Dearest Child of Mine,
I know you are tired, and feel weak under the weight of all that is upon you now, even at such a young age. Hours of state testing, increasingly difficult school work, and more homework than you’d like to do or have time to do in the evening. Fierce competition for awards and academic recognition. I see it in your expression, and hear it in your meltdowns. I feel it in the anger and frustration you aim indiscriminately at me, at your dad, and your sisters just because you can. It pains me to say this when you are clearly struggling, but you are not special.
I know that other people’s opinions of you are supremely important now. The words that the kids at school use to describe you, whether to your face or behind your back, consume your thoughts and hijack your emotions. A school yard disagreement, or thoughtless gossip
about you that gets back around to you, can absolutely derail an otherwise good day and leave you in a puddle of tears. These seem like life-altering, life-ending events, I know. And still, sweet girl, you are not special.
I know how that sounds to you. It may hurt your feelings. You probably think I am mean. You may be mad at me for pointing it out, but I am telling you this for good reason. I am not delivering this truth to you simply to ruin your day, or your life. I am not sharing this with you to bring you down. It is good news, really, it is. I am telling you this now, and will echo this message tomorrow, and the next day, and in all the days to come to give you HOPE. To give you COMFORT and PEACE when you need it.
Want to know the good news? YOU ARE NOT ALONE! What feels difficult to you, may not feel that way to your sister, or your best friend, or the kid that lives down the street, but everyone experiences the same feelings. Everyone feels challenged. Everyone feels stress and pressure. You are not alone.
Life is not easy, and in fact, it can knock you flat when you least expect it. But, know this. Everyone, and I mean everyone, struggles with something. Everyone feels challenged by something. Everyone feels like they don’t fit in at some point in their life. They wonder if anyone likes them, or wants to spend time with them. They wonder why others win awards, or get promotions or special privileges, and they do not. They punish themselves for being overweight or underweight, for not having enough friends, for being shy, for not making enough money, or wearing designer clothes, or driving a fancy new car. The good news is, kiddo, that you are not alone.
The pressure is off. The veil has been lifted. I’ve just given you the punchline to the joke that is life. You are welcome. If you know this, if you learn this important lesson now, then you are immeasurably richer for knowing it. And now, instead of feeling separate, instead of feeling weird, or sad, or alone, you can reach out to others in compassion and love and understanding. You can feel connected where you would otherwise feel distance. ISN’T THAT AWESOME NEWS???!!!
And here is something else that is awesome. You ARE special to me. I love the way you throw up your hands when you’re frustrated. I love the whine and shake of your voice when you’re talking and on the verge of tears. I love being present when life teaches you a hard lesson. And I love being there when you get an award. I love that you wear hats. That you have freckles. That you walk toward me with your arms outstretched when you’re upset. That you appreciate the healing power of ice cream. When you laugh obnoxiously at something that is stupid funny. And I love the look on your face when I call you out for not flushing the toilet.
So, you know. There’s all that.