Dear Peter,

I knew you were good the first time I saw you. I had yet to meet you, but I saw your eyes, dark and true and they told me you were good. 

We were babies with college degrees when we walked the aisle together-this evidenced by the fact we had chosen both board games and fine china on our gift registry. We thought we were clever and knew everything and we were ready for life and what we thought it would give us. Then we had four children before we knew what hit us and not all at once, we realized that our days wouldn’t always be what we planned and our futures aren’t always able to be chosen. We knew there would be bumps in the road but not scars to bear and we didn’t know we’d need Grace on top of Grace to make it. But we promised each other a lifetime in blind and limited faith and I’m so grateful we did. 

As Emmy’s mom, I am surrounded by cheerleaders-high fiving my efforts for her and spurring me on when it gets hard. I’m applauded for my work and have a vast support system to share the burden of uncertainty and the joy of accomplishment with. I need them and they make this journey sweet. 

But you love Emmy and our other children quietly. Endlessly. Constantly. Even when no one cheers you on. You pick up where I come up short and you take the baton when I’m weary and cranky and “just can’t take it anymore!”. You are steadfast when I ride the roller coaster of emotions from one extreme to the other and you make time for playing and movies even when I’m convinced there’s no room for that in our days. You are trustworthy and loyal to us and you work endlessly to provide for us-without applause, without recognition, often without any praise. You remind me that there is quiet time left for just us-because we were us before we had them and remembering each other is to be kept sacred. 

We haven’t seen the only or last challenge life will throw at us, but I feel hope more surely now because of you beside me. My sight for Emmy’s future is in the days that are just ahead but you are the one who dreams for her. When I only plan for the minimum, you remind me it can be much more fun than that. You fill in the color to the black and white I lay down. 

I guess what I’m trying to say is thank you. 

I guess what I’m trying to say is that you are good.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I love you. 




Photo Credit: Lindsay McIntire

The Reason I Write.

I write to Emmy because I want to leave her something beautiful. 

In a world that is full of rush and little reprieve, brimming with harshness and short on harmony, creating something for her that is my heart, that is my best-something that soothes her when life becomes too much-this is my earnest desire and wish.

I want to leave something beautiful for all my children. To each, gifts both tangible and not.

It is interesting that beauty takes on a different definition than it used to for me-now using my mothering eyes and perspective. From here I’ve learned that it is not a perfect version of myself and the best things that can be bought for my kids. It is not parenting without failure, but rather leading them with  grace. It is sincere apologies after loud and frustrated words. It is stopping to hear them when they tell me the things that made them laugh or the stories they’ve dreamed up, even when time is short and responsibility screams my name. Listening to their words and heart when they cry and helping one more time when I feel I’ve already given more than I am able. Carving out time just for each one in the crowded places of life and putting down my distractions so I can be truly present to them. It is creating quiet refuge for them in my arms when the world rejects or harms. It is gratitude from the very depths of me for them-so much that it’s tangible in the way I hold their cheeks and kiss their heads. It is all of these things.

But it is also my letters. I’ve found a way to express to them how I feel and how to mark the momentous and minute-it is in words, in simple black and white. Not always polished and certainly not perfect-but maybe all of these broken parts may add up to an aesthetic expression of my affection for them.  

Someday they may be desperate to make sense of nonsense. They may believe that chaos and cruelty are winning and they may feel overcome or afraid. I want them to have something I tried hard to make lovely, something that softens the rough surfaces of their lives, something that they can return to-to remind them of who they are.

I write because I want to leave them something beautiful.