'm excited. So so so excited...and happy. Happier than I ever remember being. It's a good feeling to be able to smile and feel content inside. You might see drastic things happen to me while I'm gone that make you think, 'really Rachel? I didn't know you were like that.' It's because for the first time in my life I feel like I get to be me. Any kind of me that I want. There are no rules. There is no guide.”
Then there is my daughter Hannah, whose vibrancy, along with that of her gorgeous daughter Hazel, infuses her blog. This recent picture of “Nutella” says a thousand words.
I love my kids. My big kids and my little kids. Aaron, our 10-year-old, texts me short messages from time to time. The other day, he sent this one, Aaron’s spelling challenges making the note all the more endearing to me:
“Levi ses goodnight the cat ses meaw.”