Thursday, June 21, 2007

A soul-shuddering cry

Dear J and L:

Like it was yesterday, I remember the tugging, the pulling and the rocking as the doctor pulled you from my swollen belly.
First, she delivered Baby A. Seconds later, a cry so amazing I can still picture myself lying there, crying, too.
Then, Baby B. Another soul-shuddering cry leaps from a tiny mouth, reinforcing my own sobs.
I still remember that first time I set my eyes on you, and couldn’t believe you were both mine.
All mine.


Look at the beautiful little girls you are turning into before my eyes. So full of wonder and amazement at every little noise, sight and smell.
The way you hop from place to place, the way you snuggle tight with your lovey blankets, the way you look at me, sometimes, with such innocence – like when you are reaching for something you know you shouldn’t.
Language is slowly forming in your minds and traveling to your lips. I wish I could understand every word you utter and sail away on those words. Still, you communicate better than many I know.
You’ve even learned to say that you’re sorry, in sign language.
Sorry is a word we have to use a lot these days. Sorry I threw that toy at your head, sister. Sorry I bounced a sippy cup off your forehead, mom. Sorry, I got mad and threw all of my food off the table.
Sweetness radiates from both of you: in your smiles, in your giggles, in your dog sounds, in your gorilla imitations, in your toddler dances.
And, in your wonderful, wet kisses.

Sweet girls, you will have learned the lesson I’m about to tell you a hundred times by the time you read this letter, if you ever read this letter.
People – human beings – will break your heart. They’ll break it in a way that the word sorry just doesn’t seem enough. But, it will have to be.
I wish I could prevent everyone and anyone from squashing your soul. I wish I could teach you to magically wiggle your nose to make the pain go away when it does happen.
Truthfully, you learned this lesson early, sitting on our front stoop, innocently waving at the passerbys and watching them pass with only a nose in the air and no response to your silly grin or your quiet wave.
You learned this early when Mama or Dada had to tell you no to something that would put you in danger. I see how it crushes you to no end when we have to get back in the car after having so much fun.
I don’t want to be someone who disappoints you.
I’m hoping that by the time you read this, you’ll understand human nature enough to realize that heartbreak and sadness is all just a part of the great circle of life, that with it also come great days of excitement, passion and happiness.
Like a giant roller coaster at some amusement park, your days will go up and down.
You’ll understand all of this, someday, when you are greeted with your own soul-shuddering cry -- that will be all yours.


Shannon said...

Okay, I'm feeling a little teary this morning anyway :-) but this is beautiful. I hope your girls do get to read it someday. Have you thought about printing these out and putting them in a notebook? I guess I don't trust technology to last like paper. Silly, I know.
I think about this all the time, how I don't want to send them out in the real world where other kids will be cruel to them by virtue of innocent kid nature; where other adults will be telling them no, even though it will probably be for their own good; or where I will not be right there with my magic mommy powers to kiss all pains away. This may just be the hardest part about being a parent.

BonnieRose said...

love your writing... love it... from one writer to another... hugs.. your writing is amazing... hugs

Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

Sometimes I feel like all I do is stop by here and say, "Beautiful." Well, you are, your writing is, so I'll say it again: beautiful. So there.

Grammie said...

Dearest Granddaughters,
I pray, with every part of my being, that I am NEVER the cause of disappointment in your sweet lives. I love you more than anything in this world and would never do anything to knowingly upset you in any way. Please know this.

And please know that with every disappointment in life there are more things to be greatful for than any disappointment could ever cause.

Love you, Grammie

Anonymous said...

There is no doubt that you have been faced with the challenge of whether or not to forgive someone who has hurt you. Forgiveness means to stop feeling angry or resentful towards someone or some event. Forgiveness does not equate to condoning bad behavior. You can forgive someone and still desire and/or provide consequences for harmful behavior (i.e.: a person can remove themselves from an abusive relationship, file a police report and choose to forgive their partner). Forgiveness is about honoring your feelings in order to let them go, reclaiming your personal power, and learning to look for the opportunities in every situation.

All the major religions proclaim the spiritual importance of forgiveness and psychologists are now showing the psychological and physiological benefits of forgiveness. However, understanding the benefits and power of forgiveness is easier than following through and actually practicing forgiveness. A Gallup poll indicated that 94% of Americans believe that it is important to forgive; yet only 48% said that they usually try to forgive. Practicing forgiveness takes time, effort and practice–it does not happen overnight.

Whether it is the person who cut you off in traffic, a loved one who mistreated you, a person who assaulted you, or a group of people who have committed atrocities, holding a grudge can have numerous detrimental effects on your life – including your physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Holding on to a grudge or a state of unforgiveness is associated with feelings of anger, hatred, resentment, bitterness, and hostility. Research (conducted by Charlotte vanOyen Witvliet at Hope College in Michigan) suggests that ruminating about grudges is stressful and can increase heart rate and blood pressure. There is also evidence to indicate that unforgiveness can compromise immune function and may increase risk of cardiovascular disease.

According to Fred Luskin, Ph.D., one of the leading researchers on the topic of forgiveness, practicing forgiveness can reduce stress, anger, depression and blood pressure. In addition, it can increase hope, optimism, compassion, and physical vitality. Forgiveness allows you to move past the painful emotions associated with holding a grudge and toward happiness and well-being. Forgiveness is linked to higher self-esteem, better moods, and happier relationships.

The first step in forgiving others is to allow yourself to feel your feelings fully. Whatever has happened, it is important to honor your feelings. When you allow yourself the freedom to feel, your emotions will build to a peak and then dissipate again. Unfortunately, many people are afraid of the intensity of emotions and tend to block the flow. Blocking emotions in this way keeps the emotional energy trapped. Over time this creates stress because you have to work to keep all of this pent up emotional energy under control – like trying to keep a lid on a pressure cooker. Contrary to what many people believe, letting your emotions flow is the best way to let go of them and to move forward. If you believe that your emotions may be too much for you to handle on your own, you may want to seek professional guidance as you learn to feel your emotions.