My Dear Son – it’s your second birthday and this is what I want you to know…….
It’s 9:32 pm on September 24, 2020. I am sitting here about to write your birthday note.
Let me rephrase that. It’s 10:06 pm on September 24, 2020. I am sitting here about to write your birthday note.
Oh, wow, Niko. Let me rephrase that one more time. It’s 10:23 pm on September 24, 2020. I am now sitting down, once again, to write you a birthday note.
I can’t even make this stuff up. The first time I sat down, I was just about to take a sip of my wine that I had just poured. The wine label says, Be Calm and Laugh. I am not even joking, my dear son; this was just a random six dollar bottle of wine your Dad picked up for me, likely because A. it was six bucks and B. the label is my favorite color.
As I went to take my first sip, I heard sweet Kota tumble down the stairs, I thought your Dad was back there, but when he came in the front door, we realized she had gone down on her own because she wasn’t feeling good and she panicked. I will spare you the details. Kota never goes down the stairs, and it was not graceful. So far, I think she is okay.
By the time you are old enough to read this note, I am not sure we will have our old girl, but right now, you love her to pieces, and she has done amazing with you wanting to love up on her every day. I am so grateful for that.
The second time I sat down to write your note, your baby sister woke up screaming and demanding food. She is now fast asleep, allowing me this time to reflect.
My sweet boy, a year ago, my anxiety would have been through the roof. On the outside, I usually handle it pretty well, but because your Dad is who he is, I have always been able to share my anxiety with him, and I am telling you, he is probably blown away with how tonight barely phased me.
Of course, I am worried about Kota and her health, but the mess all over the floor and the time it took us to clean it up didn’t even phase me. “You wanted to mop the floor anyway,” were you Dad’s words exactly, and my reply was, “Ya, I’ve been wanting to wipe down these stairs anyway, why not now?”
Two years ago, around this time, I was in the middle of intense labor that I still, to this day, have no idea how I got through. I owe it to your Dad, the midwife Maura and all of our amazing angels who are always watching over us. I had no idea at this time two years ago; I was still going to have to wait another six and a half hours before you arrived.
My Dear Son – it’s your second birthday, and this is what I want you to know.
You are the most beautiful soul I have ever met. The moment Maura placed you on my chest, I knew that it was always meant to be you and me. You were not only a gift to me but the world, and I am realizing more and more that this was all a part of the bigger plan.
2020 has been something else. I know because you are so young, you won’t remember a lot about it. Still, someday I will tell you stories about when I was pregnant with your sister during a global pandemic. We had to cancel Ryley’s birthday party because all “normal” life, as we knew it, was on lock down. I will tell you about the time when both your big sisters had to experience Mr. Harper and Miss Roberts as their homeroom teachers.
Niko, your ridiculous personality and humor are what got us through a lot of it. I do not doubt that as much as you annoy your big sisters, they were pleased to get that extra time with you. You were the class clown through it all, and we built some pretty unforgettable memories.
Your smile and grace are what got me through most of the stressful days. You always reminded me that most things don’t matter, and as long as we have a safe home, food in our belly, and smiles on our faces, at least most of the time, we are blessed.
You, my son, have taught me so much about love, compassion, and how important it is to preserve our true selves and the light within us. When I watch you each day, you are so innocent. You see the beauty in everything, and the smallest things amaze you and bring you the utmost joy. You have taught me so much about happiness.
You have taught me that joy and happiness are not a place, nor a thing; joy and happiness is a way of being—a way of seeing the world around you.
I believe we are all born this way, just as you were, but our world has a way of ripping away those innate gifts, and all these made-up fears and beliefs are what we are left with.
I remember only a few short days after I started policing, I was walking down the hall with a huge smile on my face. I remember a senior member walking passed me saying, “that smile isn’t going to last for long.” I remember this experience like it was yesterday because I remember thinking, why would someone literally go out of their way to wipe a smile off my face? I have never forgotten this experience, and I have thought about it more since having you. I never want your beautiful smile to be wiped away because you are made to believe that that is how we are supposed to live because life is hard. Yes, it is hard; but it’s also so beautiful.
I know that I can’t shield you from the world and the cynical people in it, but I will always remind you to lead with love. That smile of mine did eventually fall away, and I became jaded. I spent more days than not leading with judgment, anger, and frustration; instead of love, compassion, and joy. That senior member was right, in a way, and I did lose my smile but what he was wrong about was why I lost that smile.
I didn’t lose it because life is hard, people are bad, and no one can be trusted. I lost it because I started believing these things to be true somewhere in that time of my life, even though my heart knew better. I allowed others to convince me that this was just the way it is and you can’t live in a messed up world and be happy and hopeful all at the same time. I allowed people to convince me that people can’t change, and when things are bad, they can always get worse, and they will.
My dear son. I lost my smile because I moved away from alignment with who I was. I took other’s words and life circumstances to heart, and I eventually believed it because a good majority of the people around me did, so I should too.
My sweet boy, you do not have to settle for a life that doesn’t feel good because that is what so many others have done. Things will hurt you and frustrate you and make you question humanity, but you do not have to stay there. You can lead with love and look for what’s right in the world instead of always looking for what’s wrong. You do not have to judge, and you do not have to conform to a society of hate. You, my son, can lead with love, and you must know that this is where the strength lies.
It is easy to pass judgment, and it is easy to find negatives in the world around us; there are countless pieces of evidence that prove people are wrong, untrustworthy, and sometimes evil, but my boy, there is also evidence to prove that love is strong, people are kind, and life is beautiful.
I would like to believe there is more evidence to the ladder, but it’s harder to see because it is covered in so much darkness and hurt.
If you look for it, my son, you will see it, and your life will be one of peace and abundance. You will have a life of fulfillment, and you will move mountains because you won’t allow anyone to dim your light.
My mission in life has been to find ways to hold onto Faith, and I will do whatever I can to teach you to hold onto it too. I chose Faith for your sister’s middle name for a reason, you know. I have fallen off track many times in my life, but I am learning. I now know that as long as I focus on faith instead of fear, my life will be lighter, and my son, I have been putting this to practice more and more, and my life has never been more abundant and clear.
I have hurt people in the past, and I have said things I wish I never did, and when I reflect on those experiences, I know that it was not because of what the other person did or didn’t do, it was because I led with anger and frustration and responded impulsively.
If there is one piece of advice I can give you to survive the world we live in right now, it is this; you don’t always have to react. You don’t always have to confront others when they have done you wrong. You don’t always have to go to battle. Sometimes you can sit back, take a breath, and ask yourself, what am I supposed to learn from this?
Being strong is not holding your-self together, always winning the fight, and having the last word. Being strong is to have those moments of vulnerability, taking the high road and choosing love, and sometimes know that walking away is better than saying something that may hurt another human being.
Being strong means standing up for what you believe in without hurting others and knowing you may not score any points. Being strong is doing what feels right to you, even when others try to convince you otherwise.
I will do everything in my power to preserve the light in your eyes and the smile on your face because with that energy, you will be a force to be reckoned with, and you will make the world a better place.
You already have my son, and I am beyond grateful that you call me Mommy.
So even with the food that winds up in my coffee and the constant boogers you want to share with me, you are a beauty in my eyes.
Even when you scream at the top of your lungs and shove things up your nose, you are a beauty in my eyes.
When you are angry, I will teach you that anger is often the sound a hurting heart makes, and I will teach you to mend that heart in constructive ways. When you are sad, I will hold you and encourage you to let it out. When you are frustrated, I will assist you and show you how to hold space for yourself and someday for others.
You are only two, and although I am exhausted some days because you have had an off day, I know you are just a tiny soul having a human experience, and all you are doing is trying to navigate those big emotions you are feeling.
I am too, my son; I am too.
You are truly one of the happiest humans I have ever met, but we all have bad days sometimes, and I will always be there for you on those bad days with nothing but unconditional love.
So tonight, as I close this note, I want you to know that you are the light in not only my eyes but so many other’s eyes, and you are a beautiful soul. I hope that someday when you need guidance, you will turn to these letters to be reminded that this is what I know to be true, and I will always be there for you no matter what.
Happy birthday my sweet baby boy.
Don't just exist; Live
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